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By Jimmy Mclean
This is a guide for your visit to College Station. I am specially qualified to give this advice because I did my undergraduate studies at The University of Alabama then received my Master’s from Texas A&M, was raised by two Aggies and am now engaged to one.
Bars and Nightlife
The main area for bars in College Station is Northgate. Northgate is located across University Boulevard from the university so it’s really easy to get to after the games. Once you get there you have to visit the Dixie Chicken just so you can say you did. The food is not bad but all they serve is beer and wine so if you are looking to do something other than play pool and dominoes, then grab a beer, carve your name or something inappropriate into the table and keep moving. Now that you’re familiar with the Dixie Chicken, you need to figure out the night’s goals. You have two choices: go drink with people who can do so legally or hit on the underage girls who will think you’re cool (or at least pretend to) while you buy them vodka drinks.
If you decide to go with the legal drinkers, take a left out of the back door of the Chicken and go to the Dry Bean. It is a shot bar with every shot you can think of, and many others you’d only take if you lost a bet. Try a Flaming Dr. Pepper (one of the few places left to still light them on fire) and then head to Logan’s. Logan’s is one of my personal favorites because of the free popcorn, chuggers, and it’s where I do my best creeping. Be prepared for viral videos and ridiculous music videos to come on the TV. Once you drink your chugger, head to the saki bar. I don’t think anyone knows what the actual name of this place is. You can order your normal saki bomb but I recommend a Reverse Four Loko Bomb. Now you have to navigate between all the bro bars to get to The Corner, which is three floors and one of the favorite places for the lackluster Greek system of A&M to hang out. Head straight to the top floor where you can try my old pick up line, “You can see my office from here. Want to check it out?” Hopefully it works better for you than it did for me.
After The Corner, it’s time to visit Daisy Dukes. (If you had picked the hitting on underage girls option, you would have gone straight to Daisy Dukes.) On your walk to Daisy Dukes swing by Basil Whippet’s, which is a surprisingly good place to watch a game, and order a Jimmy. Once you get to Daisy Dukes, you will see that their slogan, “Young: Wild: Country” translates to a rotation of 3 rap songs followed by 3 country songs. Repeat. Don’t waste your time on the girls on the speaker boxes. Go straight for the girls that line the walls of the first floor. Grab one and hit the floor during a country song. Don’t worry about being able two step. The dance floor will be too crowded with people who think they know what they’re doing.
Last call means you and your girlfriend for the night need to get home, and A&M has one of the best student run organizations out there. Carpool will drive you home for free, but be prepared for a long wait.
Texas is known for BBQ and Mexican food, and College Station has plenty of both. I would recommend Las Lamas or Los Cucos for Mexican. Both are pretty good and don’t make too much fuss on their way out the next day. For BBQ, try C&J’s. They make great sides too. While you are in Texas, don’t be cute and order that pulled pork trash. Go with the brisket. If you want a burger, Chicken Oil or Koppe Bridge are both good, but Koppe Bridge has better ranch, and we can all agree ranch is better on fries than ketchup. If you want to prove your manliness head to Sodolak’s in Snook, TX (there is one in Bryan but just like Dreamland in Tuscaloosa the original one in the sticks is better than the second location). Their small steaks cover the whole plate but you can order steaks upwards of 38 oz. For an appetizer try the chicken fried bacon.
The most important type of food when visiting a college town is the after bar food. My favorite location is Antonio’s. It is on Northgate and is a great place to go while you are waiting on carpool. They make good pizza with interesting combinations.
For breakfast on Sunday after the game, check out Hullabaloo Diner. If you are headed back to Houston, it’s on your way. The food is great and the servings are massive. The only drawback is the place is always crowded and not just with people from College Station. Food Network’s resident d-bag Guy Fieri featured it on his show, and now it is packed with antiquers and other weekend roadtrippers. If you are willing to wait over an hour, I would recommend the chicken fried steak, Mexican green chili burger, biscuits n gravy, and the Aggie special.
Now that you are fed and drunk, let’s talk about what’s going to happen Saturday for the game.
Random traditions to be mindful of:
1. Hats off in the MSC (Memorial Student Center)
The MSC is the student union of Texas A&M. When it first opened, it was dedicated to all the A&M grads who died in WWI and WWII. For that reason, you are not supposed to wear a hat inside of it or walk on the grass outside of it.
2. The Century Tree
Supposedly one of the first trees planted on campus. The tradition is if you walk under it alone, you will never marry. If you walk under it with your significant other and the two of you get married, the marriage will last forever. Walking through the academic plaza you may see a woman in a wedding dress or people doing an engagement photo shoot. This is why.
3. Statue of Sul Ross
If you are wandering around the university and happen upon a statue of a man with a bunch of pennies at his feet, fight the urge to take them and go buy something off the dollar menu. The Aggies believe that leaving a penny at the feet of Sully means good luck on their upcoming exams. Sul Ross was the president of A&M in the 1890s, and legend has it he would tutor students for a penny. Fun fact: people have actually left checks for 1 cent.
4. Spirit of ‘02
The Spirit of ’02 is a cannon. The cannon is like any other cannon shot off during a football game, but this cannon was found in the woods in 1974 by students cutting trees for the once glorious tradition of Bonfire. Also the cannon is not actually a cannon. It’s a howitzer 3 in. gun. A&M is the only school I can think of that would just forget they left a functioning cannon in the woods for 30 years.
Game Day is when the cultural differences at A&M stand out the most. They take their tailgating very seriously but are spread out all over the place. If you want to tailgate out of your car (weak) you will have to tailgate in the parking lots by the basketball arena. There you are allowed to use all the generators you want. If you are looking to be in an area more like the Grove, head to Spence Park. It is across the street from Kyle Field. You can drive up and drop your stuff off on the street in front of the park so it’s not too inconvenient, but to run your TVs and satellite dishes you will have to carry in batteries and an inverter. The Corps does its own tailgating by their dorms and fraternities at A&M take over a field across the street from the President’s house.
One of the first things you will notice is that the girls do not try as hard as you are accustomed to at your home field. They wear t-shirts and jeans and the only dresses you’ll see are these t-shirt dresses that are not flattering and look like they are always about to fall off. Fans also paint overalls and will wear them with no shirt for a dude or a t-shirt for girls.
Now that you are getting your buzz going and doing some good people watching you should go check out the march-in of the Corps. You have to remember that A&M has their own group of toy soldiers that take themselves very seriously. (If it is a big weekend, you will also get to see the seamen of A&M Galveston.) They are famous for things like trying to invade Waco after commandeering a train and holding Rice’s Marching Owl Band in the stands after they made fun of A&M traditions. The coolest part is when the horses come in pulling the cannon, and the freshman follow behind, picking up the piles with a wheel barrow painted with the visiting team’s colors.
Getting booze into Kyle Field is easy. You’re allowed to bring in a water bottle so if you like clear liquor, you don’t even have to hide it. There is no pat down and they don’t check purses too hard. My sister got 4 cans of beer into the Texas game by just putting them under her wallet and makeup in her purse. To get in a flask, put it anywhere but your boot because that is the only place I have ever been checked. I always go with my back pocket.
Once into the game, you will be treated to a fly over unless the weather is bad. One benefit to the Corps, other than a heavily defended campus if U of H tries to invade, is that they have enough connections in the armed services to get a fly over for every game. You will also get your first glimpse of the famous Yell Leaders. As most know, A&M does not have cheerleaders. Instead they have 5 guys running around in ice cream man uniforms. As their name implies, they lead the student section in yells because A&M does not do cheers. A&M might not have cheerleaders but their student section is a force to be reckoned with. Kyle field may not look imposing but that place starts shaking real quick.
A&M fans don’t do two things that are mainstays in the rest of the SEC. First, they don’t use shakers. Instead they wave towels over their heads. They also don’t boo. I know that sounds crazy, but instead they do this thing called a horse laugh. It’s basically hissing at the other team. I do enjoy the kissing after every time the Aggies score, and the students get decent seats not shoved in an end zone. You will also notice that A&M fans are much nicer to visitors than a lot of SEC fans. They also do halftime very well. The marching band is better than any other I have seen in the SEC, and that includes my beloved Million Dollar Band.
After the game, walk across campus to Northgate and do what you did Friday night all over again. You can have a lot of fun in College Station. It’s a great college town with super nice people. Just stay out of Bryan.