You could say Harvest House, a bar that just opened in Denton, started 10 years ago.

Part-owner Matt Arnold and his friends have been throwing a party called Harvest Fest since 2004. It started with "15 people, a bale of hay, a bottle of whiskey and a bluegrass band," Arnold recalls.

The party grew to 50 people in 2005; 1,000 people in 2011. Since then, Arnold and his business partners John and Ian Lenz have been working on opening a permanent establishment where the Harvest Fest fun won't be just a once-a-year thing.


The building they settled on was an automotive shop for more than five decades. Its former owner, now 91 years old, hung out at the soon-to-be Harvest House "every day until we took the roof off of the building," Arnold says.
Creating a community is part of Harvest House's mission. Which means there'll be live music regularly.

Creating a community is part of Harvest House's mission. Which means there'll be live music regularly.

Michael Leza

"It's been a lot of fun being at the property because we get all these old guys come in who tell all these stories," he says. They're planning to have a special chair in the bar for 91-year-old Jimmy Normile. They also might name a drink after him.

Harvest House opens just in time for 35 Denton and in fact will be an official venue of the music fest. The backyard has been fully transformed into a beer garden, with vegetables growing out back thanks to Arnold (and his friends)'s green thumbs.

Inside the bar, the walls are covered in Ponderosa pine. Tables are the handiwork of several Dentonites and are constructed out of scrap metal and reclaimed lumber from an old house on Bolivar Street in Denton.

Harvest House will be a shop with coffee, juice, smoothies, beer and cocktails - "more than just a bar," Arnold says. "We want to be a community space, since Harvest House has been a community of creative thinkers."

The bar will serve several Audacity beers - that's a new Denton brewery - plus more than 50 draft beers. Arnold also wants to have homebrew demonstrations and gardening lessons in the backyard, plus free, live concerts. Bluegrass band Boxcar Bandits will likely have a residency at the bar, as they headlined the Harvest Fest from 2005 to 2009.

Harvest House may serve food eventually, but for now a friend will open a food truck on the property.

The question really is, will all the former Harvest Fest friends fit inside Harvest House? Probably so: Capacity is more than 600 people.

331 E. Hickory St., Denton. 214-578-7499. dentonharvesthouse.com.

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