It is game day in Norman.
Whether its a beautiful fall afternoon, with green leaves turning red, or a cold winter day, with temperatures dropping into the teens, fans show up in force every time the Sooners take the field. While people pack into the stadium, hundreds more head to Campus Corner to watch the game and celebrate in one of the plethora of bars and restaurants the Norman hot spot has to offer.
Louies Grill & Bar, 301 W. Boyd, offers something for everyone. Separated into two distinct establishments, Louies offers a family atmosphere with a wide variety of food choices. Louies Too, directly to the west, offers a more adult-themed destination (its 21-to-enter), with a wide bar for the adult patrons.
For eight to 10 hours, we are constantly busy, said bartender Becke Quillin (pictured). For the first couple of seasons we were open, we were busy from open to close. Now, with the down economy and more bars opening on Campus Corner, it is not always as busy as it used to be.
Regardless of the lapse in business, Quillin said they still have to squeeze people in wherever they can find room an hour before and after the game as people gather to eat nachos, pizzas and burgers from the Louies kitchen. They dont offer any drink specials outside of the norm, but offer larger portions on game days. The beers in 16-ounce aluminum cans are some of the biggest draws for the game-day crowds.
We have about six girls on the floor, plus three bartenders on each side, Quillin said. We also have two beer carts outside on game days. We get a lot of families ordering food on one side and large group parties on the other drinking all day.
Just down the road from Louies is another game-day destination. Logans on the Corner, 796 Asp, caters mostly to the college crowd. Unlike Louies, the bartenders at Logans say they remain packed from open to close on game days.
Its nonstop all day long, said bartender Julian Mason. Night games are even bigger because we get the football crowd plus our regular night crowd. We also get an older age group on game days. A lot more people over 40 come in to watch the game.
Although Logans doesnt feature any drink specials on game days, Mason said the bar turns more sports-themed during the Sooners games.
We usually keep the music down and focus on football, he said.
Then during commercial breaks we play the OU anthem.
Mason said that Logans always picks up before and after the games, but there are times where they fill up during the game as well. During rain or blowouts, they normally pick up at halftime as people leave the stadium and look for somewhere dry to have some beers and watch the end of the game.
Its elbow-to-elbow. Everyone cheers just as hard as if they were at the game.
The stadium does not sell alcoholic beverages, so anyone wanting to imbibe will either need to head to the tailgating areas or one of the bars on Campus Corner. While OConnells Irish Pub & Grill used to be right next to the stadium for fans, they have since moved to Campus Corner.
The OConnells Campus Corner location, 769 Asp, opened in 2008 and offers 14 different tap beers, including specialty favorites such as Guinness, Blue Moon and Newcastle. With a family atmosphere and a full dinner menu, it remains a tour de force for game-day stops in Norman.
Fans will find Cheddar fries, cheeseburgers and nachos at OConnells, as well as cocktails with everything from Wild Turkey to Smirnoff for the discerning football fan. Meanwhile, large plasma screen televisions line all the walls, so fans never miss a minute of the game-day action.
Its elbow-to-elbow, said Phil Byrd, a bartender who has worked at both Logans and Louies on Campus Corner over the past few seasons. Everyone cheers just as hard as if they were at the game.
Photo by Mark Hancock