Dixie Chicken - The Oldest Bar on Northgate

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That good ol’ Dixie feeling.

Chicken Stories

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Decades of good times

It may have started as just a bar, all those years ago, but it has been much more than that to many aggies. For over 40 years, we’ve been on Northgate, celebrating the big wins, knocking back a few after a tough test, reminiscing and reconnecting with friends. We’ve been there for the awkward first dates, the 20 year wedding anniversaries, the nights to remember and the nights to forget!

Thank you for your stories.

1976

Then, there he was...

Meet my husband over 40 years ago!

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1976

Meet my husband over 40 years ago!

It was 41 years ago this JULY 5, 2017, when I met my husband at the DIXIE CHICKEN:

After losing my first husband in a car crash, I was at the Dixie Chicken wearing a pink tank top that read “I’m Single” and blue jean shorts. I had one beer: Schlitz in a bottle. (I don’t, and didn’t drink much.)

Then… there he was wearing a V-neck white t-shirt, Wrangler blue jeans, boots, and had blonde hair: “Are you alone, or are you waiting for someone?”

I hesitated only a second, “I’m alone.”

He invited me to his table, where he was playing pool.

We’re now married, our three children are grown, and we have seven grandchildren. It all started at a random meeting – at the Dixie Chicken

Thank you, folks – for the love of my life.

– Sheri Bockelman

1977

World's First

Death Burger Championship

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2009

Wedding pictures

Dixie Chicken Family

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2009

Dixie Chicken Family

My husband (’08) and I (’09) are proud members of the Dixie Chicken family! So many memories and lifelong friendships were made.

– Lauren Diehl

1991

I love going back and seeing how little it’s changed...

Fish Camp 1991: First Chicken Experience

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1991

Fish Camp 1991: First Chicken Experience

My first Chicken experience was on the night we came back from Fish Camp entertaining the Fall 91 semester. Let’s just say our counselors gave us a warm welcome into one of the best Aggie traditions—a cold beer at the Chicken (quite a few). From that night I was hooked. I lived just across the street at Walton so I applied for a job soon after. My “interview” with owner Don Gantner consisted of “Where’d you grow up, boy?” And “What’s your daddy do for a living?” I guess he liked my answers because is soon found myself working in the kitchen. I can say I learned to cook making Freddy burgers and Tijuana fries. It was a fun job. I eventually was promoted to work the back bar (long brass one where pitchers are served) and as a “swamper” (the guys who make their way through the crowds collecting empty bottles and pitchers). They were some late nights—I’ve seen the Chicken with all the overhead lights on and it wasn’t pretty. But it was fun and I left each night with a plastic cup full of cash and quarters from my cut of the tip pitchers. Upsides: half price on food and beer (when not on the clock) and flirting with drunk girls. Downside: missed a few football games and being completely sober at closing. I can tap a keg and pour a perfect beer with minimal foam. I love going back and seeing how little it’s changed though pushing a stroller through it once was pretty surreal. It was a key part of Aggieland education and my favorite bar ever. Attached is a pic of the night I christened my ring (I’m holding the pitcher) and a more recent picture of my initials still carved on the wall in the front entry between the glass door and swinging doors. I etched them into the wall one night with my dorm key while checking ID’s.

Russell Kolb

2006

We always started and ended...

Ladies Nights

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2006

Ladies Nights

It was always ladies night for us at The Chicken! We always started and ended our Northgate nights at The Chicken! The best part was heading back to the bar for one pitcher of beer, some Tijuana fries, and Goodnight Irene! I believe our bathroom tag is still in the big stall somewhere- Hussies Class of 2006! We look forward to trips back to remember our great times! Thanks for all the memories!

❤️ The Hussies

2011

The pretty lady in the wedding dress is Pamela...

After Reception Get Together

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2011

After Reception Get Together

Howdy! I am Bryan Reding, I-7, ’07, and the pretty lady in the wedding dress is Pamela (Porter) Reding ’04. We are surrounded by 1st row L to R: Jeff Fuller (lifelong friend from Kansas), Clint Cottrell, I-7, ’07, Katy Hall Gaston ’07, Taylor Hall, I-1, ’07, Jack Hart (lifelong friend from Kansas). Back row L to R: Dan Habitzreiter, I-1, ’07, and Alex Holladay, I-1, ’07. Pam and I met in 2007 (whoop) and got a courthouse marriage in 2010. I deployed to Iraq from March 2010-March 2011 and we had a large wedding celebration when I returned. Our wedding ceremony was held at All Faith’s Chapel on campus, followed by the reception in the Archery Room of the Rec Center. After the reception, we went “to The Chicken” to have a few drinks. The Dixie Chicken was the go-to bar for our Corps buddies to make or forget memories long into the night during our years in The Corps and at Texas A&M. I can’t count how many times I heard Goodnight Irene. It was only fitting that after a great day, we ended the night at the best bar on Northgate.

2014

Archive

40th Anniversary Party

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Roger Creager playing to the crowd.

Dub Miller singing "Fightin' Texas Aggie"

2014

40th Anniversary Party

June 14, 2014, the Dixie Chicken celebrated its 40th birthday with live music from Aggies and local talent.

Pat Ryan, Austin English, Dallas Shipp, Geoff Spahr, Rosehill, Clayton Gardner, Dub Miller, and Roger Creager all shared their talents to a large crowd packed throughout the promenade.

1991

Enjoying another fun night of bones...

Patrick’s “God” hand

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1991

Patrick’s “God” hand

Enjoying another fun night of bones in the Spring of ’91 with Mark Gaither ’90 (right) and Patrick LaCicero ’92 (left). Finally, Pat has the “God” hand and plans his execution, only interrupted by female domino groupies drawn in by the gravity of the situation. Pat was their mascot. What is the “God” hand in 42, you ask? Bidding 41 and making it EXACTLY by walking the 1-blank on the last play. Patrick didn’t complete the feat that night but he entertained us with every hand played. Even the stuffed white-tailed buck just above us was impressed.

Tragically, we lost Pat last year. He was an amazing father, husband, and friend. You are greatly missed my brother. The world just isn’t the same.

-Bruce Cherniak ’87

1976

I bought my first legal beer there in '76...

From patron to employee

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1976

From patron to employee

I bought my first legal beer there in ’76, when you just had to be 18. Worked for Don & Donnie summer/fall of ’79, when all the beer was iced down longnecks. 50¢ for most beer, Lone Star was 35¢. Wine coolers 60¢.

To his daughters: He used to have an office upstairs with a cute picture of you two with makeup all over your faces. He would use that to warn us about stealing and said: “When you steal from me, you steal from them”.

1989

A story about Don

The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head…

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1989

The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head…

This story had less to do with the Chicken and more to do with Don but here it is. That year had been dry. Don owned a little place kind of west of town over by the power plant. His cows had gotten out and were running on a much larger place. Don knew this but he did not have any grass so he just left them there. Finally the guy that either owned or leased the other place politely told Don that he was going to take those cows to the sale and where did he need to send the check….LOL. So late one afternoon we had to go out there and find his cows, drive them back to his place, and fix the fence. Now we had never seen his cows and we had never been on the other place which was quite large. Well against all odds we managed to find his cows and get them back. That only left fixing the fence before we could call it a day. There were 4 of us but only Nathan and myself had ever built fence. We were stretching the top wire when Don decided to intervene. He said we had not stretched it enough. We told him nope it is plenty tight. He disagreed as only Don could so we made it tighter and tighter. Finally when you could play music on it he was satisfied. Nathan and I were both concerned that that sucker could pop at any moment so Don grabbed a hammer and a fence staple and started pounding that sucker in. He had one misfire and that was enough. The wire popped and a barb went right across the top of his bald head. It may have bled a little. After that he left the fence building to Nathan and myself.

2015

Celebrated with Tijuana fries

Married at the Chicken…

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Wedding at the Dixie Chicken

2015

Married at the Chicken…

Of the numerous Chicken stories that we have, our favorite, by far was the day we eloped at the Chicken.
On December 12th, 2015 my fiancé Shell and I had planned to elope under the Century Tree with a few of our closest friends. Mother Nature had other plans. It rained over 7 inches that day.
Since our plan was to head to the Chicken for the reception anyway, we decided to call the manager and ask if we could do the ceremony there also. Because there was only 6 of us they said that wasn’t a problem. The staff cheered as we walked in. We ordered a couple of pitchers and proceeded to the back of the room where we were blissfully wed. After that we celebrated with burgers, Tijuana fries, and pitchers of Shiner. It was the best day in our absolute favorite bar. Whoop! Thanks and gig ’em!

2016

So many memories...

From first beer to saying goodbye

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2016

From first beer to saying goodbye

I have had tons of memories at The Chicken, from my first beer to writing my final paper as a student. The one that tops all of them was my impromptu graduation party. I invited about 10 of my closest friends to gather at The Chicken for a night to drink, have fun, and say “goodbye” to being a student. I had the pleasure of having a very eclectic friend group during my time at Texas A&M, because of this, most of the people didn’t even know each other! That night we laughed, drank, and reminisced about my time at Texas A&M, the memories we made together, and what the future may hold. I realized how lucky I was to have friends like mine and a very special place like the Chicken to celebrate at. The next morning, I had to be in Houston by 9 am to work a Texans game. I was completely exhausted but it was well worth it. To be able to say good bye to the friends and university I loved at my favorite place was absolutely unforgettable. Between my mother, my friend who’s a photographer, and myself, we wound up with 0 pictures of the night. In a way, this makes me smile because no one was on their phones. For a few hours, we merry band of misfits lived in the moment, a moment that will never be forgotten.
Thanks and Gig’em,
Jordyn Smith ’16