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.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
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]]
Dipson Theatres celebrates a reputation as a regional movie institution with a network of 9 locations lighting 46 silver screens across Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Though the company now spreads across the northeast United States, it began in the small city of Batavia, NY, in 1939?a time when movies were called ?picture shows,? Roosevelt was in the White House, and everybody could only see in black and white. Today that tradition underlies the cinematic experience as patrons chomp popcorn and sip sodas, marveling at modern 3-D visual adventures, summer action movies, family-friendly features, or even indie art flicks and footage from world-renowned opera performances.