Ultimate guide to Denton: Ages 26 and up

Ultimate guide to Denton: Ages 26 and up

Ultimate guide to Denton: Ages 26 and up
August 08
14:52 2014

By On The Record Staff

1. Being hungry all the time/ The restlessness of old age

If you’re 26 or older, and you’re a UNT student, something has either gone really right in your life (like a successful stint in the military, this is your second degree, you had kids or went on a mission to save starving kids) or really wrong (you failed once at college and you’re back, you did a stint in state prison, you tried the 40-hour  week thing and it wasn’t for you).

Either way, now you’re here, in a town with a plethora of activities for the fresh-faced (traditional) freshman and for the heavy drinkers. Say you’re neither, and you don’t have a town to commute back to when those 9 p.m. classes are over.

You could go down to Kroger, buy several, assorted pints of Ben and Jerry’s, re-up that Netflix subscription, snuggle up on the couch with your pet and waste away your incarceration in college town hell. Or you could take advantage of the many “scenes” of Denton. Denton is a strange town, an amalgam of “young creatives,” Republican townspeople, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students and enough odds and ends to fill anyone’s day planner.

There are urban farming outfits that hawk their fare at community and farmers’ markets. There’s a whopping cycling culture — for the casual beer-favoring crowd and the serious riders as well. There’s a crazy, volatile and conflicted local government/activism scene. While it may have tapered off in the past few years, Denton still has a music scene, if you’re looking for agreeable tunes at agreeable prices without the fanfare and commensurate surge in drink and cover prices.

And if none of that is really “you,” Denton is perfectly and strategically located between mega centers of fun. It’s 40 miles from Fort Worth, Dallas and Plano and their corresponding and motley pursuits. It’s 90 miles from Oklahoma City, with a dozen casinos in between. There are state parks and nature reserves.

If you can’t find some way to spend your time in Denton, your miserable, wayward heart will never be pleased. Find a scene and dig in or go blow your tuition refund at  WinStar, drink watered-down Oklahoma beer and bemoan whatever half-cocked string of events led you to Denton.

2. Denton’s perfect for beer 

You could commute to UNT, and live in Dallas or Fort Worth or (God forbid) Plano. You could pay $1,000 a month in rent for a studio apartment, and pay stadium prices for beer at every restaurant and bar, save for the scummiest dives and saddest chains.

Or you could bite the bullet, leave the bright lights and big city (or small town) behind, and get to know the town that your school is in. Lest you spend your two, four or six years (maybe more) at UNT treating it like some massive community college. Denton has its wrinkles: terrible air, fracking, townies, an unbearable sense of devastating and absolute whiteness.

But for all its foibles, and they can be hard to overlook, Denton has Texas’ greatest craft beer scene.

Within a 500-yard radius of the city’s much renowned Square, there are more than 150 craft beers on sale…150 different beers. Every nook and cranny of the state’s massive and burgeoning brew scene is represented, from Austin to Houston to DFW. If you love Dallas’ intrepid and wonderful beer scene, and you think moving to Denton would be tantamount to leaving it behind, you would be mistaken. You can have your cake (or Peticolas Velvet Hammer or Ranger Creek Strawberry Milk Stout) and eat it too in Denton, all the while paying half the price and occasionally rubbing shoulders with the brewer.

3. Day drinking 

When you’ve had enough of walks, and you’ve already got pets and seen Hangman’s—I mean, Goatman’s–Bridge and gone to the Mini Mall, and done every last thing Denton has to offer, the city is mostly bereft of choices. That’s when you turn to alcohol–the sweet, joyous nectar of the Gods. Bygone are the days when you thought, “it wasn’t the right time for booze” or “it’s not even five o’clock yet.”

You’re 26 years old, in Denton, and on Fry Street. There is nothing worse than being too old. To hell with your city and university stats that say UNT’s average age is 27. At Lou’s, Side Bar or The Garage, 26 may as well be 100.

Day drinking — once reserved for the executives of the world, the hoity toity, the high falutin’ and the bored — is now as common as having breakfast for dinner. In Denton, because of a weird coalescence of circumstances, almost every bar is as open as the windy prairie surrounding the city.

So take heed, nearly thirty-year-old friends, there is still hope and it can easily be fulfilled, even on Fry Street. It’ll simply take an earlier rise from bed and probably a confused and bemused 7 p.m. designated driver willing to shepherd your full-bellied, heartily drunk ass home when your younger peers are merely beginning to plan their nights.

Feature image: A wall inside East Side Denton covered with bar taps. Photo by Edward Balusek/Visuals Editor

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