Longball & Amieable's Cougar Gameday Experience

Longball & Amieable's Cougar Gameday Experience

WSU Football Blog

Longball & Amieable's Cougar Gameday Experience

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Greetings Cougar Nation!

This post is coming to you all a bit late, but as promised long ago Amieable and I have a comprehensive report on the Cougar game-day experience. For the last Cougar home game of this forgettable season, we hope the brave few who make the trek to Martin Stadium will find a way to enjoy your stay, and for the rest of you we hope to remind you there are so many more reasons to come to Pullman then just the game!

Amieable and I celebrated the Homecoming weekend with a whirlwind tour of all the Cougar gameday goodies we could pack into our day. We graded each stop along the way, with a scientific and objective scale in line with the strictest standards of academia……We’ll also provide our comments and impressions, so those of you planning your next trip to Pullman can make an informed decision about the best way to spend those few precious hours. For those of you far away we can only hope that this vicarious journey provides you some hint of the incomparable comforts of home. Let’s begin…

I was awakened early Saturday morning, as I am on all Cougar Football Saturdays, by the thundering cadence of drums as the Cougar Marching Band played their wake-up call to the entire campus. There is no better alarm clock in the world, and it’s my signal to get up and turn on Gameday for the morning flag check. Amieable and I set out just before 11am, determined to stop at all four campus bars, the field house, Ferdinand’s, and the tailgates before the 2:00 kickoff. It was a perfect Fall day, cold, crisp and clear, the very best football weather that Pullman has to offer. The temperature had sunk into the teens the previous night and as we passed Reaney Park icicles still clung to the picnic benches. We climbed the Hill, shedding our warm clothes along the way, and approached the first stop on our gameday tour… Stubblefield’s.

 

Stubblefield’s is located in the old Adam’s Mall and for those of you from the old school it was formerly Shakers. If you are from the very old school, it was the Golden Goose.  Shakers was one of the classic haunts of my college years, but I do not mourn its demise, mostly because Stubblefields is better. Both floors have been totally renovated, but rest assured, the dancing cages are still in the basement. Here are our thoughts…

Stubblefield’s – Longball’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere – A
  • Drinks – B
  • Food – B+
  • Prices – B
  • Family Friendly – B+
  • Co-ed watching – C+
  • Overall Grade – A-

Comments – I like Stubblefield’s a lot. The renovation did wonders, filling the space with old wood and giving it a great taverny feel. Beer snobs beware, there are few beers on tap and there aren’t many price specials worth getting excited about. However, Amieable and I had bloody marries with a very generous pour for just 4$ each. We didn’t eat here, but the menu looked intriguing, including black and tan battered onion rings… hmm, yum? While you can’t bring your kids here, it gets decent marks for family friendly because you could bring gramps and granny without too much worry. Remember, we were here at 11am, so you can be sure this grade drops precipitously in the evening. One grade that undoubtedly goes up in the evening is the Co-ed watching. When we arrived it was almost exclusively a sausage fest, but still gets a C+ because Amieable was there.

Stubblefield’s – Amieable’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere: B
  • Drinks: B
  • Food: B
  • Prices: C
  • Family Friendly: B
  • Co-ed watching: C
  • Overall Grade: B

Amieable’s Comments – Wait a minute. My presence only brought up the grade to a C+? Knowing that, I should have thrown that very strong drink in my boyfriend’s face. I went to Stubblefield’s with really low expectations since no one I know who comes back to Pullman goes there. But I do know the students go there frequently, and I’d heard of the cages so I expected a total drunken hooker fest. Boy was I relieved (and yet disappointed) because Stubblefield’s a totally legit sports bar. The interior is all wood, which gives some character to a new bar. There are plenty of televisions and at least early in the morning, the crowd was chill. The beer selection was pretty sparse but they do have a full bar and as you can see by my photo, the drinks were strong. I took a nice early morning gulp, expecting tomato juice and got mostly vodka. The food selection looked interesting but I was not allowed to eat anything because I was supposed to “save myself” for the Ferdinand’s nachos and we were in a hurry. We got drunk for $4 each. Success.

Next stop, Valhalla!

Valhalla is a basement cavern just up the hill from the Coug. It was beer:30 for Amieable and I so we descended the steps and ordered Mac and Jack’s. It was here that we encountered our first Sun Devil fans, and before we knew it we had made some new friends. I respect almost any visiting fan who comes to Pullman from afar to support their team and pump a few greenbacks into the local economy. As it turns out, this particular fan was particularly devoted to following his team and Martin Stadium was the last Pac-10 house he had yet to visit. Of course, we had to get his thoughts on the best stadiums and as I remember he really liked Autzen for it’s stadium and the Rose Bowl for its tailgate scene on the golf course. I wish I could have found him after the game to get his thoughts on Martin, but I have little doubt it’s his new favorite. Right?

Now on to the Grades!

Valhalla – Longball’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere – B+
  • Drinks – A-
  • Food – B+
  • Prices – B
  • Family Friendly – B
  • Co-ed watching – C+
  • Overall Grade – B+

Comments – Valhalla is a great pre-game destination. It is a dungeon, and the atmosphere is fairly vanilla, but there are lots of TVs for viewing the day’s other games and we easily got a seat. The service was very friendly and they have a pretty good beer selection. Again we looked at the menu and lo-and-behold, their specialty is wings. Who doesn’t love wings? You have to be 21 and over here, but we found it to be granny and gramps approved, at least pre-game. The co-eds? Once again, Amieable was single handedly improving the scenery.

Valhalla – Amieable’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere: C
  • Drinks: C
  • Food: B
  • Prices: B
  • Family Friendly: C
  • Co-ed watching: B
  • Overall Grade: C

Amieable’s Comments – Eh. I feel like Valhalla has an identity problem. You walk down a long staircase and you expect a dance club with some style or a theme but it’s a concrete dungeon down there. They have a few televisions but they are really too small to be a sports bar. They do have a large menu and the food looks interesting. It wasn’t too trashy so you could take parents there, but it gets a lower grade because in my opinion moms and grandmas don’t like it when they can’t see the outdoors. Maybe it’s the fear of being left alone in the cave with the kids.

Hot tip: pre-game in front of the Coug there is one of those little fresh doughnut stands like at Pike Place. $3 cash. It’s gone post-game.

About two hours before kickoff the band announces the arrival of the team and they snake their way through the crowd in the field house. Everyone gets a chance to high five the coaches and players and shout a few words of encouragement. We love it. Other attractions in the field house are food stands, beer and wine, Coug merchandise, TVs showing other games and a playland for kids outside on the track. About 45 minutes before kickoff the band returns and blasts a few select tunes to get everyone fired up. Here’s our grades for this classic Cougar tradition…

Field House – Longball’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere – A
  • Drinks – C
  • Food – B+
  • Prices – B
  • Family Friendly – A
  • Co-ed watching – B
  • Overall Grade – B++

Comments – We almost always make time for the field house on game day. I think the cavernous old building alone creates a great atmosphere that can’t be matched by more contemporary facilities like the indoor practice facility at Oregon. When the band fills the old barn with drums and brass it’s just awesome. This is not the place to booze it up, as the drinks are cash only and distributed on a ticket system that just isn’t convenient if you are really interested in tying one on. There are TV’s showing most of the big games around the country, but they don’t measure up to the flat screens you find at the other campus bars. This is where Bud Nemek broadcasts his pre-game from, so you can stand right there and watch the show live. Also, you can’t beat the wall-to-wall sea of crimson.

Field House – Amieable’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere: A
  • Drinks: C
  • Food: C
  • Prices: C
  • Family Friendly: A
  • Co-ed watching: C
  • Overall Grade: B+

Amieable’s Comments – I ran all the way down that hill between Valhalla and the field house trying to get to the Cougar walk in time. I was drunk and am lucky I didn’t slip on all the fallen leaves and break my crown while tumbling all the way down. There is probably nothing I can tell you about the field house that you don’t already know. It’s a great atmosphere especially when the band and team come through, but that only takes a few minutes. There is usually only one good beer and the food is pedestrian and mostly way overpriced (don’t get sucked into the “Fireside” food). It’s super family-friendly though as everyone can get a seat, kids can run around a little bit and sports fans can go to the back and keep an eye on all the games.

After the field house, Amieble and I picked up Papa Longball and headed to the newly remodeled CUB and its new restaurant/bar, Dupus Boomers. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones with this great idea and with about an hour to go before game time we were in no mood to stand in line.

Like a Marshall Lobbestael throw deep down the field, we have to give it an “incomplete” since we didn’t get in, but we have been here before on non-gamedays and here are our thoughts:

Longball: the location is awesome, with a view of the stadium and Roger’s field. Good beer selection plus liquor. A little pricier than other campus options, but not bad. When eating stick to the burgers and fries.

Amieable’s Comments: Dupus Boomers kind of pisses me off. First of all, what kind of name is “Dupus Boomers”? It’s such an irritating name that we refuse to call it that and instead call it “Dumpy Bloomers.” If Valhalla has an identity problem, Dumpy Bloomers has a spirit problem (which in my book is worse). They are trying for a theme but it feels really sterile and forced. They put the waitresses in Hooters-style tank tops and t-shirts (the only coeds you’ll see there, by the way), and they have one of those spinny wheels where you spin for deals. They are trying to be cool but it’s not clicking. To be fair the location and view are awesome, and they have the best beer list on campus and lots of televisions. It’s family friendly and the best place to take parents/grandparents/non sports fans for a sit-down gig. The food is okay but I’d stick with the pub fare and stay away from the entrees (we’ve had a lame curry, lame spinach salad, and a lame po’boy sandwich). You can get better fries at the fish stand (The Sea Swiper) right outside around the corner. The really lame thing about Dumpy Bloomers is that it’s really crowded and they won’t let anyone stand in the bar. So you can’t swing by for a beer after shopping at the Bookie. I stood there staring at tons of empty bar space for me to get a good beer but the ditzy host in a tight shirt just blankly kept telling me they can’t let me stand there.

After being defeated by the line to get into Dumpy Bloomers, we dusted ourselves off and made our way for the creamy deliciousness that is… Ferdinand’s. We had recently seen a new offering by Ferdinand’s, nachos with their crimson fire cheese. Also, they had advertised a special Dennis Erickson Sundae, available one time only on homecoming, and like the fickle old ball coach, here today, gone tomorrow. We had to have one!

Boy were we embarrassed to learn that it was all a big joke and there was no Erickson Sundae after all. At a time like this what can you do, but order some nachos and whatever kind of Sundae they do have. Mmmmmm, that feels better. Now, Ferdinand’s isn’t exactly a place you hang out, so we won’t bother grading it out in every category, but here are our thoughts and an overall grade…

Longball: Don’t get me wrong, I love Ferdinand’s. The ice cream, the cheese, it’s all good. However, on gameday, the lines alone are enough to keep me away and then to not have the Erickson Sunday? Also, the nachos were not anything special. Save room for ice cream and cheese curds! Every Coug fan should visit Ferdinand’s at least once a year, but on game day, it is not a necessity for me. Overall grade: B

Amieable’s Comments: Ice Cream? Good. Cheese? Good. Ferdinand’s is a must-go at least once a year, probably more if you have kids and a spot at the tailgate. The lines are annoying; they have a two line system and people are usually too cold, drunk, or stupid to figure it out (present company included). It’s family friendly to the extent that its ice cream and no bar fights, but there are a few things to consider. The lines, especially when outside, can make even adults crabby. There are very few places to sit with little ones and don’t even try to park there. I say it’s a great family place if you have a place to GO with your food, like at the tailgate or straight into the game. Ferdinand’s really disappointed me with the ice cream sundae embarrassment. Note to Ferds employees: lame Cougar spirit. At least MAKE UP some sundae and hell, charge more for it and make some extra money. Duh. Overall Grade: B

After our fill of creamy goodness it was time to head to the game. We witnessed a spirited effort, and had a close up view of Jared Karstetter’s great touchdown reception which happened almost in my lap (our intended receiver on the play was mugged, by the way). After the game we had two more locations to check off our list before calling it a day, The Coug and the tailgate. First up, the Coug

The Cougar Cottage – Longball’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere: A
  • Drinks: B
  • Food: B
  • Prices: B
  • Family Friendly: D
  • Co-ed watching: A
  • Overall Grade: B+

Longball’s Comments: The Coug is, well, the Coug. It is crowded as hell, very rowdy, nearly impossible to move or have a conversation, and… I LOVE IT. We all sang some Eddie Money and Papa Longball told us old stories about the Coug, like how back in the 1800’s during prohibition he and my mom drove there in his Edsel for a sock-hop and shared and egg-cream and then wrote their initials on the wall with one of those feather pens. Simply magical.

The Cougar Cottage – Amieable’s Grades:

  • Atmosphere: A
  • Drinks: A
  • Food: C
  • Prices: B
  • Family Friendly: D
  • Co-ed watching: A
  • Overall Grade: A, with caveats.

Amieable’s Comments: I am relatively new to Pullman and the Cougar spirit, but I know enough to know that the Cougar Cottage (I call it by the proper name to annoy Longball) is an institution. And respect it, we must. And taking people there who complain about the noise, the crowd and the cleanliness is not the way to respect the Coug. It’s not a family-friendly place, especially post-game. If you want to show it off to family, go pre-game. Post-game is a hilarious experience, but don’t take anyone who has claustrophobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. When we went it was packed with college kids singing “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money at the top of their lungs. I was thinking to myself “these kids weren’t even alive” when Eddie Money was popular (1986). Which made me depressed. Good thing they serve Georgetown brewery Manny’s Pale Ale. It was packed and unlike the snooty hooch at Dumpy Bloomers, the hot bouncer (who looks like Dwight Tardy) at the Coug will keep letting people in. It was so crowded I spilled beer on myself and accidentally felt up a stranger. Like I said, be careful who you take there and what time, but definitely check it out. PS: all the coeds on campus know it’s the place to be seen.

We finished the day at the tailgate where we commiserated with SeanHawk, Tad and the artist formerly known as “Rooster” amongst others. Since tailgating is all about who you tailgate with, we’ll just give this one an A.

Closing remarks: If all else fails and the Cougs lose, hopefully you’ll have someone to take you home at night and on the way to wherever home is, stop by Cougar Country. Fry sauce? Good.

Have a great weekend, and we hope to see you around Pullman for Senior Day.  GO COUGS!

 

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