Old Cowbells location replaced by new bar

The former location of Cowbells is being replaced with the Double Headed Eagle Bar and Grill.

Located in the Highlands Plantation, the bar Cowbells permanently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Nick Plava purchased the location and reestablished it as the Double Headed Eagle Bar and Grill.

Plava, owner of the Double Headed Eagle Bar and Grill, said he typically worked in the Italian restaurant industry but was approached about purchasing the location.

During a conversation about the location, Plava said he was informed that the building had previously been open during late hours. He was encouraged to buy the location after learning this.

“I guess it was the only building in that area that stayed open until 3 a.m., which I don’t think that will be the case for us,” Plava said. “I have to study a bit more into it.”

Alston Ferrell worked as a kitchen manager at Cowbells for five years before the bar closed.

Ferrell said he became good friends with the other staff members because the establishment was an exciting place to be.

“I always saw it as everyone else in town came out there because we were open after every other bar closed,” Ferrell said.

According to Ferrell, the late closing hours of Cowbells made it a space where crowds of different people could join together.

In 2013, Josh Gilbon moved from South Carolina to Starkville to join his brother. After arriving, he found a job at Cowbells as a line cook.

“It was really nice, and I liked it there,” Gilbon said. “I am still in contact with the people that I met there.”

Gilbon said he remembered the daily deals held at Cowbells, like steak nights on Sundays and the infamous penny pitchers that brought in crowds on Thursdays.

According to Plava, the new restaurant will serve regular bar food like burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas and nachos.

Plava said he wanted his business to steer away from the previous bar’s popular features.

“We’re definitely going to have specials and happy hour, but it’s hard to get everything in line before you open,” Plava said.

Plava said he hoped the bar would open before Halloween.

“Let’s see how everything goes into play with all the licenses and permits that we have to take into consideration,” Plava said.

While official plans have not been made, Plava expected the business to begin serving customers around 5 p.m.

Gilbon said he felt that the new bar and grill had big shoes to fill due to Cowbells’ impact on the Starkville night scene.

Zach Shawl graduated from Mississippi State University with a communication degree. During his time in Starkville, he often went out to Cowbells with friends.

“I knew about Cowbells long before I got to Mississippi State as a student,” Shawl said.

Shawl said he remembered Cowbells being one of the biggest bars in the area with its dance floor and pool hall areas.

“They would always have a band, the bar was very large and there was always so many people in there,” Shawl said.

At Cowbells, Shawl made many memories dancing at date parties and betting friends at the pool hall with quarters.

“By the end of it, I walked out with an entire pocket full of quarters,” Shawl said.

Shawl said if he hoped to see that the new bar fit in with the city’s culture.

“I would expect it to not necessarily be the same as Cowbells or any other bar, but I would expect it to live up to the aesthetic that Starkville has,” Shawl said. 

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