Everybody knows what a sports bar is. They know that they’re good places to go when you’re not sure what you want, and even better places to watch a game without being at a game. The Varsity Club Sports Tavern has all that we commonly associate with one of these restaurants, with one particular difference: like the rest of us, Varsity Club lives and breathes the old gold and blue.

When you walk into the tavern, the first thing that will catch your eye is the Mountaineer memorabilia lining the walls from ceiling to floor. You’ll see highlights from 50 years past and game days from the old Mountaineer field to the current Milan Puskar Stadium. When you enter the Varsity Club, you are surrounded by reminders that you’re in Morgantown, West Virginia, and nowhere else.

As a typical sports bar would be, the Varsity Club is known for its sandwiches and appetizers. I had the pleasure of experiencing what I would now call a new favorite appetizer: fried banana peppers. Now, I’m a mozzarella sticks or fried pickles kind of guy, so my inclinations would definitely lean towards this dish, but the combination of sweet and savory with a blue cheese dip is something I’ll treasure. This can be a hit or miss, however, as I went and got more after my initial visit and the breading, dip and consistency of the fried peppers was subpar compared to the first time I went.

Another great dish that will fill you up more than a simple appetizer is the Varsity Club’s own “Varsity Club Sandwich.” While it may seem like the dish wouldn’t be special with the traditional sandwich meats of turkey, ham and bacon, as well as provolone and swiss complete with lettuce, tomato and rosemary mayo, it was a great choice for a smaller but just-as-filling meal that mixes that sweet mayo to complete a perfect afternoon meal.

The major highlight of the tavern, if you’re not a drinker accessing the great bar atmosphere, is the variety of food you can order on all occasions. There is pizza, tacos, hoagies, wraps and wings to satisfy any craving.

The one problem that you’ll see arise at the bar is lack of availability on the actual WVU game days. This weekend, if it weren’t for the tailgates lining the parking lot, you would’ve been able to see the line coming out of the building. The Varsity Club is an exclusive destination for fans on and outside of game day, and having been there on other days, I wholeheartedly support that status.

The Varsity Club Sports Tavern is located at 910 Willowdale Road and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday-Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.