D’Arcy Mcgee’s Irish Pub – 257 Franklin St., 853-3600
If you are downtown, near Chippewa, and are looking for someplace other than a sticky dance club to go, then you may want to head to D’Arcy Mcgee’s Irish Pub. Although its second floor hosts a dancing area, D’Arcy Mcgee’s is more known for the first floor pub area. With plenty of seating, it provides a more laid back atmosphere, where one can go hang out and have a few beers. There are often live bands performing in the covered, outside patio area, where there is not only plenty of standing room, but also large gliders to go and chill in. On those warm summer nights, the cushy gliders are particularly nice, and let you enjoy the evening air. Although D’Arcy’s is a spacious place, it has a quaintness to it that is a nice alternative to the dance club scene less than a block away on Chippewa.
D’Arcy’s also boasts a diverse menu, with everything from typical pub fare, like Fish-n-chips, to Veggie Burgers and Polish Sausage. If you go to D’Arcy Mcgee’s, however, it almost goes without saying that you will have to drink at least one Guinness or Black & Tan.
by Kristin Piatko
Tully’s – 1459 Niagara Falls Blvd., 446-0007
Whether it’s casual dining you are looking for, or just a place to have a few drinks and watch the game, you may want to consider checking out Tully’s. A restaurant and bar for the more athletic types, Tully’s is not only sports-themed, but is also decorated with many televisions. At any time, they are playing a variety of sports, from hockey to the world’s strongest man competition. Adding the gaming feel of it, Tully’s has pool tables and other games to play while eating or drinking with a group of friends.
The menu has mostly standard fair, including burgers, sandwiches, the typical munchie appetizers, and pasta or meat entrees. While it is neither particularly unique nor fancy, the food at Tully’s is quick and tasty. There are frequently specials for the food, including discounted appetizers during happy hour and each day has its own mixed drink special for $2.95. If you go for dinner, make sure to save room for one of Tully’s tasty and rather generously-sized desserts.
by Krisin Piatko
The Continental – 212 Franklin St., 855-3938
The Continental (also lovingly referred to as “The Cont” by the locals) is mainly famous for two reasons: it is an emerging powerhouse concert venue, attracting all kinds of musical acts, from alternative to electronic to metal, and as a premiere goth/industrial/new wave/synth-pop/you-name-it dance club, known for its alternative clientele, ranging from old school goths to ravers to headbangers to cyber-synth nerds (myself included). However, its bar (or bars, rather) can rival most major drinking establishments located on the nearby Chippewa Street. One is located downstairs, where live shows are held, the second one is upstairs, by the dance floor. Both offer great drink specials, such as two-for-one well and vodka drinks before 12 a.m., $1.50 beer specials, and various vodka drink specials. The price of an average drink is around three bucks and they make ‘em right at the Cont–vodka drinks actually have vodka in them, not just juice or soda. The bartenders are friendly, fast, and knowledgeable, so no matter what your pleasure is–catching a show downstairs, dancing the night away upstairs, or both, The Continental provides a refreshing alternative to the overpriced Chippewa bars filled with frat boys and underage Sweet Home High students. At 212 Franklin Street, just a block off Chippewa, The Cont is open Thursday till 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday till 4:30 a.m.
by Oleg Lyubner
Molly’s Pub – 3199 Main St. South Campus, 836-6559
Just a few feet away from the infamous Steer, Molly’s hideous faux-wooden façade whispers to you as you walk by “…it’s not even worth it.” Known for Thursday night’s pitcher deal of disgustingly warm and flat Canadian has poor, lame kids flocking from all around the area, from Ellicott all the way to Governors. Looking for some rocking tunes? Well, Molly’s is your place, look no further. Where else can you hear 80’s monster ballads such as Livin’ on a Prayer and Here I Go Again except for Molly’s? And PJ’s. And the Steer. As you walk in you know you’re in for a treat with a large area for electronic darts, followed by a seven-foot hall loft that is overflowing with bad outfits and the horrible stench of overzealous usage of JLo’s “Glow.” Save your spots now because it’s impossible to move! Don’t even think of trying to get another beer. God help you if you smoke. The bouncers don’t really give your ID much of a look over before they blurt out how much you owe for the cover. The cops standing next to him waving to the dude in the DJ booth 10 feet above him doesn’t seem to mind either. They’re all having a great time taking your money. They’re also the first and last smiles you’ll see in this place.
by Tim Meehan
Mike’s Steak Joint – 3355 Bailey Ave (across from Minnesota) 835-5636
I was never really a big fan of steak hoagies, until one day at the beginning of last summer I walked into Mike’s Steak Joint, and my life was changed forever. Mike’s is pretty much your basic Buffalo fast food joint—they have wings, subs, and chicken fingers—but what will change your life is Mike’s specialty, The Steak in the Hood. The “Hood,” as I like to call it, consists of a pound of steak, a pound of Italian sausage, cheese, onions, lettuce, and tomato. Be careful though, they can be addicting—I was up to two a week for a time a couple of months ago. As for the rest of their menu, I really haven’t tried anything else. Once you have a Steak in the Hood, you really don’t need anything else.
by Chris Davis
Rue Franklin – 341 Franklin St., 852-4416:
When walking into Rue Franklin, the visitor is greeted by a charming French setting. The décor is rather understated, making the interior feel cozy and romantic. The restaurant is divided into two sections: an elegant front room, and a warm and slightly less formal back room with a bar that opens into a private garden and fountain. There are no set rules for dress, though most men have jackets and ties. The restaurant is labeled one of the top ten most romantic restaurants in Buffalo for 2003 by the Best of CitySearch Buffalo, and reservations are recommended especially on weekends and holidays.
The quality of the food is in line with the upscale trend set by the décor of the restaurant and dress of the customers. Menus change with the season, though during the week, from Tuesday to Thursday, a small fixed-price menu is always offered, including an appetizer, entree, and dessert for about $25 - $30. Past entrees have included roast rack of lamb with Moroccan spices and vegetables and seared sea scallops with lime risotto and mango. The price may be slightly higher than what other local restaurants charge, but the enchanting setting along with the prompt and friendly service and terrific food make Rue Franklin an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make dinner an experience.
by Jennifer Rose
Duff’s – 3651 Sheridan Dr., 834-6234 Buffalo is known for its chicken wings, and Duff’s makes some of the best. The interior of the restaurant is rather bare of decoration, and is reminiscent of a basement with its wooden paneling and thin black pillars. That is not to say that it is unwelcoming, just unpretentious. Located on Sheridan Drive between North and South Campus, Duff’s is a convenient five minute drive for UB students.
The wings themselves are, as the menu warns, very hot. They say “Medium is HOT” and they mean it. Though wings are definitely their specialty, the restaurant does offer other food, including hamburgers, jalapeno poppers, chicken strips, and other side dishes. And along with any wings that you order, a large plastic bucket is brought to the table to collect the bones in. This may not seem like a big deal, but if seriously eating wings is your game, not having to collect them all on your plate is a definite plus. Another high point of eating at Duff’s is that it won’t make too big of a dent in your weekly paycheck. You can get dinner for two (20 wings, fries and a pitcher of soda) for under 20 bucks. Finally, if you are not good at waiting, Duff’s is a good place to be. Sometimes there can be a wait for a table, but once you sit down and order, the food comes pretty quickly. Based on the price, quality of service and tastiness of the food, Duff’s is a good choice for any chicken wing fan.
by Jennifer Rose
Buffalo Brew Pub – 6861 Main St., 632-0552
As the name suggests, this place does in fact brew its own beer. Ranging from the lighter Buffalo Lager to the Kringle Beer, which is only available around Christmas. I’d suggest trying one that sounds good to you, but none of them are really worth writing home about.
As with any good restaurant in Buffalo, this place serves wings. Though the Anchor Bar gets the title of “inventing” wings, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say Buffalo Brew Pub takes the crown for “Best Wings.” With wing size rivaled only by Duff’s, a dozen can be considered a meal all their own. The hot is just hot enough and the mild is, not surprisingly, mild. You can’t go wrong with this place when it comes to wings.
Other notable dishes include their French Onion Soup, the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, and the other Buffalo standard: Beef-on-Weck.
by Christopher Gorski
Pearl Street Bar and Grill – 76 Pearl St., 856-2337
This multi-leveled micro-brewery, just minutes from HSBC arena, is a great place to go toss a few back after a Sabers game. Great looking bar and good crowd for those sick of some jock-frat boy asshole running his mouth at The Steer. Though I’ve never seen an awesome show at the Pearl Street Grill, live music is available.
The food at Pearl Street Grill is absolutely awesome. Of all the dishes I’ve had there, it would be difficult to pick a favorite. Give the kielbasa a try for sure. This is a great place for a first date.
by Christopher Gorski
Root Five – 4914 Lakeshore Road 627-5551
Located as close to Lake Erie as possible without actually being in the water, Root Five is a restaurant that is very easily a step above your standard chain restaurant like Applebee’s or Ruby Tuesday. The quality of the service is nothing short of terrific.
On this particular visit to Root Five, I enjoyed the company of my immediate family and my girlfriend. We began the meal with appetizers of coconut-breaded shrimp and now I wonder why in the world I so intently avoided coconut.
For an appetizer I opted for the salad with French dressing and was amazed at its presentation. Instead of tossing everything together, each element of the salad was neatly and separately arranged on the plate, allowing a diner the possibility to easily eliminate any unwanted vegetables.
I ordered a very flavorful blackened red snapper with shrimp jambalaya and was very pleased with its level of spiciness and wonderful taste. The half rack of barbeque ribs my girlfriend ordered swiftly disappeared without complaint, as did the lobster tail, 10 oz steak with rice and teriyaki chicken salad that my family ordered.
For dessert, I opted for the pumpkin pie and the other half of my girlfriend’s peanut butter mud pie, both of which were fantastic. Other deserts ordered included a slice of cheesecake doused in caramel and a piece of a very heavy looking chocolate torte cake.
Root Five is not a place where you just decide to go on a night when no one feels like cooking; their average entrée price of eighteen dollars makes sure of this. However, it is a perfect restaurant when you feel the need to get a little dressy and celebrate.
by Erik Frick
Broadway Joe’s Bar – 3051 Main St., 837-3650
Broadway Joe’s is a local treasure that has it all. Stuff Magazine recently rated Broadway Joe’s one of the nation’s “Top Ten Dive Bars.” So what makes this dive bar so great? With live music or performance almost every night, Joe’s is a great venue. They also regularly book national acts, and the top-notch local and regional acts, as well. The dartboard, foosball, and pool tables go great with Friday happy hour from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Broadway Joe’s also features $1.25 Blue and Blue Lights and complimentary pizza and wings from Sal’s.
The crowd varies from old hippies, to high school seniors going to shows, but the majority is a college-aged crowd. Not to be outdone by some minor publication, Generation Magazine has rated Broadway Joe’s one of the top ten dive bars in the universe, times infinity.
by Dave Ingleman
Alternative Brews – 3488 Sheridan Dr.,
If you smoke, and you do not like the NYS smoking ban, then you will love Alternative Brews. One of the only Buffalo bars grandfathered as a cigar bar, you can smoke and drink your way to bliss at Alt. Brews. Happy hour two-for-one drink tokens are a great deal, and convenient for buying rounds. Alt. Brews is close to campus, and perfect for the after-class nerves. They have a dartboard and Golden Tee video golf. What more do you need? The crowd is mostly older, but that has been changing recently. Non-smokers may feel overwhelmed by almost everyone in the bar smoking. To them I say, “stay home.”
by Dave Ingleman
The Coffee Bean Café – 3260 Main St., 837-2326
The University Heights’ collective heart skipped a beat when Stimulance closed down. However, have no fear, those of us who crave a good cup of joe every now and again still have the Coffee Bean Café. Only a short walk from South campus, Coffee Bean seems more suitable for a Tuesday night date than a hang out. It remains dimly lit at all times and has a solid schedule of performances including Bluegrass night on every Monday.
What sets Coffee Bean apart from all the rest is the food. Correction, the delicious food. Stop in sometime on a Sunday morning for their Cajun brunch and you will not be disappointed. My personal recommendation would be either the Cajun Omelet or the Apple Crepe. The food is imported from all across America including New Orleans so that the customer is left with an authentic Creole taste. On regular days you can find a great selection of muffins, Danishes, and other coffee-related pastries.
What I like most about the place is the seating. Individual booths on one side of the establishment allows for privacy when needed and on the other side, bar stools and a long bench for those who feel the need to be more social. Coffee Bean Café caters to all who enter. It is conveniently located right on Main Street, not too far from South Campus. In my experience the service is usually quick and friendly, with satisfaction being always a priority. Enjoy.
by Manny Andre
Cole’s – 1104 Elmwood Ave., 886-1449
This bar and restaurant has been operating since 1934, so they’re obviously knowledgeable in the bar and restaurant field. First off, excellent food. The menu is full of choices that will lead to an indefinite postponement of order placing, and after you do order, well, like I said, excellent food. Secondly, great bar. When the puck drops for a 7 or 7:30 Sabres’ start, expect every stool in the bar to be taken by men with great knowledge of life, drinks, and, of course, hockey. Later in the evening, Cole’s is a great place to spend your night on the Elmwood strip. Expect your usual college crowd, including drunken shenanigans and people loudly screaming into their cell phones “I’m at Cole’s, where are you? No, Cole’s. What? Cole’s I said.”
by Scott Frauenhofer
Wilson’s Green Ghetto Lounge – Somewhere on William St. on the East Side, Not gonna find it in your yellow pages
I’ve only passed this place by way of car, but I vow to walk inside some day. Not only is Wilson’s the self-proclaimed “Home of the Blues,” but the sign on the front of the building reads: “It ain’t nothing but a G thang baby.” You know whatever is going on inside is great, based on those two things alone.
Doctor Bird’s Caribbean Rasta-Rant –
3104 Main St., 837-6426
As far as I can tell this is the only place in all of Buffalo where you can get a decent spicy beef patty and some champagne cola. The Rasta-Rant is located one block away from the La Salle Street Metro station. People tend to just walk in, buy a patty, and walk out, and never notice the large dining area and the lengthy menu. Every Monday through Friday before 2:30 p.m. there are lunch specials, including a Veggie Whopper and the Fish Boat Combo. My favorite is the Reggae Whopper.
It’s hard to pin down what my favorite aspect of this place is, but I have to say that it definitely has a “mother’s kitchen” feel to it. The food is consistently good and it has a special section in its menu especially for vegetarians. Doctor Bird’s Rasta-Rant is also good for those who live in University Heights and can no longer deal with only pizza and wings. It is one of the only ethnic and unique eateries on Main Street. Now that I think about it, my favorite thing about the Rasta-Rant is that it is different, so put down that sub and pick up some curry shrimp. And if you can’t do without wings, they sell those, too.
by Manny Andre
Edrito’s Fresh-Mex Grande Burritos – 1007 Elmwood Ave., 887-2963
My uncle had a bumper sticker that said something like “When God returns to earth he’d be an American and he would be driving a General Motors automobile.” Well, if Jesus was Mexican and he returned to America, the first place he would go to have a delicious burrito would be Edrito’s. That doesn’t make much sense but they do make one hell of a burrito. With a healthy, fresh veggie menu, Edrito’s staff not only prepares delicious and nutritious meals, they dole them out in huge proportions. We’re talking “oh boy… I know what’s happening after I finish this” big. Their hot salsa is so hot, thick, and delicious you don’t mind that you’re almost dying. It’s prime location on the strip, and quaint, humble set up adds to the charm of the joint. You think you’re the only one in Buffalo who knows about this little gem, when in fact everyone is in on the secret. If it wasn’t for spicy Tex-Mex in Buffalo, I’d be in the midst of a cold, long, depressing winter. Actually I am anyway, but I’m trying to stay up-beat.
by Tim Meehan
Mighty Taco – Everywhere man,
I don’t know how many out-of-towners have been terrified to go to another taco place outside of Taco Bell but I’ve never seen any disappointed faces when we left. This may be the best single reason to stay in Buffalo after graduation.
You can’t go wrong with this place. Everything is great here. The Chipotle (chee-poht-lay) Chili is only available during the winter months, so make sure to try a bowl of that sometime soon or just get a Mighty Pack: six of the standard soft-shelled tacos. Mighty Taco is a great choice after a long night of partying.
Just a tip: try not to sound amateur by ordering Gorditas or Nachos Bell Grande.
by Christopher Gorski
Off the Wall – 534 Elmwood Ave., 884-9580
As far as I know, Buffalo’s only bar-restaurant-art gallery-furniture store, but maybe I’m wrong. Off the Wall is so hip it will make you question your allegiance to Myspace.com.
The food is delicious and very reasonably priced. Good wine list. Rotating DJ’s each and every night until 2 a.m. Wi-fi internet. Everything inside is for sale. What’s not to like?
by Scott Frauenhofer
The Lake Effect Diner – 3165 Main St.,
Every UB student should be made aware of The Lake Effect Diner, my pick for the ultimate stoner’s diner. It’s located on Northrup Place and Main Street, right next to The Steer, which is just a short walk from South campus. If you prefer to drive, parking won’t be a problem with their huge private parking lot. The fact that its hours go later than Wendy’s (it’s 24-hours, in fact) also makes it an ideal choice when you need to satiate whatever munchies you have accumulated on your late night expeditions.
The food itself comes in extremely generous quantities, given its fair pricing with the usual variety of diner flavors. I’d recommend the Blizzard plate as it is both huge and diverse. You can also pick up a decent assortment of shakes, desserts, and souvlaki, if that’s your thing. In addition to all of this, the restaurant itself serves a retro 50’s vibe, and is manned by a very pleasant and prompt staff. Just keep two things in mind: if you intend to eat at Lake Effect, don’t arrive at the hours that it’s too crowded unless you don’t mind sitting at the counter, and if you keep track of things like fat and cholesterol, ask for your vegetables NOT to be soaked in butter.
by Eric Hillery
Amy’s Place – 3234 Main St., 832-666
Want to get some good food for cheap? Amy’s is your place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Amy’s severs up Lebanese food done right, with a distinctly University Heights flavor. The service, the atmosphere, and the customers are all laid-back, but interesting and well worth the reasonable price of a meal. Everyone who is down with the Buffalo scene knows about Amy’s and you will see everyone from UB professors and students to celebrities passing through and local politicians getting their grub on. Right on Main Street, Amy’s is a stop you must make. Generation’s favorite meal at Amy’s is the “Margie Meal,” but bring your appetite.
by Dave Ingleman
Essex St. Pub – 6 Essex St., 883-2150
I love this bar. You can get Icehouse cheaper here than from any corner store in a 5 mile radius of the Heights. This place also has the most extensive punk rock jukebox I’ve ever seen. The atmosphere is thick with that sort of punk camaraderie among patrons that you experience only at a funeral for one of The Ramones (original, not any of those wack Ramones). The wall décor stands up against the best in this city.
by Scott Frauenhofer
Jolly Jug – 797 Niagara Falls Blvd., 836-9552
The area’s premiere shitkicking, tonk bar, where the Schmidt’s is always flowing (at a $1.25 a pop), the tunes are always playing (15 songs for a buck on the jukebox), and the pool table is always sitting there (25 cents per game) waitinig to be, ummm, pooled.
Some of the bartenders burn the midnight oil at local strip clubs, so don’t be surprised if your lap dance from last night looks a lot like the broad that’s cracking the cap of your beer bottle with her teeth.
by Scott Frauenhofer
Photographs by Crystal Dunning, Scott Frauenhofer, and Christopher Gorski.