Celebrated Indie-Folk Band Midlake Is Taking Over Denton, One Storefront At A Time.

Beloved Denton indie-folk band Midlake is slowly but surely taking over the city it calls home. Seriously: These days, various bars, restaurants and businesses owned by members of the band have been popping up around the college town at a furious pace.

Most recently, Midlake singer Eric Pulido and the actor Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl, Mallrats), long known to be a supporter of the band, opened Denton’s first gastro-pub, a spot called Barley & Board. The pub occupies the space previously inhabited by the evil Subway that was located across from Recycled Books.

At the same time, drummer McKenzie Smith’s 940’s Kitchen and Cocktails venture is readying itself to cut the ribbon to its eventual home in the former Banter location at 219 West Oak Street.

These two entities are just the latest in a continuing stretch of new business affairs for Midlake’s members. The place that initially sparked Midlake’s takeover of Denton in October 2011 was Paschall Bar, the speakeasy type joint found upstairs in Andy’s Bar that’s owned collectively by all of Midlake’s members. Next came Redwood Studios, the recording space run by McKenzie Smith and Joey McClellan that sits two miles north of downtown Denton. Then there’s the Denton Music Workshop manned by Eric Nichelson and Jesse Chandler, which acts as a music school, rehearsal space and recording studio in one. Somewhere along the line, Pulido also launched the design firm Norman Roscoe Design & Print.

Located on the Northeast corner of The Square, Barley & Board resides in the location where the Lacy Hotel once stood. Built in 1858, the hotel was a lively stable that not only provided lodging, but also meals. According to Pulido, the food served at that hotel was the best that could be found between Dallas and the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders. In 1884, the Lacy Hotel burned down, replaced by the May Building, which faced the same fate in 1924. The structure now known as the Texas Building took its place.

Barley & Board’s fare, led by executive chef, Chad Kelley, will feature new American cuisine, Pulido says. The bar will offer over 30 beers on tap, including in-house brews, craft cocktails and wines.

“It’s been a really organic process,” says Pulido of launching this latest entity.

So, too, it seems is Midlake’s increasing domain over Denton — something Pulido only expects to see more of in the future.

“We have other projects underway around town,” he says, hinting at what’s to come but not willing to reveal any details beyond that. “We look forward to what’s ahead.”

Cover photo by Pete Freedman.

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