Tequila Tuesday at Big Mario's

bigmarios-lisa.JPG
Bartender Lisa Mungo's Tequila Tuesday concoction.
The Watering Hole: Big Mario's, 1009 E. Pike St., 922-3875. CAPITOL HILL

The Atmosphere: Big Mario's is equal parts pizza parlor and bar that attracts mostly students and other industry people around Capitol Hill. It's a surprisingly warm place that makes you feel the urge to hunker down and hang out. It looks like a dive bar that's been in Seattle since the 80s, but really, it's not even two-years old yet. The place really gets hopping on Friday and Saturday nights when Big Mario's serves pizza by the slice out a window until 4a.m. and during weekdays when they dole out buck beers from 3-4p.m.. The place is also home to the world's cutest dog, a Puggle named Jackson that belongs to the bar manager, Melissa. It was hanging out with a customer the entire time I was there and, just like the bartender, seemed to know everyone walking through the doors.

bigmarios-boones.JPG
Big Mario's offers 40s of Olde English and Boone's Farm which Mungo says, "Is much more popular on weekends."
The Barkeep: Lisa Mungo. She's been bartending at Big Mario's for about six months. She's originally from California and before she moved to Seattle three-and-a-half years ago, she was tending bar in Portland. "One of the reasons I moved to Capitol Hill is because there are so many great venues around here for music," says Mungo, who is in a band called He Whose Ox is Gored. "It's a pretty heavy, sledgy, post-hardcore band." She refers to it as doom music. As for her role in the band: "I scream." Lisa works the 11a.m.-7p.m. shift Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. She concentrates on her music the other days. It was Melissa (Jackson's owner) who gave her a shot behind the bar. "Sometimes it's hard to break into the scene when you're new in town. I actually started here working on the kitchen side, tossing pies and doing prep and all that kind of stuff. I've done pretty much everything here. Since we opened."

bigmarios-margarita.JPG
The drink that needs no introduction.
The Drink: I figured a hole-in-the-wall teetering the line between the hungover and hipster would serve me something along the lines of a Jager and Red Bull, but instead, I got myself a margarita. "Today, I made a margarita and the reason why is because it's Tequila Tuesday," Mungo tells me. "A lot of people come in, a lot of students, and they'll do a little Tequila Tuesday action. It's not that we even have a particular special or anything, it's just that...it's Tequila Tuesday."

There's nothing earth-shattering about the recipe: tequila, a mix of simple syrup and lime (Big Mario's makes their own sour) topped with a splash of OJ and soda. It's a little fancier than what Mungo likes to drink. "I'm easy. [I prefer] something like whiskey. Probably Jameson. I'll do a PBR or some other cheap beer. The simpler it is, the better."

bigmarios-puggle.JPG
Jackson.
The Verdict: The drink was really good. But what I remember most was how much it made me appreciate Big Mario's, as if it were a little bit of sunshine that parted the clouds during a dark and gloomy afternoon, like when you've had a shitty day at work and your low expectations when you enter an unfamiliar bar are exceeded ten-fold. Lisa and her margarita (and her pink shirt) definitely brightened the day. I found a new favorite in a bar I didn't think I'd like. And a dog I want to steal.

Follow Voracious on Facebook and Twitter.

 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow