It’s like if your cool uncle had a garage stocked with fun things you never knew you needed until you saw them.
Shopping at warehouse-style markets can be fun, but rarely can the experience be described as “homy.” Disco Warehouse on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Irish Channel is every bit as funky as its name, while also feeling comfortable and inviting. It’s like if your cool uncle had a garage stocked with fun things you never knew you needed until you saw them. Local art, vintage furniture, and imported goods fill the space from wall to wall. The spacious back yard boasts a year-round-selection of cactus plants for sale and is host to frequent open-air artist markets on the weekends with a variety of vendors from the area.
From pottery to pickles
Owner Austin Landry and manager Mike Mason have been running Disco Warehouse since 2018, when it first started out as a shop focusing on imports from India. They tell me over email that “relationships with local artists and builders have evolved Disco Warehouse into a unique shopping experience,” since then.
On a recent trip to Disco Warehouse, I entered through the back yard first, where one of the weekend artist’s markets was taking place. Austin and Mike said they started hosting these events in October, and they’ve been a huge success. An assortment of tents and tables were set up throughout the yard, with sellers offering everything from curated vintage books to hand poured candles, original fine art, pottery, pickles, jewelry, and more.
Metal worker Kate Hickham of Sleepy Silversmith, who had a table there that day, said it’s one of their best markets and people there are always eager to buy local. They sold enough jewelry that day that they said they would have to replenish their stock before the next market – a good problem to have.
“As long as local New Orleanians keep showing their support and the artists keep wanting to show up – we will keep going. There is enough room to maintain social distancing, which makes everyone feel comfortable and safe,” said Mike.
After browsing the artist’s market, I went to see what was new in the cactus garden. It’s one of the most unique selections of cactus plants I’ve seen locally, with everything from tiny succulent plugs to enormous, rare plants, many ready-to-go in perfectly coordinated pottery. You could easily find plants for every room of the house and every spot in the garden there. One of their resident cats, Disco Dale, roamed the garden, greeting guests.
After entering the open back gate of the building, the first thing that caught my eye was a custom bench made of reclaimed wood and the front end of an antique car, an example of one of their signature pieces available made with old car parts like tailgates and fenders.
Work by local artists in bright colors hangs everywhere, featuring such motifs as fish and wildlife and famous musicians. They’re paired alongside vintage stained-glass panels and wall mirrors, paper lanterns, and neon signs. An old ping pong table sits with paddles resting on it, waiting to be played, while nearby, an old, oversized, bright pink gumball machine filled with colorful rubber bounce balls makes me want to search my pockets for a quarter. On a shelf next to some tablewares sits a reassembled porcelain doll and a plush king riding an elephant.
But the shop is not all oddities and quirky novelties. Many of the imported furniture pieces are beautiful with a rustic feel that would work as transitional pieces in a variety of home decor styles.
“Everything at Disco Warehouse is special,” said Mike. “Our imported furniture is made from distressed or reclaimed wood. We offer one-of-a-kind pieces with beautiful colors to match the vibrance of the city.”
Location, location, location
Many of the offerings at Disco Warehouse arrive in limited numbers or are custom and one-of-a-kind, so shopping there is a different experience every time you visit. And it’s located close to other neighborhood attractions that make for a full afternoon of fun.
“Irish Channel rules!” said Mike. “Being next door to NOLA Brewing and NOLA Pizza Company is a blessing. Our friends down the road at Port Orleans have been great to us and very generous to the city. Needless to say, we like being located next to breweries, but our favorite place to send customers is Pete’s Out in the Cold. Just a few blocks around the corner and you’re at the best dive bar in the city. We can’t wait to get back to our routine of having beers after work with the best bartender (and pal) Kevin.”
Disco Warehouse’s prime location is easily accessible while still having an off-the-beaten path vibe, enticing a variety of shoppers.
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“Locals, transplants, tourists, and dogs” pass through every day, Mike told me. “No – but seriously. We see all walks of life at Disco Warehouse. Thousands of cars pass by our big blue warehouse everyday. If you travel on Tchoupitoulas, at some point you’ll have to stop in when you have time.”
Disco Warehouse is located at 3101 Tchoupitoulas St. in New Orleans. They’re open Monday & Tuesday 12-5 p.m. and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Check their social media regularly for updates on markets, sales, and other events!