The question has been asked of me many times over the years, “Blake, where do you most enjoy drinking beer?” well, short answer? With friends. Longer answer? Allow me to divulge. There are a couple notable locations in which I feel that the beer is colder, the atmosphere is warmer, and the laughter is more prevalent than anywhere else. Locations like the Dixie Chicken will certainly always have a special place in my heart. I cannot even fathom how many nights that I have spent in the old wooden building that was once a mexican food restaurant, and the original site of Loupots bookstore. The old musty smell, the holes worn in the floor from years of walking, dancing, and spilled beer are covered in license plates. The back porch on which many hand of 42 was won or lost. After receiving my Texas A&M class ring, the first place that I went was to the Dixie Chicken where my friends had saved a table and we drank pitchers of cold Shiner Bock beer. One of the most memorable days of my life. Also, the Chicken is where I went after walking the stage on graduation day. The Dixie Chicken on game day in Aggieland is a sight like no other. Ol’ Ags fill the bar and you can hear stories of how Texas A&M was back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I still try and venture through the swinging doors every time that I visit College Station. The Chicken is the one bar where if a lapse of time between visits ever occurred, the bartender would question me as to where I had been, and then pour my beer. It is also a bar that was so frequented by my friends every Sunday night, that we would walk in through the front doors, walk past the bar, to the kitchen, order our food and when we returned to the bar, our pitcher of cold Shiner was sitting there, ready. We never had to ask the bartender for it, or even mention what we wanted, she had it there for us. The same would go for the next few rounds, we would merely walk up to the bar, line or no line and she would begin to pour our beer.

Another location where the beer is always cold, is Gruene Hall. One thing these two old bars have in common is that neither of them possess liquor licenses. This means that you can get beer, or if you want to shake things up… beer. Both buildings lack air conditioning, the roofs leak in the rain, the pool tables are old and stained, but the character is unmatched. Gruene is a place like no where else in Texas. The oldest operating dancehall in the state, and home to live music most nights of the week. All of the greats have graced the tiny stage of Gruene, George (Jones, and Strait), Merle, Willie, Stevie, and so on. You can just feel the history embedded into the walls, or chicken wire as is the case in Gruene. If the Texas summer heat is too much with the hundreds of bodies swing dancing to Two Tons of Steel on a Tuesday night you can step out into the “backyard” and relax at a table under a tree while the breezes blow from the Gruene River.

However, anywhere, whether it is on the tailgate of a 4×4 truck parked on a caliche road in Bandera, Texas, around a BBQ pit sitting in the parking lot of Dallas Cowboy stadium tailgating before the Cotton Bowl, a corner booth of a quiet bar down on Lamar, or on the back porch of a high rise apartment in Houston, if the beer is cold, and good company is present, you can’t go wrong.

1 Comment

  1. That’s not just the best awsner. It’s the bestest answer!

    Comment by Tibbie September 18, 2011 @ 03:29
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