The Mountaineer Sports Bar and Grill in Berkeley Springs is just what you would imagine: A large, well-stocked bar with big-screen televisions throughout, gold and blue paint and West Virginia University sports memorabilia everywhere.
Area residents who love the Mountaineers will feel right at home.
My friend Pap Ricka and I stopped in to the Mountaineer recently. Or should I say stopped UP to the Mountaineer.
The bar sits on top of a store and is accessed by a set of steep steps. (I guess that is to get you in the mood. If you have ever been to Morgantown, W.Va.,you know how hilly it is.)
The staircase is lined with WVU and other sports stuff. The top of the stairs opens up into the bar. It is not a large place, but it is bright and cheerful with lots of tables and chairs.
The big bar lines one wall with high stools in front. Behind the bar, latticed wood holds wine bottles. A small balcony opens to the right with a couple of tables and chairs perched on it.
While WVU gear dominates the décor, someone there is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, as evidenced by the plentiful Eagles items. Other teams and sports are represented, creating a fun environment.
We were greeted and invited to sit wherever we wanted. It was rather quiet when we were there, since only the Orioles and Nationals were playing on the big screens. I imagine it would be pretty lively during football season.
Our waitress, who also was the hostess, took our drink orders. We looked at the menu. As a sports bar, the emphasis here was on fun food, not fine dining. There were appetizers like wings and fried pickles (one of my favorites.) The pickles came in chips or spears.
The main offerings were sandwiches, with burgers such as the Mountaineers Mega Burger made from two half-pound burgers taking center stage. There were pizza burgers with cheese and marinara sauce and Hawaiian burgers with Swiss cheese, bacon and pineapple. Chili cheese burgers were topped with chili and an onion ring. Bacon, egg and cheese burgers, and mushroom and Swiss burgers also were available.
Just in case we weren’t in the mood for burgers, there were sloppy Joes and pulled-pork sandwiches, meatball subs, crab cakes and chicken strips.
Soups and salads also were on the menu.
Pap and I were starving, so we ordered a plate of nachos. Our waitress brought over a huge plate piled high with chips and toppings. The Mountaineer didn’t get fancy. The cheese was melted in pools just like you get at the football stadium. Spicy salsa was spooned over everything. Crumbles of ground beef and jalapeños were sprinkled on top, and a big pile of sour cream was heaped in the middle.
It seems to me that sometimes when you get nachos, everything is piled on and then it is microwaved or baked, and you get one big, glued-together mess. But I really liked these nachos. The chips were light and very crispy, despite the load of toppings. They stayed crispy, too.
There was just the right amount of heat and salt. We managed to eat them all. Then our waitress brought our burgers.
Pap looked at me and said, “We probably could have just had the nachos.”
Nonetheless, the burgers looked too tasty to turn away. While I am all for variations on a theme, I was hungry for a plain-old cheeseburger, so that is what I got. It was a quarter pound of beef topped with cheese (I picked pepper jack) and whatever other toppings I wanted. The beef was cooked all the way through, yet still moist.
The bun was a little flat and the condiments were very cold, which cooled the beef down a bit. But I’m not complaining. It hit the spot.
Pap got a Cuban burger, which was topped with Swiss cheese and a slice of ham. He thought it was very good.
Pap got chips with his sandwich and I got the potato salad. It was a hefty serving of red-skinned potatoes in a mayonnaise dressing. On the plus side, it was not at all sweet (I do not like a sweet potato salad, although Pap does). On the negative side, it could have used a bit more salt.
Potatoes of any sort can be quite bland if not well seasoned, and I found this lacked a bit. Overall, though, I enjoyed it.
We had fun at the Mountaineer Sports Bar and Grill. Its bright and friendly atmosphere was inviting.
We made a date to come back in the fall and watch football. Let’s go Mountaineers!
Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.