What is your favorite thing to do indoors at night? Astronomy? The North Door has a night for that! Literature? Heck yes! Dancercize? Check. Math? Uh huh. Nerdcore? You know it. Quiet Clubbing? Oh yeah. Comedy? Yes!
Owners Michelle Patronella and Mark Bradford have a unique talent for hosting Austin’s funky, interesting and even odd events. The North Door is a plucky if-you-build-it-they-will-come type of Austin success story. This is the kind of tale we Austinites embrace.
How Today’s North Door Began
Patronella and Bradford met while working at Chuy’s in Round Rock. They soon partnered up in life and in business. Together they opened a food truck with the goal of catering events, and made a good bit of money at SXSW parties. Then they started hunting for a good investment. The North Door met all their criteria and happened to be for sale.
The duo snatched up The North Door’s cavernous east side space and moved in. They started booking the talent and events they currently have lined up: several approached them and others they found. It didn’t take them long to grow. They hired the talented Butch Webster as Director of Booking and an ace Sound Engineer, Chris Pear. The team focuses not only on hosting unusual event nights, but also on taking outstanding care of the talent they bring in.
Bajillion Nights of Fun
Some of The North Door’s most popular event nights predate Patronella and Bradford’s ownership. Both Nerd Nite and Juegos Rancheros were holding events at the venue when the new blood took over. Patronella and Bradford brought the groups into the main room instead of the lounge area in the back, enabling those events to grow even larger.
The quote on Nerd Nite’s Vimeo page reveals what the event is all about. “Like the Discovery Channel with beer.” Guests can expect experts on the themed subject of the month to give an 18- to 21-minute talk on the topic. In the past, Nerd Nite Austin has covered such diverse ground as psychics and sense, jellyfish and Turkish Cinema. The purpose is to learn in a laid-back way while knocking a few drinks back. Nerd Nite has more than 90 branches around the world. Austin’s event happens the second Wednesday of each month.
Juegos Rancheros is a collective of Austin gamers and game developers. On the first Thursday of every month, they meet at The North Door to discuss and play new online and video games. This is a digital arcade/meeting of the minds/gamer’s paradise, from what I can tell. It’s another popular event night at The North Door.
One Page Salon
Created and hosted by Austin’s own literary gadabout, Owen Egerton, One Page Salon is my personal favorite monthly event. Each first Tuesday, Egerton invites a handful of writers from all genres to read a single (loosely interpreted) page of a work in progress. This event migrated from Whip In in 2015 when its crowd size outgrew the cozy space. With ample seating and a killer sound system, The North Door has worked out well as a new home for Egerton’s labor of love. He often uses The North Door’s enormous screen to project snippets from films or to Skype with a guest reader in another city.
Structured similarly to other, more educational event nights (referred to as edutainment), #NotSoMath promises non-technical, math-based talks plus activities for attendees. The premise is simple: math doesn’t have to be boring. The North Door’s full bar helps lubricate the conversation for these fans of fun math, as with other events. This event typically takes place on the first Wednesday of the month.
Melody DanceFit’s dance fitness class, #moveitmonday, goes down at The North Door every Monday at 6:30 p.m. This lively class, given by an energetic leader, keeps growing. A decent crowd files in for the class, ready to dance their Monday blues away. Who doesn’t need some of that medicine? Melody DanceFit donates a portion of proceeds to the nonprofit organization, Dress For Success.
Astronomy on Tap
Working the science angle, Astronomy on Tap brings together those gazing at the skies for answers or inspiration. Organized by a committee of UT astronomers, the event features experts of science or science fiction, and the relaxed format at The North Door feels like an ideal fit. Check it out on the third Tuesday of each month.
Pueblo Viejo Food
Pueblo Viejo used to be a food truck in the lot across the street from The North Door. Patronella and Bradford became increasingly attached to the yummy food there and befriended the owners. Pueblo Viejo has since moved into the kitchen, so you never have to be without a taco at The North Door. Whew!
But Wait! There’s More!
The North Door crackles with energy even when empty, as if it has absorbed the intellectual and physical energy from all of the smart, quirky and lively events. It stands alone in a sea of bars in our city as home to the clever and the strange. The North Door flaunts the stereotypical “weird,” if you will. The event calendar is jam-packed with events beyond what I’ve already mentioned. A recent smattering of options were as diverse as Jugglefest, INdustry Night old school variety show, Sky Candy’s aerial silks tribute to Queen and record release parties for local bands. Don’t forget that, as a nightclub, they also provide a home for more adult offerings such as burlesque shows, Bedpost Confessions and Sh!tfaced Shakespeare.
All in all, The North Door stands alone when it comes to creative event planning. They’ve formulated a way to keep people coming through the doors in a landscape of multiplying entertainment options. Check out their calendar of events to find one that matches your own interests. If the event of your dreams is not already on their calendar, organize and pitch it. Maybe you will uncover the next itch waiting to be scratched.
501 Brushy St. – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which events at The North Door intrigue you most?