College Station’s Notorious Northgate

Last Friday, I made my first visit to the infamous Northgate.

If you don’t know, Northgate is the place where the students of Texas A&M ‘hang out’.

Located just north of the campus, it is a strip of bars, bars and more bars. Oh, and the odd chicken shop.

Essentially it is a place that if I was still a student, I would probably never leave.

And by the looks of it, many people don’t. It is pretty much busy all day long.

Anyway, I had visited as I’d been invited along to watch the USA Men’s soccer team take on Costa Rica in an important World Cup qualifier.

Even though I am English, I was more than happy to get behind ‘The Stars and Stripes’ and hopefully cheer them onto victory.

After ten minutes, that was looking increasingly unlikely as they were already 2-0 down. I was starting to think that maybe I was a jinx. Especially as they had won their last twelve games in a row… They ended losing the game 3-1. Sorry chaps.

Across the pond, we of course have our own version of student nightlife. This could not be more different.

In the UK, if you visited any town center after 9pm you would witness complete carnage.

Police swarm the streets as fighting and anti-social behaviour takes place in every direction. Our legal drinking age is 18 so that certainly contributes to the mayhem. Not that I’d want to wait till I’m 21 to start drinking though. Not that many people over here do. I was in Northgate for just one night and you could tell an under-age drinker a mile off. Let’s just say it’s certainly handy if you’ve got a friend that’s over 21, or you know a man that can produce a Hawaiian McLovin-esque ID.

It seems a lot more civil. People are out for a genuinely good time. However, I must admit, I was getting a little nostalgic for witnessing an old fashioned English punch up in the street.

I did see some things that surprised me. When I first arrived, about 60 people dressed in what I can only describe as ‘cowboy gear’ walked straight past me. At that point, I hadn’t started drinking yet.. although it felt as if I was tripping. Please bear in mind that I’ve never seen a cowboy in real life before. Let alone 60 in one serving.

Likewise, whilst visiting ‘Dixie Chicken’, I was completely in awe. This was Texas. This was a place that typified how this state is portrayed in films and TV shows all around the world. It was like a set from a spaghetti western movie. From the swinging doors to people playing dominoes on the tables, this place was like nothing I’d ever experienced. My imagination ran wild, I was expecting Clint Eastwood to pop round the corner at any moment.

Unfortunately, he did not. Maybe next time?

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