North Texas Daily

Oak Street Draft House and Cocktail Parlor turns two years old

Oak Street Draft House and Cocktail Parlor turns two years old

March 07
16:06 2014

Edward Balusek // Staff Photographer

Oak Street Draft House and Cocktail Parlor celebrated its two-year anniversary on Thursday. The bar’s official birthday was Wednesday but the celebration was moved because of rain.

From about 3:30 p.m. until 2 a.m., the house and patio were filled to the brim, much like the glasses of beer that the bartenders supplied all night. Owner John Williams, 34, had 12 specialty beers delivered and hooked up to the taps at 5 p.m. just for the occasion. The most special, he said, was called North Coast Old Stock. It’s brewed in California and was aged in brandy barrels since 2011.

The bar also sold a commemorative T-shirt and drinking glass combo for $11 with an outline of the 128-year-old Oak Street house – where the bar is located – printed on them. The memorabilia sold out within the first three hours of the celebration and nearly 20 kegs were empty by closing time.

In the last two years, Oak Street Draft House’s popularity has grown like wildfire. The patrons agree that it’s the atmosphere, the beer and the friendly, heavily bearded face of John Williams that keep them coming back.

“The old house does a lot for it. It’s just different, it stands out,” Williams said. “You can have an 80-year-old and a 22-year-old kid in here drinking craft beer and not feel like they’re not wanted or welcome here.”

Since the bar’s inception in 2012, Williams has added an outside bar, 78 beers on tap, and drawn enough interest that food trucks have started to park their “munchies” mobiles outside the front door. Oak Street Draft House has also been hosting a weekly 5K fun run since spring 2013.

“The food trucks are our biggest achievement because it shows that so many people are coming and that other people can make a business off our business,” bartender and 2010 emergency management graduate Mike Garza said.

Though food trucks are good sign of a thriving business, most of the customers last night agreed that the atmosphere is what makes Oak Street Draft House better than any other bar.

“It’s just more laid back. People come here to relax, sit back and chitchat,” bartender and 2012 elementary education graduate Michael Russell said. “Somehow, we’ve created an area where people come to chill out and there’s no bad energy.”

The eclectic wall décor, like Elvis Presley album art and old photographs, nostalgic early- to mid-1900s furniture and the rock garden are all contributing factors to its friendly atmosphere. The patrons play a huge part too.

Williams said it’s the difference in the people he sees at Oak Street Draft House compared to the bars on Fry Street, “where you just deal with 21- to 28-year-old kids,” is what makes it special. Williams sees a myriad of thirsty customers on a daily basis, from city council members to business owners to UNT students.

In two years, Williams has pioneered the craft beer supply in Denton by bringing more than 150 beer choices between Oak Street Draft House and his other bar, East Side Social Club. Through his connectivity with friends and business owners, Williams has created the ultimate hang out spot for literally everyone – at least who’s of legal drinking.

“John’s a great owner who had a great idea and it’s turned into this,” bartender Michael Russell said. “Two years down the road and we’re stronger than ever.”

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