In the alley on Northgate between the Dry Bean and the Dixie Chicken in College Station, Texas, a time-honored Texas A&M tradition glistens in the sun. Bottle Cap Alley, a sea of old bottle tops stretching between two of Aggieland's most beloved watering holes, is a College Station rite of passage.
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How Bottle Cap Alley was born isn't quite clear. Some speculate that it began with the Dixie Chicken, a bar located conveniently across the street from the university. After a busy shift, the bar staff would simply dump the night's collection of bottle caps into the alley. The bar itself has a prominent place in Texas lore. Aggie alums Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen spent many a night in the dive. The singer-songwriters even performed on the back porch of the Dixie Chicken back when they were still living on tip jar money.
Over time, the sea of caps started to decrease. But faithful Aggies frequently bring in more caps to replenish the stock. It turns out that there's no shortage of bottle caps in a college town. Just this year, the Shiner Beer Company donated 380,000 bottle caps to the alley.
For 40 years, Aggies young and old have made the pilgrimage to Bottle Cap Alley to leave their donation. It's also a great place to snap a photo.
But the bottle caps of Bottle Cap Alley are more than a mere photo opportunity. For some Aggies, the caps are considered good luck. Rumor has it, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets wear the caps as spurs on their boots when A&M plays Southern Methodist University.
Whether you shout "Gig 'em" or "Hook 'em," Bottle Cap Alley is a must-see Texas oddity.