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.

1977

World's First

Death Burger Championship

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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.

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.

1979

We have been happily married for 40 years now, and it all started at the Dixie Chicken!

JOHN + DANA

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1979

JOHN + DANA

Our love story began at the Dixie Chicken back in 1979! I had been standing in line that day to register for summer classes
(we didn’t have computers) and saw this gorgeous man in front of me. We were standing in the “S” line and he had “JOHN” on his belt. He was talking to another student so I wasn’t able introduce myself. I went home and told my roommate and best friend about John S. That night we all went to the Chicken as usual. When we walked in, a guy named Steve motioned for us to come over and join them because he really liked my roommate. When we sat down, THERE WAS JOHN S!!! We played 42, drank a few rounds, and became instant friends. We went dancing at Lakeview the next night and had a great summer together. Friendship grew quickly into love and he proposed in November of that year. We were married the next summer. Fast forward to 2009. My future daughter-in-law goes to A&M to take skiing lessons at Mount Aggie. She and her friend go to the Dixie Chicken. They see a bench that has been carved with “JOHN + DANA”. She asks if this is us. I never knew about it, but John confirms that he had done it that summer we met. It was still there after 30 years!! Last time we went there, our bench had been moved by the snake pit. We have been happily married for 40 years now, and it all started at the Dixie Chicken!

– Dana Smith Swanson

1986

I noticed him immediately...

I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene

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1986

I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene

I walked in with friends in January 1986. He already knew my friends, and I was new to the Dixie Chicken scene 🙂 He was playing 42 at a table with his friends. I noticed him immediately, especially his long hair in the back LOL~ There was some chemistry and I asked him to a sorority dance. He turned me down because I had just broken up with a boyfriend and needed a date! He then asked me to a basketball game in Austin, and I turned him down because I legitimately had a fever. To this day he doesn’t believe I was sick.

Three months later, we ran into to each other in summer school, and we have been together ever since. We married February of 1989, and we have three Aggie children: two graduates and a current sophomore. We recently went back there to hang out (well we do that a lot because now we own a house 10 minutes from the Dixie Chicken) the day before our 30th wedding anniversary, and he stood up and asked a stranger to record us. He popped the question again for another 30 years!

P.S. We recently sat at the Chicken and re-learned how to play 42 on our phones before we pulled out the dominos to actually play again.

Mary Ewing Miller ’87
Kyle Miller ’85

2016

He's not an Aggie, but...

It’s where I met my fiance

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2016

It’s where I met my fiance

I am a recent Aggie grad and The Chicken is one of my favorite memories. Mainly because that’s where I met my fiancé. We met in June of 2016 and we are getting married in April 2018. We’ve had great times there ever since and always talk about going back to visit for some cold beer and cheese fries. Unfortunately, he’s not an Aggie but, thanks to me and his time visiting me in college, he has great things to say about Aggieland, especially The Dixie Chicken. The night we met is my all time favorite memory of college and I owe it you guys for making The Chicken such a fun atmosphere.

Claire Williams, ’17 and Kyle Dalton

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

1997

9 April 1997: the 10th anniversary of the day I got my ring.

A little white lie and a ring dunk

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1997

A little white lie and a ring dunk

As I did not get the opportunity to celebrate the day, I made the executive decision to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the day. An honest school teacher, I lied to my then department chair (he went to that other school in Austin and I knew he would not understand) that my sister (’94) was sick and I would be missing two days of school during the last week of the six weeks because I needed to go see her, I drove 8 hours through rain and hail to meet her, I dunked my ring in style, I drove 8 hours home the next day, and taught my classes the following day with a smile. To this day, when my head hits the pillow, I do not have any trouble falling asleep! WHOOP!

My sister Betsy ‘94 (left) and me celebrating the above mentioned 10th anniversary of my ring day.

-SG Cranford ’88

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.

2016

My grandfather is my best friend...

From the Navy to TAMU

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2016

From the Navy to TAMU

Got a story for yah, Ags!…

It was the scenic route that took me to the only place I would want to transition from the military to civilian life at. My grandfather is my best friend and FTA class of 1945. I have been attached to him at the hip since I can remember. Whether it was at home, tending to the cattle and fences on the ranch, or one of his various project construction sites…he had an Aggie tale for me. My favorite probably being how he lost (and retrieved) his Aggie Ring by way of a pregnant cow in his veterinary days.

After a lifetime of these tales from my best friend/grandfather, I knew that if I was going to turn the page on a chapter as special to me as my 5 years in the US Navy was, it could only be because nearly 70 years after he left campus, I would be going to campus. He left FROM campus to go off to WWII and I came TO campus from OEF.

Now, school was never my strong suit, no matter how many times I “studied” all night at The Chicken; but due to my loyalty to Texas A&M and my grandfather, I was determined to graduate. Finally, in August of last year, graduation arrived. My sister came all the way in from Paris (not France) and my brother came in from Miami, FL to celebrate.

With the memories of decades carved in the very fiber of this place, I thought it only fitting that we celebrate at the Chicken to share with them some of my own Aggie tales I had gathered over “4 years and some change”, and reminisce of the stories our grandfather told us of this town that planted the special love of Aggieland within our hearts at a young age. Here’s to many more nights throughout many more decades…at The Chicken.

My grandfather couldn’t make it in town for graduation due to physical limitations at age 94 but I still wanted to include a photo of he and I at my little graduation lunch with just my grandparents and I in my hometown of Clarksville, TX. (He’s not wearing his ring because it was stolen about 10 years ago in a break-in at their house…but I swear he’s an Ag haha)

John Kelty ’16

PICTURED:
(Me, sister Laura, brother Brent)
(grandfather James F Kelty, Me)

2014

42, it's the answer to life...

My tenure at A&M was the best four consecutive years of my life

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2014

My tenure at A&M was the best four consecutive years of my life

42. It’s the answer to life, coincidentally, it was the game of my life at the Chicken. I shot pool a lot as well, but most of my faded memories involve playing Bones. With my fish buddies, with old friends and new, it was a staple. I actually learned how to play at the tables in front of McInnis. It was practically a requirement to play if you did bonfire. I remember going to the Chicken almost weekly one year.

It was either sophomore or junior year… I can’t remember which because it all blends together. But I remember. I guess it was junior year, as beer is in many of those blurs. But I remember. The clacking of the dominoes hitting each other as someone dropped down the box onto a table. When someone was washing, I was watching for the one with the little nick on the corner? It was a good one. The laughs that ensued as we played. Follow me. Trying to improvise signs with my partner. It was never successful. Slamming down my last piece signaling I wouldn’t be the bitch in a box as we closed down.

Stories were always shared over a game of bones with a side of beer. Deep conversations were had. Philosophical discussions. Obnoxious arguments. Dumb jokes. Slightly drunkenness and a sad attempt to play but not remembering all the rules and bullshitting my way through a round? Yeah. My tenure at A&M was the best four consecutive years of my life. The Chicken certainly deserves some credit for that.

-Victoria Hernandez c/o 2014

2000

Football, the Chicken, then a ring...

A Dixie Chicken Proposal!

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2000

A Dixie Chicken Proposal!

On the night of the Texas Tech game in 2000, I brought my boyfriend, Paul Hones, to my favorite bar, the Dixie Chicken. Standing near where the two sides come together, he proposed. An Aggie girls dream!

– Cindy Dobbs Hons, Class of 1983.