The scars on the old wood floor tell the story of Hurricane Harry’s over the last 28 years. From broken beer bottles, boot scuffs and marks from some of Texas’ greatest musicians on the stage, every groove tells an individual tale that makes up College Station’s largest bar and dancehall.
Hurricane Harry’s celebrated 28 years of business on Feb. 14 with back-to-back sold-out performances from Parker McCollum. Established in 1992, the music venue has seen millions of country music fans and Aggies alike step onto the dance floor.
General manager Craig Lafleur said they’ve been seeing some of the same patrons since their doors initially opened.
“We’ve got one guy that has been coming here so long that people think he owns the place,” Lafleur said. “We’ve got regulars that have been here since ’92 that still come to dance and have a good time.”
Walking up the wooden stairs and through the wood-top bar areas, neon signs from the likes of Cross Canadian Ragweed and The Randy Rogers Band hang with pride, each facing the very stage that has seen hundreds of renowned performers through the years.
“Pat Green used to come here and play for $50 and a case of beer just to open up for someone,” Hurricane Harry’s owner Jack McGregor said. “Of course, things have changed since then.”
The business has seen employees come and go over the last 28 years. However, McGregor said their employees are the backbone of Hurricane Harry’s.
“We’ve had some of the best kids ever work here that went to A&M,” McGregor said. “From day one, there has been incredible kids come through here. We had a guy that was a bartender for us for over 20 years, and he started when he was just in college.”
Open three nights a week, Aggieland’s biggest dancehall has become a shared piece of the Aggie experience. Several proposals and marriages owe thanks to Harry’s for romances that initially began as a simple two-step in the venue.
“We get couples coming into town for gameday, calling and asking if they can come and take pictures while they’re here because this is where they met,” McGregor said. “They met here, and now they’re married with kids and whatnot. So, of course, that feels great.”
Although Hurricane Harry’s has been earmarked as a milestone in the careers of Texas country music artists like Wade Bowen and Stoney LaRue, McGregor said the venue had turned away famous mainstream country artists before they were stars.
“I turned away Blake Shelton before he was Blake Shelton,” McGregor said. “I turned down Miranda Lambert when she was 14. Her mom used to call me every week, begging me to let her daughter play in my bar.”
Even with the big names that roll into town to perform on their stage and the hundreds that line up at the door to two-step on their dance floor, Lafleur said the Hurricane Harry’s experience hasn’t changed much over the last 28 years. He doesn’t expect it to anytime soon.
“As you can tell from the inside we haven’t changed much,” Lafleur said. “You know what you get when you come to Harry’s, and really everyone comes here for the experience. What you see is what you get.”