103 Industrial St.
Dan’s Silverleaf isn’t a big venue, but it’s among the most important in Denton.
The local public house was the first night spot to move to Industrial Street, a short city block once occupied by a feed store and a mom-and-pop grocery market.
Dan’s originated on Elm Street, but shuttered when hard times hit. Co-owner Dan Mojica pulled himself up by the bootstraps, however, when a silent partner approached him and help re-locate at 103 Industrial St.
They put bright, matte blue paint on the outside walls, erected a curving bar near the Russell Street wall, then added a nice-size stage and tech booth. Then Mojica opened the taps, armed a friendly bar staff with bottle openers and corkscrews and started booking some of the best Red Dirt, Texas and Americana music acts into his club.
The crowds came for the music, bought drinks and kept coming. Mojica stayed friendly and helped form the Industrial Street Guild, an association for the the merchant neighbors who joined him on the block – Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Rooster’s Roadhouse and Seniors In Motion.
These days, you can still catch Asleep at the Wheel, Brave Combo and up-an-comers like Hares on the Mountain. Bands are proudly recording live albums at Dan’s – if you haven’t sampled The Boxcar Bandits Live at Dan’s, you should. On the nights when the stage is still, patrons can catch a game and some gossip.
Doors open at about 4 p.m. and close at 2 a.m. most days.
Runner-up: Sweetwater Grill & Tavern
Bragging rights: The Loophole
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Denton
1434 Centre Place Drive
Located right off the I-35, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites went from being a diamond in the rough to one of the Denton best this year.
With lobby and restaurant renovations were completed last summer, the hotel found new ways to draw more attention to itself. The hard work definitely paid off.
An on-site business center, a restaurant and lounge, several meeting rooms and the convenience of a 24-housr free high-speed Internet access are some of the amenities customers can look forward to using.
Last year, the Holiday Inn Denton became property of Ascent Hospitality, a hotel development and management company based in Dalton, Ga. The hotel is also managed by Louisville, Ky.’s Schulte Hospitality, which runs hotels affiliated with more than 10 brands around the country.
The Denton hotel, which opened in 2007, has about 5,000 square feet of meeting space and 153 guest rooms, including 24 luxury suites.
Runner-up: Courtyard by Marriott
Bragging rights: Hilton Garden Inn and Best Western Premier Crown Chase Inn & Suites
BEST KEPT SECRET IN DENTON
Cafe Du Luxe
3101 Unicorn Lake Blvd.
Café Du Luxe is just the spot for film buffs in Denton who like to end their outing to the cinema with wine or fine coffee, but who don’t want to have to drive to Mockingbird Station in Dallas every time.
Café Du Luxe has a menu of coffee and wines for anyone who has caught the latest Oscar hopeful at the Denton Cinemark at Unicorn Lake, as well as what we call “gourmet deli” sandwiches and baked goods. Those who like espressos and cappuccinos can find their cuppa at the café, and wine buffs can sample from Choncha y Toro, Bella Sera or Beringer labels, among others.
Café Du Luxe also serves the morning commuter who can buy a bagel with a morning cup of coffee. For lunch and dinner, try salads, sandwiches and soups from the menu.
Café Du Luxe is choice for the student or commuter who wants to get some paperwork knocked out while taking in occasional live music and local art.
The café is located at 3101 Unicorn Lake Blvd. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Runner-up: PointBank Black Box Performing Arts Center
Bragging rights: Paschall’s
BEST LOCAL COMMUNITY EVENT
Arts and Jazz Festival
The Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is one of the longest running events in Denton.
The free, three-day event has something for everyone—music, art, dance and food.
Top acts come to Denton to perform the tens of thousands who flock to the city’s main park each day.
Stages throughout Quakertown Park also feature the varied local talent from the very young to the wise among us.
Everyone who attends has a favorite memory - from the plethora of food delights to the booth after booth of beautiful artistry brought from across the state and country in the form of paintings, jewelry, woodwork and much, much more.
It’s the perfect place to bring friends and family, to see and be seen, to enjoy the fruits of living in such a vivacious and eclectic community.
The festival started over 30 years ago under a different name and now attracts more than 200,000 attendees.
Carol Short works tirelessly organizing the festival each year along with the help of many others in the community, including the Top Hands - a group of dedicated volunteers.
And it always ends with Denton’s own two-time Grammy-winning Brave Combo.
Runner-up: 35 Denton
Bragging rights: Holiday Lighting Festival
BEST MOVIE THEATER
916 W University Drive
When Denton residents want to go to the movies, they think of the Movie Tavern.
With in-theatre ordering and dining, a full menu featuring classic American dishes and four screens with all digital presentation and Real D 3D, the theatre makes people fall in love with the movie experience.
The Movie Tavern also presents Retro Cinema featuring old 80’s movies like the Breakfast Club or the off-beat comedies, “The Jerk,” Thursday at 9 p.m. or Friday and Saturday at midnight, according to its website.
Runner-up: Cinemark Theatres
Bragging rights: Rave Motion Pictures
BEST SPORTS BAR
PourHouse Sports Grill
3350 Unicorn Lake Blvd.
The first restaurant in Unicorn Lake officially opened in March 2008 with 10,000 square feet of room for lunch and dinner along with a dedicated media room perfect for watching sports.
Among the 14 flat screen televisions inside PourHouse is a 142-inch HD projection screen and five 58-inch screens. It is a sports fan’s dream.
Owner Rick Moore, a longtime Denton entrepreneur, envisioned a gathering place for those who love sports and want an evening of dinner, drink and entertainment in the form of basketball, baseball, football, soccer and much more.
The menu includes such treats as rotisserie-cooked meats and wood-fired pizzas.
An outdoor patio overlooks Unicorn Lake while inside, the restaurant seats up to 250.
Bragging rights: Buffalo Wild Wings
BEST WEDDING/PARTY VENUE
Denton Wildwood Inn
2602 Lillian Miller Parkway
People who stay at the Wildwood Inn embrace its Old World charm as well as its modern conveniences. Guests are known to describe Denton’s best wedding venue with just one word - “beautiful.”
The bed and breakfast sits on four-secluded, wooded acres, reminiscent of a French countryside estate. It offers guests a little of everything - 24-hour concierge service, free wireless and high-speed Internet, a 4-Star onsite restaurant as well as meeting rooms with A/V equipment rental and free parking. For those looking for a romantic gateway, they can choose different romantic packages that may include champagne, flowers and chocolate dipped strawberries.
Runner-up: Ashton Gardens
Bragging rights: Texas Woman’s University Little Chapel in the Woods