Downtown Denton's youngest bar, Harvest House, has quickly become the epicenter of the city's culture. The bar opened after a long and arduous renovation just in time for this year's 35 Denton music fest back in March. Festival goers packed into the new bar's backyard to hear live music, under the sound direction of partner and stage manager Ian Lenz, and drink from an amazingly cultivated list of beers from the craft beer loving general manager Matt Quenette, formerly of the Meddlesome Moth.
Much of the vision for Harvest House spawned from partner Matt Arnold's time managing Denton's informal Harvest Fest, which most often took place at his home here. The event started with just 15 friends drinking whiskey and carving pumpkins, and grew to host music for 1,000 attendees on a large canvas and wood stage (built by the original Harvest Fest founder Jenna Dickerson) and a homebrew beer competition thrown by Harvest House's current cafe director, Andie Sterling.
The fest was a place for the creatives of Denton to enjoy tunes from talented friends, like Rex Emerson of Boxcar Bandits and his buddy Blaze of Blazing Grass, as well as drink craft beer in an organically coalesced environment. That's Denton in a nutshell; creative, laid-back folks enjoying each other's talents through a shared experience.
Three weeks after the 2011 Harvest Fest, Arnold and festival cohorts John and Ian Lenz decided to open a formal venue in an old machine shop on Hickory Street.
"When we found this spot we settled on the name Harvest House because this is a spot that embodies what Harvest House is," said Arnold.
That Denton feeling absolutely inhabits the new Harvest House venue. If you look closely you'll find local artisan work in the décor from Denton locals like Michael Leza, wall planters and gardens inspired by Arnold's love of horticulture, and tables by Ellen and Bryan Levings of DSC Designs, which were hand-crafted from wood salvaged from a historic house on Bolivar Street. The backyard, strung with Christmas lights, covered in shade sails and lined with rescued pallets, flanks a stage designed to showcase Denton's wealth of musical talent.
It is all an extension of what the Harvest Festival was. But instead of once a year, we can enjoy that vibe nightly with 54 draft beer taps, a list of artisan cocktails and house-designed juices and smoothies. The bar recently added grub, too: tacos from former Hannah's and Winstar chef Josh Lang, via his Coup de Taco food truck.
Some upcoming fun at Harvest House:
- Hosted tournament events for a new bocce ball league called "Debocce."
- The return to the origin of Harvest House, the Harvest Festival! Keep your eyes on Harvest House's Facebook page and Craft Beer Downtown Denton! for dates and details.
Editor's disclosure: GuideLive's Tiney Ricciardi is dating Harvest House partner Matt Arnold.