Customers are more than welcome to pick up cold medicine, condoms and other center-store items at Midway Craft House, but they might have to slink around the live band’s guitarist to get there.
The convenience store has hosted shows since April 2016, but the entertainment goes beyond live music. On any given evening, the suburban Dallas c-store might feature comedians, poets or even podcast recordings.
Owner Shakeel Merchant began letting bands play in his store to restore the music scene the area was known for when he attended college at the University of North Texas (UNT), also in Denton. “Frye Street was the place to be,” he told the Dallas culture magazine Guide Live. “But over the years it dwindled—and there were bands that needed a launch pad.”
“On any given evening, the suburban Dallas c-store might feature comedians, poets or even podcast recordings.”
Merchant’s shelf-studded rock venue is a newer iteration of the nearby Midway Mart, also owned by Merchant, which has been open for more than 20 years. Unlike Midway Craft House, the original location sells gas but is mostly known as a destination for UNT students looking for craft beer. Midway Craft House builds on the original location’s beer tradition with a growler station and an online twist: Customers can also visit the store’s Facebook page to see what brews are on tap and how much is in stock.
In any other community, an otherwise standard c-store would be an odd event space, but Merchant insists it’s a fit for the area. “It’s a Denton thing,” he said. “This is a quiet community with gritty music.”