Oct 24, 2016 - Food and Drink

You know what this farmers market needs? A bar. Happenstance is now open at Atherton

Happenstance, a new cans-only beer and wine bar, is now open at Atherton Market.

The concept comes from the men behind four established Charlotte brands you’ll most certainly recognize: David Watkins of Abbeydale, Kris Steele of Crown Town Compost, Brandon Cullen and Kirk Dewaele of MADabolic and James Yoder of Not Just Coffee.

Together, they’ve formed something of a small business support group, meeting up monthly at the market to vent, commiserate and celebrate the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. During those meetings, the question “Why can’t you get a beer in here?” was raised and, thus, Happenstance was born.

They call it “a chance encounter driven by conversation and community.”


Happenstance is a casual, communal spot with a minimalist design and equally minimalist drink menu.

Local craftsman Devin Forbes built the bar using wood from Treecycle America and the guys have committed to only using compostable products. Hank Schellenger added the woodwork accent design on the bar.

The bar is stocked with a rotating selection of beer, wine and cider (6-7 options total), and everything is in cans. They’ll change the selections out seasonally and will always have $9 wines, $5 beers and one $3 cheap beer option.

Right now, the cheap option is Narragansett, also known as “the beer from Jaws.”


To create a sense of place in a shared multi-vendor market, they’ll set the mood for their space by playing entire albums start to finish.

No singles (as in songs) allowed. I can see this gaining a cult following if they incorporate customer requests and announce the albums of the day in advance so people can park their laptops accordingly.


The grand opening for Happenstance is set for this Saturday, October 29, but they’ll be serving all week leading up to the celebration.

Hours are Wednesday – Friday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday – Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

Given the names behind this venture, I’d keep a close eye on expansion, additional locations or a potential future stand-alone spot. “We all enjoy a little bit of risk and testing the unknown,” said Steele.

Connect with Happenstance


Happenstance is located inside Atherton Market at 2120 South Boulevard


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