If you attended school, caught a concert or simply hung out in Denton in the last two decades, there's a good chance you passed through Andy's Bar. Located at the corner of Locust and Oak streets, the multi-level dive and music venue is a nightlife institution that's kept the Denton Square rockin' since it opened in 1997.
This weekend is no different: Andy's celebrates its 21st birthday on Dec. 1 with a concert by Houston rapper Devin the Dude and plenty of libations. Obviously.
Denton musician Eric Pulido remembers the first time his band Midlake played there in the early 2000s, "when we couldn't get in to any of the other cool clubs."
"I remember all of our friends being there and the mixture of emotions you feel playing in Denton," he says, "and feeling proud doing a hometown show on the Denton Square."
A lot has changed in the years since.
From those early shows on, Midlake forged a friendship with the bar's proprietor and namesake Andy Bostick, which led the band to opening Paschall, a cocktail lounge, on the building's third floor in 2011. Pulido is now a partner at Andy's Bar after joining restaurant group Radical Hospitality, which inked a deal with Bostick in 2016 that put Andy's venue, its basement bar and Paschall under one ownership umbrella. (Bostick was not available for an interview.)
In the '90s, Andy's served pizza and sub sandwiches. Now, patrons can order late-night bites such as loaded waffle fries from the basement kitchen to all three floors. The ground floor venue recently updated its lighting and sound systems, and there's a fresh -- if somewhat controversial -- mural on the outside of the building featuring a woman and man on a motorcycle.
Despite the updates, Pulido says Andy's Bar maintains the same grit and heart it originally brought to downtown Denton.
"Andy's has been just a place that just everybody felt they're welcome," he says. "Especially with music... there can be kind of a right of passage before you're able to play [venues] or feel like you're a part of that community. That's one thing, then and now, we've always wanted. Everyone's welcome to play there, to visit there, to eat there, to drink there."
Andy's 21st birthday celebration kicks off Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. with a concert headlined by Devin the Dude. Tickets start at $30.