Hydrant Cafe is Denton's Latest Great Venue

It's no wonder that Denton got that nod from Paste Magazine for Best Music Scene of 2008 because, at the risk of making this column sound like a broken record, this space is going to yet again be devoted to another relatively new Denton venue that's starting to book great shows. (And another one that's gonna open next month.)

Last weekend, The Hydrant Café hosted the third anniversary show for Michael Briggs and Brent Frishman's promotion company Gutterth Productions. The mostly acoustic show featured performances by Ryan Thomas Becker, Daniel Folmer, Glen Farris, Freddie Schulze and Delmore Pilcrow.

"We wanted to do a holiday-type show with a warm, laidback vibe," Frishman says. "And I'd gone to an art show at The Hydrant a few weeks back and was really impressed by the space there. I thought it would be the perfect environment for these artists."

So then: Why is The Hydrant so well-suited for a laidback, intimate show? Well, when Glenn and Melissa Haas opened the venue four months ago, they decorated the upstairs of the coffee shop in warm earthtones and decked out the space with armchairs, sofas, lamps and end tables. So, going to a show there is kind of like going to a house show—without having to wonder when the cops are gonna show up or what those stains on the couch are.

Located on West Oak Street, one block off the town square, The Hydrant took over the two-story building that formerly housed the Dallas-esque bar Atticus. Though the Gutterth show last weekend was one of the coffee shop's biggest so far, it was hardly its first show: Since opening, the shop has been booking local jazz acts for Friday night performances (Glenn graduated from the jazz-heavy University of North Texas College of Music).

"I wanted it to be a quality venue that bands know is a good place to play and that people like to see shows at," Glenn says. "While we want to emphasize the local jazz scene, we don't want to pigeonhole ourselves either."

Speaking of jazz: Cold Fusion Lounge is on track to open in early January. The club moved into the spot near Dan's Silverleaf left vacant when Eisley's Hookah Lounge closed this past October, and owners Scott Settles and Ken Hendrickson have been working late into the night redecorating and renovating. Though the venue will primarily feature jazz performers, Settles and Hendrickson say they will also host rock shows and an open-mic night.

"We're raising the bar for sound systems in Denton," Settles says. "It's gonna be comparable to the Curtain Club [in Dallas] as far as quality of sound."

And, yep, another mark to add to the tally of Denton's quantity of venues.

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Daniel Rodrigue
Contact: Daniel Rodrigue