North Texas Daily

The end of Banter brings open mic to a close

The end of Banter brings open mic to a close

The end of Banter brings open mic to a close
April 15
23:57 2015

Kristen Watson / Contributing Writer

Walking down Oak Street will never be the same after Banter closed its doors on March 29. The musical notes that leaked through their glass doors are forever silenced now that the venue has been bought out and will be replaced by an upscale, full-service restaurant, according to Banter manager Kat Ralph.

Ralph boasts about Banter’s variety of food and drink options that include: sandwiches, salads, coffee, espresso, beer, wine and even hugs. The venue was also home to Denton’s largest open mic night that has been running for about 15 years.

Two young entrepreneurs, one of who is a member of the Denton-famous band, Midlake, bought out the bistro in January. The restaurant will be a full-service restaurant called 940s.

Click the photo below to view the SoundSlides video:

banter 8 copy

Ralph said what people will really miss about Banter are the music and the family that developed around that community.

“You know. I think it was just the family aspect and the community and how welcoming we were,” Ralph said. “It really facilitated a special group of people that you just don’t find it anywhere else.”

Musicians across Denton still mourn their closing doors when they shut for the final time. Ellie Meyer, a musical regular at Banter, recalls the first time she performed at Banter.

“The first time I played here was, I think was open mic and I didn’t really know what to expect, but everybody was just really warm and inviting and encouraging, especially for those who’ve never performed before,” Meyer said. “It can be super nerve wracking, which can be discouraging. But, everybody is really friendly and kind of like family.

Meyer said she feels that the family bond the Banter community formed is unique and one she misses now that they are forced apart.

“It’s kind of…it’s a weird feeling,” Meyer said. “It’s like having a family member like kind of move away or go to college or something. Like if you have a sibling that gets married, and you don’t see them as often as you’d like to, but they’re still around.”

Matt Gibson, a longtime Banter patron and employee, is one member of the “Banter family” that is determined to keep them all in contact with each other.

“It’s the end of an era,” Gibson said. “It’s not the end of the family, though. You know, we’re going to continue to have get togethers and parties and keep the family together. It’s an end to an era as far as…I mean the spot’s gone…the job’s gone. It’s definitely bittersweet. But, the family isn’t gone. We made a bond that’s going to stay strong for years.”

Photos and video slideshow by Kristen Watson – Contributing Writer

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