Dixie Chicken is one of the best loved traditions in College Station. For four decades, hanging out with friends in this watering hole has been an integral part of college life for the Aggies of Texas A&M, and if they claim that this bar is nationally known, they would probably not be exaggerating. Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, two of the most popular country singers in the United States, are no strangers to this dive. In April of 2006, Dixie Chicken was named college bar of the month in 2006, and in 2013 Complex named it the best college campus bar.
Traditions within “The Chicken”
There is much to remember about Dixie Chicken – aside from its claim that on a per square foot basis, more beer is served in its premises than any other bar in the United States. To experience the essence of a place that patrons fondly call “The Chicken”, you have to walk through Bottle Cap Alley (an alley literally paved with bottle caps) and the dining area’s sticky floors. You also need to eat at one of the graffiti-covered wooden tables and try an intriguing item in the menu called “The Stuff” – a rather thick spread made of meat, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and gravy. Once you get into the spirit of things, however, you will realize that the people in Dixie Chicken know exactly what it takes to make beer taste better.
After you’ve had your fill of artery-clogging, but supremely good chicken wings and fried jalapeÅˆos, you have to go to the bar’s back porch – the place where one of the most colorful customs in College Station is observed. This part of Dixie Chicken is where any Texas A&M Aggie worth his salt bows to tradition: The Aggie Dunk. The Aggie takes his or her hard earned college ring, dunks it in a 32 ounce mug of beer, chugs the beer down, and hopefully manages a ring-between-the-teeth end to the exercise.
This ring dunking ritual in Dixie Chicken is a tradition as important to Texas A&M Aggies as Ring Day. It is as faithfully observed as the practice of standing up throughout a football game to signify willingness to be the team’s 12th man if necessary. For forty years, the Dixie Chicken ring dunk has shown that the establishment understands the place of tradition in Texas A&M, a campus where it is still considered rude not to open doors for women or greet strangers with a friendly “Howdy!”
Dixie Chicken’s 40th Anniversary
Dixie Chicken first opened its doors to the public 40 years ago, but it has retained the same cozy ambiance, the same down home menu, and the same old-fashioned sense of fun that has made it a favorite Texas A&M watering hole. It will celebrate its anniversary with live music from Roger Creager, Clayton Gardner, Pat Ryan, and a host of other performers. Loyal customers are expected to flock to the occasion, and those who have been away for a while will probably want to hit the pool tables or play dominoes – just for old times’ sake. Most of all, the Aggies of Texas A&M will spend time reminiscing, content in the knowledge that in Dixie Chicken the camaraderie of the good old days has managed to survive.