When you think about Mississippi.. what are three adjectives that come to mind? Whatever you’re thinking, you’re probably right. But! As I embark on a mission to score a seat in every SEC stadium, Starkville, MS was next on the list. So without further adieu I’ll give you a few quick tips to help make the most of your time in the deep south.

For starters it is not easy to get to. We flew in to ATL and drove the rest of the way. Probably not the most cost or time effective route but it was a better option than Jackson, Birmingham, Huntsville and Tupelo. Or than the local Golden Triangle Airport. That should give you an idea of where Starkville is. I’m not sure i
t’s anywhere.
Talladega SuperspeedwaySince this was almost considered a road trip we made a few stops along I-20W. First stop was Talladega Superspeedway which you could spot from the highway. For $8 we took a 30 minute tour around the track among a couple friendly NASCAR enthusiasts. The place is unreal in size. The banks are unlike any in the sport. 33 degree inclines are not something you’d like to drive on in your Chevy Spark rental car. It made me really wish it were race day.

Moving on down the road is another SEC school campus in Tuscaloosa. We stopped at what we heard was the best happy hour spot on campus called the Innisfree Pub. For 4pm this place was packed. We asked the bartender if she had ever been to Starkville being that it is only an hour away and she said no. Just about everyone we talked to had this same sentiment. I guess when you’ve won 4 National Championships in 7 years there’s no need to venture elsewhere.

Right before arriving in Starkville we passed by a old dive restaurant on the side of a small highway in
Columbus, MS. A line was out the door to the Old Hickory Steakhouse. Since it was dinner time we decided to stop in for a meal. The line had to be over 30 people long yet the host said it’d be about 15 minutes. He was not wrong! The wait was actually a blessing in disguise as we got to chat with the locals in line and learn a little more about what there is to do in the Magnolia state.old-hickory-steak-house

For the price ($20), it was the best ribeye I’ve ever had. Everyone was raving about the steaks (which was the only dinner item to pick from) but I found the baked potato and garlic bread to be even better. The beer served in mason jars. A true gem of a dive in the deep south. If you’re coming from east of Starkville, you cannot miss this joint when you visit.

Nine hours in to our previously planned 4 hour drive, we finally made it!

Our first stop was the #1 place listed on Yelp. The Dark Horse Tavern. We went in with low expectations considering it shared a parking lot with the Red Roof Inn. We were still disappointed.

Moving on to Rick’s Café American there was a live band and plenty of folks enjoying the atmosphere. The locals say this is the best place to watch live music and they tend to have someone performing Thursdays-Sundays.
Little Dooey
Saturday morning we found a local BBQ joint called the Little Dooey. The place was packed which was a good sign. The food was really good, however, it was a little pricey. A standard entrée of your southern bbq will run you $18+ for lunch.

As Saturday afternoon came upon us it was time to find a good tailgate spot. Everyone said the Junction was where we needed to be. This area is very close to the stadium and well prepared to host thousands of Bulldog fans. Each tailgate spot had a pre-established tent, DirecTV hookup and tables. You’re just responsible for the food and booze. If you’re able to score a spot in here it is well worth the price of admission. Keep in mind there are not many places to park. The Junction is a field rather than a parking lot.

Davis Wade Stadium itself recently made some renovations and is what I would consider a normal college football venue. For the SEC, it is a little lackluster. The students thankfully are not delusional like most fan bases. They know they’re the red-headed step child of the SEC West but they don’t let it get to them.

The notable scenery is the abundance of men boasting their personalized cowbells tucked in the back side of IMG_8700their belt loops. Each has a different flair to it. Girlfriends marking their territory with their sorority stickers on the side. I realize now they put it upside down in their back belt loop so when they walk around campus the bell doesn’t ring like you’re walking in an out the door of the local flea market 24/7. Thank you for making the most annoying tradition in SEC a little more tolerable.

During the game there are so many of them in unison you can’t even tell it’s a cowbell ringing. Since they are artificial noisemakers they are not allowed to be utilized during game play. So before the play they ring them like crazy but have been trained to stop once the QB gets under center. I was quite impressed at their obedience to this rule.

Once the game is over you can take a 15 minute walk to University Blvd where the collection of 5-6 bars are. They are all based outside which is nice. My two favorites of the bunch were Bin 612 and Fountain Bar. We noticed that every student has their personal favorite and don’t tend to go bar hopping. It’s a college town so the beers were very cheap at any place. This area is where you should post up each evening for sure.

Davis Wade Stadium
That marks 11 of 14 stadiums off the list. Come join us on our next SEC stop at Missouri in September of 2017!

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