Hello Simone: Another New Venue Pops Up Near The Square

Located just southeast of the square in downtown Denton, Simone Lounge is a new bar that is carving out a niche for itself among the more established music venues in the area.

Part restaurant, part bar and part art gallery, Simone's goal, according to owner Sebastian Urschel, is to provide as eclectic a sampling of music as possible.

"Every night of the week is pretty much scheduled to be a different genre or style," Urschel says. "Friday and Saturday are folk and jazz acoustical stylings. Thursdays and Sundays are concert nights. We're filling in the rest of the week with either DJs or random acts."

Tim Ruiz, one of the DJs who holds down a weekly Wednesday night residence, credits the space itself as part of his weekly's recent success.

"It's one of the better DJ venues in town because it's a really good atmosphere for that kind of music," Ruiz says. "I feel like the other places are too open or too big or concert-type of venues."

The building's size and layout are indeed very true to the DJ-friendly lounge aesthetic. It's relatively upscale (for Denton standards, at least) with the bar and the DJ area in the same room, allowing people to experience both at the same time.

Another big reason for the Wednesday night popularity? The price of drinks, which started out at 50-cent wells and have since climbed up to a still-cheap one dollar. No worries, those prices will drop again soon. Urschel says he's just trying to get the bar to find its footing and that, once it does, "we'll be able to charge real prices for alcohol and we'll be able to afford much more in terms of entertainment."

One of the goals Urschel has been working toward on that entertainment front is getting the salsa band that plays at various Gloria's restaurants across the Metroplex to play Mondays at Simone. The eight-member band is made up entirely of University of North Texas professors, and Urschel says the discussions have so far been promising.

Such booking, for now, is done by the bar staff, and bartender Stephen White re-emphasizes Urschel's desire to get as many different types of acts, and thus crowds, through the doors as possible: "We're open to all kinds of variety," he says. "There's no specific genre we aim for. We've had a punk show here before. We've had jazz groups play. And we've done a lot of folk and Western-y kinds of music, too."

Events on Simone's upcoming calendar include a performance from Paleo on June 13, as well as an Armadillo Ale Works Brewery fundraiser and a Tuesday-night residence from local radio DJ and song improviser Paul Slavens.

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Rodrigo Diaz