Magical Mario’s

Jill (left) and I with Andrea at the Fishbowl

Jill (left) and I with Andrea at the Fishbowl

What can I say about Mario’s Fishbowl? In a word: Fantastic!

(L-R) Andrea, Jill, me; Dave, Matt and Leslee

(Left row) Andrea, Jill and me (Right row) Dave, Matt and Leslee

I mean, what can you say about a friendly “hole-in-the-wall” that’s been around for decades and still is the place to go every weekend, especially during football season.

Andrea said it was special and she was right. But she left something out. It was “Magical Mario’s” that night.

When Jill and I walked in to meet Andrea and Dave, the entire bar cheered and clapped for us like we were celebrities. What a great reception, right? Well, I quickly found out that they do that for almost everyone who enters.

Still, we felt so comfortable, especially when you order your favorite adult beverage and the server brings it to you in a frosty, thick and heavy glass “fishbowl.”

I met Zach Galifianakis' doppelganger.

I met Zach Galifianakis’ doppelganger.

Ahhhh, that’s how you start the weekend off, chugging down fishbowl after fishbowl with your wife, her friends, which have become my friends, and even new friends I met there.

Like “Mr. Close-Talker.” He was a grizzly guy, with a mustache and beard, worn jeans, dusty ball cap, and a friendly smile and handshake.

It was obvious he had consumed his fair share of fishbowls so every conversation we had in the busy bar had to be almost nose-to-nose, which allowed me to enjoy the aroma of garlic wings mixed with Genesee draft beer coming from his breath.

But the guy was funny and friendly and that’s all that mattered. He actually coached me to a triumph.

Green vase

Green vase

There is a tradition at Mario’s, among others, where you have to toss a quarter into a vase that rests high above the main bar counter. You can try to toss the quarter straight into the vase, which is nearly impossible, or you can bounce it off the wall and into the vase.

It sounds hard and it is, but you get lucky, and I did. I asked the server for $3 worth of quarters and took aim, with Mr. Close-Talker coaching me in the ear, literally, his lips were touching my ear as he shouted out instructions.

My first quarter was a miss, but the second quarter bounced off the back of the wall and into the vase.


My coach, Mr. Close-Talker

My coach, Mr. Close-Talker

My “coach” high-fived me like I hit the game-winning shot for the NCAA national championship  and he just kept saying over and over and over and over, “See, you just gotta believe, buddy, you just gotta believe. If you believe, then it can happen.”

And that’s exactly what happened with the Mountaineers’ football team the next day against then-No. 4-ranked Baylor. They took heed to the words Mr. Close-Talker spoke the night before at “Magical Mario’s.”

They believed.

And they won!


  1.'Jill Morgan says

    Mario’s rocks! What a great place and great people! Can’t wait to go back and do it again (pacing myself this time when it comes to Andrea’s amazing Mountaineer Margaritas).

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