Matt Dombrowski opened Magruders more than 22 years ago, and ever since, it’s been serving the public’s need for hearty pub food and drinks. The menu of crispy apps, build-your-own-burgers, and sauced-up buffalo wings complements pours from the bar, which diners can enjoy inside or out on the patio amid fresh air and attention-seeking trees. At the end of each week, the pub entertains guests with comedy, music, or drink promotions.
Williamsville, NY. The early 20th century. A man guides his family’s horse-drawn carriage through the flurries of snow sweeping across their circular driveway before coming to a halt in front of a striking two-story home. The ride was long and chilly, but inside, homey warmth awaits. Today, teleportation discs may have replaced the horse and buggy, but travelers still traverse the same driveway in search of a warm welcome. Now the home of Parings Wine Bar, the turn-of-the-century house reflects the goal that owner Shelia Paolini shared with the Amherst Bee’s Jessica Finch: “We want it to feel like you are coming into a living room, that you are at home, not at a bar.”
As soon as guests push open the bright-red front door, they enter a space that combines the comfort of a lived-in family room with the gourmet flavors found at traditional wine bars. Lit by flat-screen TVs and a cozy fireplace, guests peruse Chef Scott Martin’s ever-changing menu, which often features mediterranean nachos, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and horseradish beef tenderloin. Resident sommelier Alphonso DiMono’s wine list, which culls vintages from global wineries from Australia to France to California, perfectly complements the chef's creations. The bar’s mixologists also shake up more than 20 martinis infused with treats such has espresso vodka, Godiva white-chocolate liqueur, and pumpkin puree. As they sip and eat, guests can also join in special event nights that include art shows, live music, and happy hours that feature 20 types of wine for just $20 per bottle.
ComedySportz's teams of improv artisans compete for belly laughs in a fast-paced, unscripted stage match fueled by audience participation. With humor hampers full of fluffy, clean jokes, the players act out suggestion-based scenes and yodel out impromptu songs while vying for the viewers' glow-stick votes. A referee officiates the games and penalizes off-color language by making the speaker wear an unfashionable brown bag for a bonnet. Much like snowflakes, no two shows are the same, and all are best enjoyed with an outstretched tongue.
A friendly, family-owned establishment, Metzger's has been serving hearty, no-frills American fare in a jukebox-humming public house since 1955. At the top of the menu, there's Louisiana Cajun fries ($3.25) and cheddar-cheese-topped potato skins ($6.50). Farther down are heavy-hitting beef, steak, and seafood entrees. Metzger's signature sandwich is its USDA-choice slow-roasted roast beef ($7.50), sliced to order and served with freshly cut French fries. Chicken challengers can conquer Metzger's jumbo wings ($10.25 for 20), topped with mild, medium, or "suicidal" hot sauce. To cleanse esophagi, Metzger's offers wine, mixed drinks, and an array of domestic and imported beers.
Servers at Alternative Brews deliver frosty confections from a selection of 150 different beers, mixed drinks, and cold sodas to thirsty patrons. Though the beer menu rotates, previous selections have included the hop-laden potency of Flying Dog Old Scratch amber ($4.25), and the dark and velvety Young's Double Chocolate stout ($5). Offerings from Ayinger brewery, including Brau Weiss ($5), shuttle refreshing infusions of golden wheat from Germany to waiting glasses. Take a well or call drink of your choice ($4–$4.75) to the outdoor patio to cool off on balmy summer evenings, or show off air-harmonica skills against a backdrop of weekly live blues music. Monthly free beer tastings regale patrons with samples of new drafts from Alternative Brew's ever-changing selection.
Atmosphere@62 dishes out a menu of upscale cuisine in an elegant, crimson-walled dining room, earning it a nomination WGRZ's Best Taste in Buffalo contest. Candlelight flickers and a hush falls over the dining room as the lobster ravioli appetizer stuffed with scallops, shrimp, smoked salmon, and lobster arrives at the table ($15). The filet of sirloin, served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and house vegetables, takes francophile taste buds on a dream vacation with a choice of au poive or roquefort topping ($15), and the grilled cedar plank salmon, dressed in a livery of sauce vierge, tempts seafood-treasuring tummies alongside lemon-parmesan risotto and grilled vegetables ($24).