Older Cobbers bond over a well-established tradition
If you searched through the kitchen cupboards of many Concordia students, it is likely that you would find an array of colorful plastic mugs from Mick’s Office, a bar in downtown Moorhead.
Senior Ryan Modahl said he has gone to Mick’s about twice a month since school started in late August. Since then, he has found a form of comradery with the regulars who go to the bar.
“It’s the ‘Cheers,’ you know, it’s going someplace where everybody knows your name, you know everybody there,” Modahl said. “It’s festive, it’s energetic, friendly, open … I guess it’s like an extension of campus on Thursday nights.”
Concordia students who are 21 and older often spend Thursday nights at the bar because there is a discount on beer for everyone who brings or buys a Mick’s mug.
In fact, so many Concordia students go that nearly all of the patrons at Mick’s on any given Thursday night are Cobbers. This extended Cobber community, has created a place where unusual memories that typically would not happen at a bar can be shared.
Modahl has had many memorable nights at Mick’s. He has spent time with friends, priests and unfamiliar faces. He has practiced yoga, reconnected with old roommates and once, he was offered multiple slices of free pizza.
Despite the long standing tradition of Thursday Cobber nights at Mick’s, it is hard to pinpoint when it became one.However, in the past, Mick’s was not the original Concordia go to bar. According to Steve Schaefer, Concordia alumni and current senior associate director of International Admission at the college, Trader and Trapper Brew Pub was the favorite bar of Concordia students who graduated in 1988.
One of the managers at Mick’s Office, Melissa West, has worked in the hospitality business in Moorhead since 2001 and said Cobbers began frequenting the bar long before 2001.
Earlier this year, West then became part of the management team in July of 2015 and said Cobbers add to the atmosphere at Mick’s, especially on Thursday nights.
“Cobbers definitely have a unique sense of comradery,” West said in an email. “It’s exciting to watch the different generations of alumni that keep coming back year after year.”
Not every Cobber, however, was aware of Concordia’s extended family at Mick’s and were hesitant to go for the first time. Senior Sarah Swansen turned 21 in June and remembers her first Thursday at Mick’s. She said she was a little nervous about who she would see there, but was happy to see a big crowd of Concordia students having fun.
“It is kind of like our little community but in a totally different aspect,” Swansen said.
She continues to spend the occasional Thursday night at Mick’s. She said she enjoys talking with people while they throw darts or play pool.
“I’m not a big game player, mostly because I lose a lot,” Swansen said.
Mick’s homey atmosphere not only grew on Swansen, but it provided her with a place to become better friends with a few Cobbers by spending Thursdays at Mick’s — one of those friends being senior Whitney Balmer.
Balmer also found Mick’s to be a place to connect beyond the campus. She recently met Concordia student Gabriel Walker on a Thursday night at Mick’s and she enjoyed getting to know him.
“It was really fun because I knew of him on campus but it’s Concordia — you know faces but you don’t really necessarily know all the people,” Balmer said.
Attending Mick’s office on Thursday nights is not the only tradition that Cobbers have adopted. Many Concordia students have also left their mark on the bar’s tables, walls and ceiling tiles. Balmer is one of many Mick’s Office patrons who have left their name on one of the tables. Balmer scratched her name into two tables, just in case she forgets where one of them is.
Swansen and Modahl want to be remembered as members of the Mick’s community as well. Swansen said she will try to remember to bring a marker to Mick’s before she graduates so that she can leave her mark, and Modahl wants to buy a ceiling tile for him and his friends to sign. He’d also like to go on a Wednesday night sometime, just to mix things up.
“I heard they have good burgers,” Modahl said.
Micaela Gerhardt is a junior at Concordia College pursuing a degree in English Writing and Spanish Studies. Along with writing for The Concordian, she participates in SALSA (Student Association for Living and Studying Abroad) and works at the historic Fargo Theatre. She enjoys breakfast food, poetry, roadtrips, and a dry sense of humor.