Northside's LGBTQ+ dance club MixWells has undergone a vibrant transformation over the spring and summer, transforming their outdoor space into a lush, plant-filled beer garden and teaming up with local mother-daughter duo TiYah's Table to oversee the kitchen.
Rebranded as Northside Gardens, the establishment will hold its grand opening on the weekend of Sept. 4-5.
The plans to reinvent their business model were, of course, spawned from the coronavirus pandemic and its implications, but their fresh take truly breathed life into the courtyard, shifting the party from the inside out and making "the great outdoors the star of show."
Owner and founder Dan Wells and his partner Scott Dittgen have added covered wooden cabanas, a stage and 50-plus varieties of tropical plants to their garden, including agave plants, banana and pineapple trees, plumery and more — plus string lights to set the dreamy ambiance.
"It's all about being outside and enjoying the fresh air," Wells explained in an email interview.
Ushering in a more sanitary and fresh environment was another driving factor behind the transition. The inside of the space will be closed until Wells feels as though it is safe to host guests indoors.
"I sort of feel like my favorite grungy nightclub has cleaned up for the parents to come over. In fact, my mom loves the new vibes," Dittgen says.
The bar's cocktail menu will focus on fresh, garden-inspired drinks like a honey and rum cocktail and sangria, plus kombucha-infused boozy bevs like the kombucha basil gin fizz and mango kombucha with vodka. They will also offer freshly brewed teas and homemade lemonade-based drinks — in addition to craft and domestic beers on draft and in cans and bottles. Dittgen says there will also be a selection of non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy.
Northside Gardens has partnered with head chef TiYah Yisrael and her daughter Jazlyn Mason and their restaurant TiYah's Table to offer delicious bites that can be enjoyed in the outdoor space. The family biz features a menu of casual, yet elevated dishes that use fresh, local and organic ingredients. Yisrael notes some of her favorite items on the menu include the salmon croquette burger, Philly sliders, loaded salmon fries and barbecue wings, which come with a choice of several homemade sauces including the garlic dill mayo, Cajun tomato aioli and hot honey garlic.
"Using quality ingredients is paramount. Organic and local fresh produce are used as much as possible. All the herbs are grown from my very own garden. The salmon is wild-caught. Our goal is to create a welcoming atmosphere with great service and fresh great tasting food," Yisrael said in a press release.
Visitors can anticipate plenty of outdoor entertainment in the new space, according to Wells and Dittgen. The beer garden will host local DJ nights, drag and comedy shows on the new outdoor stage as well as themed dinner parties.
Wells' other Northside bar, Good Judy, which opened in early 2020, will reopen next year, according to Dittgen.
"Our Good Judy is sadly still in quarantine. The space is small and we’re trying to be as pandemic-safe as possible. I loved Judy’s for being an intimate, colorful, divey LGBTQIA+ space," Dittgen said.
"We had a beer and bake sale to raise funds for some local causes which immensely exceeded our goal. I’ve considered maybe opening the doors for takeout cocktails, coffee and baked goods," he said. "Prior to the pandemic we were looking at expanding our hours to offer coffee, tea and baked goods. I’d love to see that happen when we open up again!"
The beer garden and restaurant will host its grand opening celebration from 4-11 p.m. Sept. 4 and 5.
Northside Gardens, 3935 Spring Grove Ave., Northside.