Many bars across the Evansville area offer draft beer in fish bowl mugs. The thick, heavy glass mugs look like wine glasses on steroids. But one Newburgh bar has put a unique spin, or should I say, edge, on the popular mug.

Who Invented the Fishbowl Beer Mug?

close up of the beer

While the fishbowl wasn't invented in southern Indiana, it's an extremely popular option around the area for anyone looking to enjoy their favorite ice-cold beer. For some, drinking their very first "legal" beer out of a fishbowl on their 21st birthday is almost a right of passage. The glass is a popular choice at a few bars on Evansville's west side including the Hilltop Inn and the former Hagedorn's on Franklin Street (which was demolished a number of years ago). Most, if not all of those locations, keep their fishbowls in the freezer until someone orders one to help keep the beer as cold as possible for as long as possible. If you've ordered one at some point, you know it's a thing of beauty when the bartender sits a fishbowl down in front of you filled with beer right to the rim and sheets of frost sliding down the side.

It also doesn't hurt that they typically hold more than the standard 12 ounces of beer you get in a bottle or can.

I did some research to see who invented the fishbowl, or at the very least, who was the first to decide to fill it with beer but came up empty. The best I find was Rigazzi's Restaurant in St. Louis which claims to be "Home of the Frozen Fishbowl." According to their website,

A fishbowl is a 32 ounce frozen goblet that can accommodate any drink of choice, but is most often filled with beer. The fishbowls were modeled after the ice cream dishes used in the 1904 World’s Fair.

Cricket's in Newburgh Serves Beer in a "Fish Box"

Google Maps
Google Maps

My wife and I recently stopped by Cricket's in Newburgh to grab a couple of beers and a bite to eat (their food, especially their pizza, is really good, by the way). After finishing our first fishbowls, I made my way back to the bar to grab another round. But, there was a problem. They were out of fishbowls. Instead, we got what the bartender called, a "fish box."

Ryan O'Bryan
Ryan O'Bryan

Yep, that's basically a square fishbowl. I have been drinking beer for, let's say, a while now, and I had never seen a beer glass like this. So, how do you get the beer out of the glass and onto your taste buds? That depends on who you ask.

If you've ever tried drinking any type of liquid off of a straight edge, you know you can't take a big sip because chances are, whatever you're trying to drink will likely go off the side of your lips and down the front of your shirt. You need something that will funnel the liquid into your open mouth. In the case of the fish box, that would obviously be the corners, right? That was the bartender's suggestion. However, as soon as she walked away to take care of another customer, a gentleman at the bar told me not to drink it from the corner, saying he had tried that in the past only to have some of it spill down the front of him.

It's possible the experience he shared may have been due to "operator error" and not the glass itself, because my wife and I took the advice of the bartender and took our drinks from the corners. We left with dry shirts.

Is the fish box reinventing the beer glass wheel? No. But, it is definitely something unique to look at and required us to pay attention to how we were raising the glass to our lips. At the end of the day, we were drinking beer. I'll take it in whatever glass you have available.

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