Mason's Pub & Eatery 

It was a no-makeup kind of day when my husband and I headed to Mason's Pub & Eatery for a Saturday lunch. The low-key sports bar in Meridian was casual enough for one of those days when my complexion needed a break. We found a spot in one of the big plywood booths next to the window and ordered a round of beer. From the selection of 20 taps, I opted for a pint of what should be called nectar of the gods, but what we mortals know as Pyramid Apricot Ale ($3.57). My dearest went with a pint of Skinny Dip ($3.57) beer, which is New Belgium Brewery's liquid ode to summer. The food menu features basic pub fare, with dishes named after Harley-Davidson bikes, engines and rallies, such as the Fat Boy burrito ($8.95), the Knucklehead sandwich ($8.50) and the Sturgis platter ($18.50).

After ordering our lunch, we checked out the collection of old-school arcade games before dropping a quarter into the Ms. Pac Man machine and trading turns gobbling dots and outrunning ghosts. Then 75 cents bought us a game at one of the two pool tables. During the match our waitress brought our order of Mason's Famous "Hog" Wings ($9.75). It says on the menu they serve "WHOLE big wings" and they're not fooling. The way those suckers looked, reaching up like the legs of some big, weird crab covered in crispy chicken skin and hot sauce, they seemed ready to flip over, jump off the table and scurry out the door. We nabbed a couple of those crispy, meaty buggers before they could jump, dipping them into bleu cheese dressing. We should have made a meal out of them. By the time I had let my dearest win by one ball, our lunch order was ready and we settled back into the booth.

My husband's Biker Patty Melt ($7.75) left much to be desired, even for a beer bar. The burger patty and bread were not just overcooked, but charred in places. Blech. But the onion rings ($1.29 to upgrade from fries) that accompanied his sandwich were cut thick and tasted sweet and fresh. My Stacia's Supreme Ride ($8.50) translated into a basic turkey and bacon sandwich with guacamole on white bread. Much like the patty melt, the bacon was very well done. I imagined an overzealous cook wearing a T-shirt that says, "Don't just cook it, KILL IT!" Overall, Mason's seemed like a good place for beer and a few games, even without my makeup on. As for the grub, I'd return for the chicken wings and the onion rings; otherwise I'd proceed with caution.

—Jennifer Hernandez has been chased by ghosts named Kinky, Stinky and Uncle Carl.

>Mason's Pub & Eatery, 601 S.Main St., Meridian, 884-3737. Mon.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun. hours vary by season.

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