The first time I ever drank was my 21st birthday, please hold the Captain America and Boy Scout jokes until later in the comments, and the first place was Jake’s Roadhouse. If that were the only thing I’d ever experienced at Jake’s it would be enough for it to hold a special place in my heart, but that’s not all that happened there. On Dec. 11, 2009 I met my future wife at Jake’s Roadhouse. On August 4th, 2018 Jake’s Roadhouse closed for good. That leaves Purdue students with Where Else?, Brother’s, and Harry’s as far as on campus bars go. There is of course always the Neon Cactus but that’s only a Thursday bar and let’s not talk about going there over the weekend.
The writing was on the wall in a way with the acquisition and planned demolition of the Chauncey Village. There’s no clear plan for any of those businesses that are there and who will and will not survive the transition. Jake’s just took the plunge first and we will dearly miss it. So, with the end near I wanted to share some personal stories about Jake’s and give it a proper send-off. I just wish I could’ve gotten a free hot dog one more time.
December 17, 2006 was my 21st birthday. I worked at Fazoli’s at the time, another place at Chauncey that is no longer there, and a Christmas party/birthday party was planned. My brothers were in attendance and it was a great time. After the stroke of midnight we went to Jake’s first where I was treated to numerous strange shots and other alcoholic beverages. Hardly any of them tasted any good. Regardless, I’ll never forget those first drinks.
December 11, 2009 was the day before Purdue was set to play at Alabama in a non-conference basketball game. The Paint Crew was going and I was to be among them. Some friends and I had just finished bowling and decided to head to Jake’s. As you do in college I texted some friends about meeting us out. Sure enough in a wild turn of events college students were ready to go out and drink at a moment’s notice. A friend of mine came and brought a friend of hers who would turn out to be my future wife. We met that night, flirted, and then began dating January 1, 2010. Just five months later we were engaged and married in 2012. Without Jake’s and that night who knows if we would have ever even met. Jake’s will always hold a special place in my heart for that moment alone.
March 22, 2010 and Purdue is set to face Texas A&M with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. We all know what happened in this season to put Purdue in a situation where a Sweet 16 trip was even a question so I won’t go into it. Some friends and I headed to Jake’s to watch the game with fellow Purdue fans. As the game headed to overtime I was enjoying some Jake’s breadsticks with cheese sauce and then Kramer made the game winning basket. I just remember jumping up and down in the upstairs portion of Jake’s and some other guy was doing the same thing in the aisle with me and we just decided to hug each other because...SPORTS! It was a great moment of Purdue camaraderie and it all happened because of Jake’s.
Those are just a sampling of some of my favorite nights at Jake’s. I’ll miss the summertime specials of double wells for just $2.50. I’ll miss the Pizza King pizza. I’ll miss the jukebox that always seemed to play ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and the free hot dogs and popcorn, as long as you said ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ of course. I’ll miss the relaxing atmosphere. I’ll miss trivia night. I’ll miss watching Purdue sports amongst a great group of people regardless of if I knew them or not. As Purdue’s campus moves forward and builds whatever it is they intend to build there I hope that the student experience is considered. Not everyone drinks, and that’s fine, but there need to be more meeting places on campus that aren’t chains to grab some food, watch a game, and have a drink if you’d like. I love Purdue’s campus, but there is certainly work that can be done to make it a better and more distinct place. Let’s hope these changes are moves in the right direction.