In a world where constant connectivity often eclipses the simple joys of genuine human interaction, places like the Orion Pub stand out as a beacon of respite. I recently sat down with Thomas Hentges, co-founder of the Orion Pub – a new old-style bar in downtown Sioux Falls, SD that harkens back to the nostalgia of dive bars, small town taverns, and even shotgun bars reminiscent of those you might find Detroit or Chicago. With a focus on good brews, comradery, and conversations that outshine phone screens, Orion Pub is redefining the bar experience.
Thomas, who survived a heart attack just about a year ago, shared how the experience gave him a new lease on life, igniting his passion for personal connections and genuine conversations. This newfound perspective has been infused into the very fabric of Orion Pub's culture. As a result, it's not just about the drinks; it's about putting down your phone and embracing the joy of conversing with fellow patrons.
Recently, Thomas has been collaborating with us by curating several Spotify playlists, meticulously crafted by Thomas himself. I bellied up to the bar and listened to Thomas, while he delved into his creative process behind crafting these playlists and the intention behind each selection.
"When you asked me to do that, I got excited," Thomas shared enthusiastically. He drew parallels between the way lifestyle brands like Dakota Adventure Supply promote a certain way of life and how music can seamlessly accompany and reflect that lifestyle. "It's much like your outdoor brand but also a lifestyle. The music becomes an integral part of this narrative," he added.
Thomas's approach to creating playlists closely mirrors the changing seasons and moods. He describes the evolution of his playlist journey through different volumes, each with its unique flavor. Volume 1 marked the beginning of summer, evoking the energy of outdoor activities like boating, camping, and grilling. "It's high energy, with lyrics from young southern artists whose souls are set on fire. They exude confidence, a youthful spirit," Thomas explained.
Volume 2 continued to capture the essence of summer, showcasing soulful tracks from young artists who radiate passion. In contrast, Volume 3 signified the shift towards the end of summer, when memories are cherished, and the weather beckons evenings around the fire. "As summer wanes, the sun sets earlier, and the heat subsides. Volume 3 carries a different vibe – more folk-oriented, perfect for sitting around a campfire after a day of rafting, backpacking, or camping, or just grilling in the backyard with friends. It's music that accompanies the stories you share," Thomas elaborated.
Just like the Orion Pub itself, the creation of these playlists is intentional and purposeful. Thomas's approach to curating music is an extension of his life philosophy – everything matters, every detail is thought out. "It's fun; I love doing stuff like this. I was that kid who always made mixed tapes. In fact, I got my first wife by making her some mixed tapes!" he quipped with a chuckle.
As the Orion Pub fosters an environment where friends gather, brews flow, and conversations take center stage, the curated playlists merge seamlessly into this narrative, creating a soundscape that mirrors the ambiance. Just as Dakota Adventure Supply embraces and promotes comradery, the Orion Pub, through its music, invites patrons to embrace conversation and interaction with one another.
In a world saturated with distractions, places like the Orion Pub remind us of the magic that unfolds when people genuinely connect – with each other, with nature, and with the melodies that soundtrack their stories. So, whether you're on a boat, road trip, or seated around a campfire, these curated playlists will enhance the experience, becoming the soundtrack to those moments.
Thomas - thanks for chatting with us and for the purposeful music you create for us. Even moreso, thanks for your friendship.