Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Common Table Uptown: Where local craft beer came together

Image credit: The Common Table.

Earlier this week, The Common Table (TCT) announced the closing of its Uptown location in Dallas. And while the hope is a new site may be found in the city for the future, the little house on Fairmount St. will forever be a part of local craft beer lore.

The grand opening of TCT occurred in June 2010, and you wouldn't be wrong to think it arrived on the scene when there wasn't much of a scene to arrive in. A discernible beer culture hadn't developed in North Texas, and it would be another year or so before the local craft beer boom began.

Looking back, beer menus at the time generally featured a standard array of imports and long-standing national brands. At TCT, however, the focus was (and always has been) on acquiring the best beers available in the market. In the beginning, that meant North Texans were drinking better beer before most understood what better beer was all about. To be clear, TCT was ahead of its time.

It was more than that, though. Great beer deserves to be paired with great food, great atmosphere, and great events. Yet for a long time, options were limited for local beer lovers looking for an elevated experience. That started to change at places like TCT, where rarity became commonplace. Over the years, hard-to-find beers, exclusive beer dinners, and happenstance appearances by industry legends were all in a day's work at TCT.

For me, though, what's impactful about time spent at TCT relates to the people and how TCT debuted just two months before I posted my first article as a beer writer. Because of that, industry friends I've known the longest are people I've either met or had a beer with at TCT. Those connections were made at Brewsday Tuesdays, Dogfishtivals, Starkbierfests, Firestone Walker Tap Takeovers, Pour Man's Beer Dinners, and more.

You might say a lot of us grew up in the craft beer world collectively at TCT. Sure, some (including myself) had been drinking better beer long before TCT came along, but the local craft beer community didn't start to come together until the years after TCT opened.

Of course, going forward TCT will continue, whether it's in a new Dallas spot or in the Frisco location living on. So, it's likely some old traditions will survive, as new traditions are born. Still, for many in this industry, the little house on Fairmount St. is the house local craft beer grew up in. And they say you never forget your first house.

Truly, for nearly 10 years, North Texas craft beer called that little house home.

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