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.
Immersed in pictures of hockey stars, Center Ice Sports Bar & Grill unfurls a menu of savory American fare and a bevy of beverages. Treat your tablemates to an order of potato skins to see synchronized tongues climb aboard four starch-laden boats carrying gooey cheddar cheese and bacon bits ($7.50). Or, troll your own fork-motor through the grilled salmon entree, served with veggies, a choice of potato, and soup or salad ($14.95). Diners may sit at the bar, relax in one of the booths, or practice their head stands on the 12-ounce Certified Angus cushion of the Center Ice burger, stacked high with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and drizzled with thousand-island dressing ($7.95). The veggie wrap is a green thumb's delight, with a grilled tortilla enshrouding steamed broccoli, tomatoes, cherry peppers, and cheddar cheese ($7.50).
Strap yourself into an unrestrictive seat at ComedySportz for a some-holds-barred, refereed stage match for comedic supremacy. Fueled by the suggestions and overall uproar of the audience, performers provide family-friendly humor as they jump through songs and scenes onstage. Each match flies faster than a speeding mind-bullet through content significantly safer for children than speeding mind-bullets. Much like snowflakes, no two matches are the same, and all of them are best enjoyed with an outstretched tongue. Watching a group of people thinking on their toes (a typical improv troupe has between seven and 94 toes) is more fun than losing to children at Scrabble. And whether you're attending the show as a means of entertaining the family or as an alternative to yelling hysterically at zoo animals, ComedySportz welcomes you with open arms.
Family-owned and operated for more than 40 years, Mitchell's Tavern draws diners with beer, spirits, and a lengthy menu of freshly cooked pub fare. Its historic brick building, which is more than 70 years old, housed both a deli and the local fire department before transforming into the neighborhood tavern it is today. An outdoor patio shades rows of tabletops with umbrellas; inside, sports memorabilia and photographs crowd the walls as complimentary popcorn erupts from kettles and hearty roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers, and fried fish mingle with mugs of draft beer and mixed drinks. Happy hours and drink specials give wallets a break throughout the week—Mondays, for instance, bring half-priced bottles of Bud, and ladies night every Saturday treats ladies and gorillas in convincing cashmere gowns to $2 drinks and $4 cosmopolitans.: m]]
Town Pub's menu is comforting and classic, featuring tasty standby starters such as mozzarella sticks ($4.99) and french fries ($3.50), as well as pizzas($9.99 for large with one topping), specialty and build-your-own Angus burgers ($4.99–$5.99), and spicy wings ($7.99 for 10). Stop by on a Monday to equip your taste buds with a set of five wings for just $1, and before you know it, you'll actually be collecting cash bribes from other people's teeth that yearn for a seat in your face's zesty cockpit. This Groupon can be used toward any of Town Pub's specials, including $1 pints on Sundays and Mondays, $5 pitchers on Fridays, and a free happy-hour buffet every day from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
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.