Showing posts with label bar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bar. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nightlife at Doux Chene Apartments

See those stairs leading up to the second level in the main office building? That's the focus today here. (Google Maps Picture)


I originally wrote this in August 2014 and the text below reflects that, as well as an email/addition I got from the owners at the time. In April 2015, however, all this would change when it was sold and was rebranded as "Flats on 12", which so far over a year and a half later (August 2016) looks like the typical game apartments have run in town, change the name, give a repaint, cheap remodel, jack up the rent. This also added a lighted sign on the front of the building and also changed the entrance to the former restaurant/nightclub area (I think it's supposed to be a clubhouse now). This is a bit disappointing because Doux Chene was famously the holdout in these sorts of shenanigans. And now back to our original post...

First off, this is not an apartments review site. Nor is the title supposed to be some sort of snarky joke. Most of the content here is long out of date. If you came via Google looking for information regarding the actual apartments as they stand today, move on. Or not. I could always use visitors here. So, Doux Chene Apartments (I think it's pronounced "doe shane", though I'm not entirely sure, and the translation is "sweet oak") is one of your typical run-down apartment complexes from the 1970s, except it's more than that.

First off, Doux Chene was designed to be trendy, trendy enough that they would actually advertise themselves as "country club apartment living", and trendy enough to be the first true mixed-use building in the City of College Station.

From circa 1974 to late 1970s, it was "Mansard House". Mansard House, despite being the upper level of an apartment complex on the edge of town (sure, why not?) was one of the really nice places in town. Live entertainment, seafood, lobster, lamb, and more were all on the menu.


This was the kind of apartment complex Doux Chene used to be, and apparently wasn't one of a kind...the Chateaux Dijon apartments, known for when George W. Bush lived there in the early 1970s, was also the same theme and layout, but unlike Doux Chene, managed to upkeep itself quite nicely.

By 1980, while Doux Chene was still successful, Mansard House had closed and was replaced with Studio 2818, an actual discotheque.

Source: personal collection


Later night clubs included Dallas: The Night Club...


...and finally, Scandals.


Most of these are sadly relatively undocumented, only whispers across forums and other sources, including stories of ladies' nights with male strippers, with men being let in after the women had several drinks. Perhaps it's better that some of the craziness that went on is better left unsaid (I'm sure there were many regrettable nights).

Doux Chene of course is also a rather unlucky apartment complex, such as a tornado in 2006 striking a building, necessitating its demolition, or the fact that the building caught fire some months later due to improper wiring (it's also worth noting that anytime I read about an apartment complex fire, it used to be that there was a good chance it was Doux Chene).

If there are any restaurants/clubs I missed, or you have any memories of them, please write in the comments.

Since writing this post, we (I) was contacted by a management representative of Doux Chene Apartments, whose name has been redacted for identity purposes.

"While your account of the history of the complex is mostly accurate, I take issue with the assertion that Doux Chene has not 'managed to upkeep itself.' While the property did fall into a state of disrepair in the late 80's to the early 90's, the current management has put a lot of effort (and money) into repairs and renovations and enhancements. While there is no hiding the fact that the property is 40 years old, it is in very good condition for a property of its age.

Doux Chene has indeed encountered more than its share of challenges.

A lightning strike destroyed 4 apartment units, severely damaged a dozen others. No injuries, a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

Severe hail required the replacement of nearly a dozen roofs, another quarter of a million dollars.

The tornado in 2006 actually destroyed two buildings, damaged several roofs, caused water damage in nearly 80 apartments, required replacement of over 160 central air conditioning systems. Total casualty loss, just over $4 million.

And then the small fire that happened shortly thereafter... The fire marshal initially indicated it was electrical, but upon further investigation it was found to be caused by a resident's cigarette butt rolling into a gap at the edge of his balcony.

Through all of this, we have been blessed in multiple ways. Firstly, there have been no injuries as a result of any of these incidences. Also, our insurance company has consistently paid in a timely fashion, and we have been fully made whole. We have also been given the reassurance, that no matter what we face, we will be able to come through it. I won't get all preachy here, but our faith in God has been strengthened through these difficulties.

Some ads were also sent as part of this, including Doux Chene hosting some wild parties (it's hard to imagine even the student-oriented apartments specifically hosting a keg party today)


As wild partying obviously upset the neighbors, a nearby apartment complex offered a shotgun as among the freebies you could get for signing a lease.


- 9/3/14



Friday, June 6, 2014

301 College Main

Imagine an old white stucco type building here.


Here it is...Rebel Draft House as it appeared in the mid-1990s (I have a color version but it's substantially more blurry). Anyway, as it appears here it was Second Chance Resale operated by the Salvation Army. Before that it was White Auto Parts, which closed sometime in the 1980s.

Of course, it doesn't look like that now. In the late 1990s, the city invested money in Northgate and tore down the old building and erected "Northgate Center" (Brazos CAD says 2002 as build date), with one of its earlier tenants being New York Sub (not sure on the spelling, nor if it was the same as the New York Subs in Southwest Crossing, though the time frame suggests that they were the same) in suite A. Well, that lasted a few years before it gave way to bars entirely (one bar actually).

I took this shot, which I pictured here in May 2014 looking east (from the other side of the building). While RBD has the distinction of serving me my first beer on Northgate (and that was only because I was on the right side of campus when that bomb threat happened in fall 2012), I don't care for it as it, like all the other bars, crank the music up so loud it's hard to hear anything (the bars probably had their best afternoon ever).

In 2011, this was Luckie's Ice House (and before that, "The Drink", apparently). Between the time as Luckie's and RBD, RBD didn't do much more than just throw the Luckie's sign away. I'm sure I'm missing other tenants, though.

Anyway, as for what it looks now from (roughly) the same angle, I took this picture in June 2014. Big change, huh? The Chase bank sign is just an ATM.


Updated October 2015 with fixed errors and links. Further update in March 2019 to account for new building.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Played Out

Taken June 2014.


Once a Planned Parenthood location a long time ago (likely something else, built in 1964), this is now a bar (Cedar Lane, another bar is in the back), but the focus is on PLAY Gaming Café, which was open around 2005 and advertised at Hastings (another now-defunct establishment). The College Main location was tucked out of sight from the main Northgate establishments, and related parking problems didn't help. From the comments, I have this quote from "downhillcrasher", "I remember Play pretty well, they had everything from the latest games to old school nintendo. Almost everything that is. What didn't they have? Cheap beer. And what do you need to make it in Northgate? Cheap beer." The archived website website sort of works, but almost nothing remains of it on the Wayback Machine save for a Flash intro video and a page of the forums (appropriately, from 2005).\

303 College Main

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Northgate: The Businesses of Boyett

This post will show some of the businesses of Boyett Road in detail, except, of course, the Blackwater Draw Brewing Company. The problem is that because of the way that tenants absorb each other and the spotty nature of the city directory, it's been exceedingly difficult to figure out what actually went where.

The current tenants in the here and now are the following:
103 - O'Bannon's Taphouse (an Irish-themed pub, if the name didn't give it away)
109 - Paddock Lane
113 - Tipsy Turtle

It's been difficult to find out buildings about this strip simply because they change addresses. For example, there was a Marine recruiters at 105 Boyett in the mid-1990s (likely absorbed into O'Bannon's), and even until the late 2000s there was "Pinky's New School Tattoos" at 113 Boyett. Here a few more ads for your viewing pleasure.

One of the countercultural "back to nature" stores inspired by the late Whole Earth Catalog, this ad is from 1985 and is still around in Houston, Austin, and other major cities...just not in BCS.

Almost a decade earlier, you could get a motorcycle there (University Cycling).

Such a way to respect the elderly. Tact, it's useful!


At 109 Boyett, there was a small café here in the 1980s.

Doesn't sound like a bad place, but I like eating outside when the weather's nice, which sadly doesn't happen very often.

Gizmo's Cafe & Bar: it's from an old copy of InSite Magazine, this is now the site of Paddock Lane. Gizmo's was not the first tenant here, but it's what I have information for.

Above Paddock Lane and Tipsy Turtle is some 1-bedroom apartments, located at 214 Patricia.

Other tenants I've picked up from city directories:
107 - Boyett Properties (this was actually an office)
113 - U.S. Marine Corps (recruiters have been around since at least from 1986 to 2005...and to back it up about the directories being spotty, it wasn't listed in the 2000 one--in 1995, this was the only one on the block). [EDIT 6-21-14: This was "BJ's Package Store" in 1980]
105 - The Cue (found in '96 directory)
103 - Hole in the Wall (2000 directory, I believe it was interconnected with Shadow Canyon)

By no means is the list complete! If I missed anything ("Ozone", "Vertigo" being among the not-here), please mention it in the comments!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before, During, and After Texadelphia


From Jennifer Cowley/University of Ohio (used with permission).


This is another one of the many articles here that involve a revolving door of tenants, with some interest paid that it went from being fairly run down (but at least useful) to fairly run down again. The point of this story focuses on the single most important tenant that was ever in this spot, even if didn't last very long at all.

For what it's worth, I did manage to go to the Texadelphia in Rice Village twice in the late 2000s and from what I remember, it had its own brand of cheesesteaks (not just roast beef and cheese, it was steak) and served with chips and salsa, complete with a mustard-based sauce that would put Layne's to shame.

Going back in time, the Promenade was not there, only Patricia Street, which instead of dead-ending near Freebirds, continued all the way to Boyett. A small building contained a UtoteM convenience store and other stores by the late 1960s.

All of the buildings at the corner at Patricia and College Main dated back to the 1940s. The buildings included 201 College Main was home to the (by 1995, at least, though it hadn't departed that long ago) former Northgate Athletic Club (though it had been Kinko's for many years, dating back to at least 1980, FabricCare Cleaners before that, which was another laundry establishment, "A&M Laundry & Dry Cleaning"). Also, in the 1970s briefly, it was also the home of Victor Caudillo's "Victor's Boot & Shoe Repair", but because I don't have any resources prior to 1980 (that's a drive to Bryan).

About the same perspective in that Texadelphia / Logans' post as well.


The other two buildings (317-319 Patricia) were eventually combined into one building, the tenant being Chicken Basket by the late 1990s, a fried chicken (and ice cream, looks like) outlet owned by the Sopasakis (as my research on 301 Patricia showed), was owned by George Sopasakis as well and was not given compensation for relocation. No wonder the Sopasakis disliked the city so much.

If this was still around when I was in college, this would've definitely been a lunch option for me.

317 Patricia was originally A&M General Life Insurance Company back in '62, McLaughlin's of Corpus Christi in 1975 (hair salon) and 319 Patricia was home to "Custom House" in 1973 (a women's clothing & gift shop, inc. jewelry and macrame) and Pizza Express in 1983 (pizza in Northgate was plentiful in the 1980s). The buildings may have been combined as early as 1984, as 317 Patricia was Emilio's Pizza, which documents listed as being in the same spot as Pizza Express, even though they had different addresses.

Of course, the existence of the restaurant was always a source of controversy, as the short version is they bought some property from an elderly couple for far less than it was worth and sold to Texadelphia at a good profit.

For whatever reason, Texadelphia Sports & Sandwiches as it was then known, did not open in 1998 with the rest of the Northgate Promenade, instead opening in summer 2000. This was likely because of the renovations to the building. It looks like that the original 1940s buildings may still be partially intact...Loopnet said it was renovated in 2000, and a College Station document discussed "facade renovations" to 317-319 Patricia, and compounding this is the second arched area toward the back of Texadelphia, hiding the differences between the roof heights (on Google Maps you can see that this is indeed correct).

In 2003, facing a combination of problems, citing high rent and parking-related problems, Texadelphia owner Willie Madden abruptly decided to close, moving the store to The Woodlands area, as the Houston area was where the owner had more stores.

It became a bar ("Logan's On Campus", despite being a block north of the boundaries) soon after, saying goodbye to a rather neat restaurant designed to make Northgate trendier and instead, arguably, making it worse overall. Now, it could be also argued that College Station wanted to make Northgate into its own version of Austin's Sixth Street, and Logan's did have a sister bar in Austin...Logan's On Sixth.

In 2012 it was sued by a certain steakhouse chain--and then a week or so later the restaurant closed for reasons supposedly unrelated to the suite, but it never reopened.

I tried to make it the same angle, as this clearly shows I am not a professional photographer.

Here's a picture of what the building looks like now. Logan's has done some minor changes to the building, those trees grew up, and a stop sign has been placed abruptly in the shot because part of College Main was closed off and became a pedestrian mall (and they still placed a brand-new, full-sized stop sign there). Over the Christmas 2013 break, it changed its name to "Logie's On Campus", likely because of that same lawsuit. In the summer of 2018, Logie's filed plans with the city to renovate the exterior, which involves the removal of the awnings above the entrance that Texadelphia had built.

One more thing: the pictures from 1995 aren't very good. Better prints (but in black and white) can be seen at Project HOLD here (Chicken Basket is linked, navigate back to find 201 College Main).

This was originally two separate articles, one published in May 2013 and a second article created in September 2013 to further elaborate on it. In late 2015, these were combined back into the original post, which was almost completely rewritten, including upgrading links. In August 2018, this post was updated to account for the fact that Texadelphia has returned to the Houston area and that Logie's is renovating.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Campus Theater


A much, much, better version of this 1989 shot is found here. This version is from TexasEscapes.


217 University Drive

The Campus Theater opened in Northgate in 1940, on the corner of Boyett and University. It was the first theater in College Station, and ended up lasting a very long time. Done in an art deco style and with a single screen (it had a balcony and cry room, too!), it survived sometime into the mid to late 1980s as competition forced it out of business (or maybe the Schulmans, which owned and built it, closed it in '85, along with their theaters in downtown Bryan. Makes sense in the timeline). (Here is an awesome shot of the cinema not too long after opening, but I don't have permission to post it).

After the theater began to deteriorate, around 1995 it finally reopened as Shadow Canyon, which soon after gave it a dreadful makeover by covering over much of the building in wood to give it a country-western theme, and that's been the type of tenant of it's been ever since. Shadow Canyon did well initially, but within a decade, they were out, after they started charging a cover and used gimmicks like wet t-shirt contests to gain attendance. Next up was Midnight Rodeo, which still has locations in San Antonio and Amarillo (an Austin location has closed since 2013). But the College Station location did not last nearly as long as Shadow Canyon, as it opened in early 2006 and closed by summer 2007. (There was another location in Katy Mills in Katy that closed about the same time, and was replaced with Circuit City, bet that went well for them). In 2008 (at least I think it was 2008), it became Daisy Dukes, owned by the Dallis brothers, which was a country-western dance hall. As you can see from a Panaramio picture below, it's obviously the same building, but horrible things have been done to it (sorry I lack a better picture).


Panoramio user rahulatiitd


So the building was clearly mauled, but it got worse. In spring 2013, Daisy Dukes took advantage of the upper level the original building had and opened rooftop seating right above the marquee, with seating and televisions. This was not only ugly but also raised the question if the circa 1940 roof clearly not designed to support tons of people would collapse one day (then again, these sorts of things were done with all sorts of redundancies). By November, it was renamed to Duke's, and by summer 2014 changed hands to The Tap's owners. Prior to this time, there was a lot of drama with the Dallis family including squatting in the Café Eccell building, DUI arrests, and the fact that a former manager of DD's (and an estranged brother, at least publicly) was arrested for something more major, and while initially The Tap talked about the space becoming "No Name Saloon" (which was just a temporary name and never actually on the marquee, the closest to that being when they were changing signs).

Their Twitter page actually "borrowed" the same Campus Theater page I had linked to (and I am absolutely sure they saw this page), but not only did they not restore the facade (not that I expected them to do so at all but the opportunity was there) it just remained a trashy dance hall, this time named Boulevard 217.

As a "parting shot", here's a from-the-back-seat picture I took of it on the night of October 30, 2014.

Horrible picture, I know, but it gets the point across



Editor's Note: This post was rewritten in 2015, but at the end of 2015, Boulevard 217 closed, and was replaced with Shiner Park, which opened for the fall 2016 semester.

* This was cited from a link from The Eagle (now dead), but the URL indicated it was the June 8 2007 issue, if that helps.