Although classes started only a few short weeks ago, California State University, Stanislaus students have already found the perfect places to hang out — some for relaxation and socialization, and others to get a jump on their studies.
Isabel Fregoso and Erika Avila could be found playing a friendly game of pool Thursday afternoon. The two CSU Stanislaus students had some time to kill between classes and chose to take advantage of the campus’ recently updated game room.
While the two friends, both from Merced, lined up shots, others were socializing at the many tables in the game room. While not in use on Thursday afternoon, the game room also features two gaming stations including X-Box Live, and Nintendo Wii. Tournaments are scheduled throughout the academic year for those hard-core gamers, with the first being a “Madden ‘13” Tournament at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17.
The game room was the perfect choice of hangout for Fregoso and Avila because it offered activities, but not the crowds of other places on campus.
Most of the time Fregoso likes to hang out at the Warrior Grill between and after classes. The Grill’s laid-back club vibe and constant activity make it the ideal hangout for Fregoso.
“There are always a lot of events going on there like karaoke night, and you just see everyone there. It’s always packed and full of energy,” the second year business and theatre student said.
The food’s not bad either. Fregoso recommends the spicy Buffalo chicken salad.
While Fregoso enjoys the excitement of the Warrior Grill, Avila prefers the quiet and studious atmosphere of the University Library.
“I need to study; the Grill is always packed and full of noise,” Avila said.
When not pounding the books in a private cubicle or group work room at the library, Avila goes to the computer science lab — which is also her major.
According to third year psychology student Taylor Hansen, the Quad is the place to be. Like most universities, the center of campus is gathering place.
“Around 12 p.m. students like to hang out in the Quad, there are games and things like that,” Hansen said.
In fact, every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Warriors on the Quad event offers free games and prizes for students. It is also the place where campus sororities, fraternities and clubs look to recruit new members and get the word out about upcoming events.
Coming soon, the Quad will be open to the public for the annual Stanfest Community Carnival. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 15 there will be food, games, prizes and magic. A concert will end the day’s festivities from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Pergola Meadows. Both events are open to students and the public.
Campus hangouts are not the only places students go to study or socialize.
Since 2009, when he first came to study at CSU Stanislaus, Reinier Macatangay has frequented local favorite, House of Java. The coffee house, which serves a full lunch menu and is attached to House of Yogurt, has two things Macatangay enjoys — fast and free Internet, and pretty good coffee.
The second year English graduate student, who currently lives in Modesto and hails from West Hills in Southern California, recommends the white blended mocha and carrot soup when visiting House of Java. But the food and Internet access aren’t the only things that draw him to the Geer Road eatery.
“A lot of students come here and it’s nice to sit here and see people you know,” he said.
Other off-campus favorites include Grizzly Rock Café and Grill, Red Brick Café and Dust Bowl Brewery.
Grizzly Rock, located at 4905 Golden State Blvd., is a family-oriented diner with bear-sized portions during the day. On weekends, the Grizzly Rock hosts a variety of bands.
“Most of the time local bands just want to come out and play for their friends,” said Grizzly Rock owner Frank Sanders.
On Sept. 22, Broken Trojan and The Awful will be performing, starting at 9 p.m. On Nov. 3, the Grizzly will be holding a tribute night for a local man who passed away last year. It will be an all Blues night, starting at 3 p.m. The restaurant also hosts two musical fundraisers for the university’s radio station every year, usually in November and April. There’s usually no cover charge for live entertainment nights.
Red Brick Café, located at 153 S. Broadway in downtown Turlock, is a popular college hangout for those over 21. The Red Brick serves up tasty and inexpensive drinks and has an outside patio area for socializing.
Just down the street from Red Brick, on the corner of Main Street and Broadway, is the Dust Bowl Brewery Tap Room. The tap room serves world-renowned beer brewed right here in Turlock. That’s right – this is some of the best beer on the planet. Just ask the Beverage Tasting Institute, who rated Dust Bowl’s Hops of Wrath India Pale Ale the third best IPA they’d ever tasted. You don’t have to be 21 to visit the Dust Bowl Tap Room – it’s a full-service restaurant, with delicious fried delights, burgers, sandwiches, and salads too.
Plan to wait awhile for a table, though, as the Dust Bowl is popular with college students and locals alike every night of the week.
— KRISTINA HACKER