Stepping into the Art District’s Resident is the adult equivalent of stepping into someone’s secret clubhouse: it’s part beer garden, music venue, and indoor bar. It boasts a rotation of food trucks and a tightly curated selection of music and craft beverages. “We just wanted a place for our favorite things,” says co-founder Larry Little, who had been tossing around the idea for a place like this with architect Jacek Ostoya for a few years before the opportunity for Resident fell into place.
The space is housed in an old warehouse, which had seen previous lives as a shoe factory, a toy factory, and a storage space for egg products before Tim Krehbiel and his wife Bridget Vagedes bought the building in 2000. The wish of the previous owners was simply to sell the space to someone who would do something interesting with it. While it’s true that the recent building-out of the Arts District has pushed out a number of the businesses and artists that had helped define the Arts District in the first place, Resident is actually resuscitating some of the neighborhood’s original spirit.
“We’re a place that was put together by people who were always here,” says Krehbiel. “We’re not outsiders that came in and decided what this neighborhood needed. We’ve lived in this building for fifteen years, and we still live here.”
Resident’s main areas feel homey. The performance space inside is comfortable and intimate. Outside, the beer garden is furnished with plenty of picnic tables, string lights, and succulent gardens. A retrofitted Spartan trailer serves as a bar, and a medley of food trucks pull in nightly.
The cocktail program, developed with mixologist Randy Tarlow of Liquid Alchemist, is fittingly impressive and playful. Try the Oaxacan Razorblade, made sharp — Mezcal, orgeat, lime, and Serrano bitters, or the New Fashioned, updated with a sweet potato liquor and toasted pecan bitters.
“It’s small for a music venue, big for a bar,” explains Vagedes. “It gives people the opportunity to see music in an intimate environment, and then go out into a space where they can hang out, have a drink, meet each other. We want to keep it very accessible.”
Resident’s music lineup is unique, with performances virtually every night and a number of recurring special events. Each month, a different artist takes up a “residency” at the venue, playing every Tuesday for that month. So far, this has created sort of a mini-following for the artists that have been featured: people come back week after week to see the show, and develop a relationship with that month’s resident. On the last Sunday of every month, Resident hosts local R&B and soul music, followed by an open jam at the end of the night where musicians are welcome to hop on stage after the oldschool heavy-hitters. The program fosters a sense of community without pretensions.
“People say, ‘I like it here, it feels like someone’s backyard, it feels like home,” Tim says. “And I’m excited by that, because it’s true. That’s exactly what it is.”
Written by Rayna Jensen
Photographed by Jack Strutz