"We used to play here. This was my introduction to a lot of local music," says Moody Fuqua, sitting in front of Crown and Harp. He's referring to the days when the bar was The Cavern, when it was a staple of the Dallas music community.
It never changed owners, but it did go through a rebranding as a brewpub called Crown and Harp and, for a time, the emphasis went away from music. But Fuqua, who came on a little over a month ago from Bryan Street Tavern to book bands and DJs alongside Charlsie Grace, is already helping to restore the Lower Greenville spot to scene prominence.
Fuqua spent two and a half years serving as the general manager and talent buyer for East Dallas' Bryan Street Tavern. "It was time to move on," he says, and one night not so long ago, drinking at the Sundown with Gavin Mulloy, he decided to see how he might contribute to the Crown & Harp. Grace started her work developing the live music program not long before that and they have proven an excellent team. Fuqua describes the division of talent this way: He brings the knowledge about the bands, especially the DFW bands, and Grace brings the organization and general hustle.
Whatever the formula, it's working. I've found myself at the pub twice in the past eight days, once for Atomic Tanlines, Strange Towers and Black Dotz and again for Paul Slavens' legendary improv songwriting night.
"I want to bring the Cavern back but make it better," Fuqua says. One way he hopes to accomplish this, besides the on-stage talent, is through the beer selection. "I'm a big craft beer nerd," he says, and Crown and Harp now features several local brews on tap.
He and Grace have made impressive progress already, and there's more to come. Regular DJ nights are scheduled upstairs, including a Sunday late afternoon residency by Gabe Mendoza and Mark Ridlan.
Downstairs, the biggest upcoming indication of the new direction is Invasion Festival, featuring 15 local and national bands on March 11. Included on that lineup are Cutter, Blackstone Ranger, Ethereal and the Queer Show from Oregon, Bilaxaboy, New York's Dolores Boys and more.