While most bars looked forward to the influx of customers on Super Bowl Sunday, the downtown Mellow Mushroom chose the holy sports day to close its doors to the public. Entrance to the popular pizzeria was restricted to the few, the proud, the Mellow Mushroom 100 Beer Club Members, who received complimentary food and drinks from 6 p.m. until closing.

“It’s become a tradition,” Josh Broome, Mellow’s co-owner, said of the annual event. “I see people in the middle of the summer, and they tell me they’re already looking forward to it.” Enthusiasm for the party was evident by the hundreds of guests who arrived decked out in their team’s colors.   

Derek Baugh has attended the party seven years in a row and declared 2011 is the best one to date. “It’s the biggest crowd, best food spread, and best beer selection I’ve seen,” he said. Nachos, wings, popcorn, and, for the health-conscious crowd, hummus with pita bread were passed out as the game started, and by halftime the crowd was downing focaccia bread sandwiches and chili.

With more bodies than seats, guests poured out of booths and fought for standing room at the bar upstairs where drinks were generously poured. The crowd grew increasingly rowdy as the night went on, and during the fourth quarter, the action inside Mellow Mushroom rivaled that on the football field. A man sporting a grey sweater and a horse mask emerged, shooting liquor and making romantic advances on unsuspecting guests. In this close-knit group of regulars, the attire was festive, the mood playful, and the beer copious. Everyone went home a winner.

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