Under the sprawling roof of First Niagara Pavilion, music greats such as Billy Joel, Rush, and Jimmy Buffett have all taken over the stage as fans throughout the amphitheater space watch, transfixed. Whether enjoying the show from the open-air pavilion or the verdant lawn, concertgoers demonstrate their love for the performers by dancing along to the music or holding up lighters engraved with the lead singer’s astrological sign.
Every weekend, Twin Hi-Way Drive-In’s dual screens come to life with double-feature showings from a schedule of current films. Viewers tune their radios to the audio track’s frequency, directly transmitting the movie’s dialogue and soundtrack to their car, or fiddle with the knob to recast Ira Glass as the lead in Die Hard. The concession stand dispenses movie-night treats, such as hot dogs, popcorn, and sodas. On Saturdays, the drive-in hosts classic-car shows, where owners can show off their ’67 Mustang or their ’66 GTO.
Inside Mike’s Place, a relaxed setting dotted with sports paraphernalia and a pool table, classic Italian-American recipes meet standard bar eats. As guests alternate bites of homemade lasagna and jumbo wings doused in 1 of 10 sauces, bartenders keep glasses brimming and campaign-finance-reform discussions to a minimum. On Friday nights, live musicians and DJs take center stage.
Most chefs get stage fright when customers are watching, but the fearless artisans at Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar concoct intricate Japanese dishes in plain view—either at tableside grills or just behind the sushi bar proper. Their collection of specialty maki exudes creativity and playfulness, from the deep-fried Godzilla roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crab meat to the Rainbow roll with fresh fish, avocado, and two wishes. Complete hibachi dinners satisfy hearty appetites and short attention spans with a choice of protein alongside soup, salad, vegetable, rice, and noodles—all prepared amusingly right at the table. Each location sports sleek and modern décor with accents such as bamboo walls or a back-lit bar glowing in chic blue or red tones.
Over 30 different flavors of tobacco waft through the air inside Heavenly Hookah Lounge, ranging from Caramel Apple to Gumball to Tiger's Blood. Friends can relax with single-hose through six-hose hookahs, which can also hold hydro tobacco and nicotine-free flavors.
At Bossa Nova, it’s okay to begin a meal with cupcakes. In the baked chicken cupcakes—one of many tapas plates on the menu—mashed potatoes are substituted for frosting, and there’s a garnish of sautéed zucchini. Such innovative recipes are mixed in with a number of classic ones; you can also try fried calamari, spicy tuna tartar wrapped in cucumber, and a bacon, brie, and potato sandwich. These dishes are centered on a communal dining experience, which encourages you to try whatever tapas plate your friend is eating without first pretending to have somehow misplaced your own. In addition to tapas, the kitchen serves up larger entrees such as Spanish chorizo and beef filet.
The restaurant's space is just as eclectic as the cuisine, with a circular bar covered in mosaic tiles acting as the centerpiece. Stop here to order wine and cocktails, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, guests head to the dance floor during DJ sets. Chandeliers and vibrant artwork surround the tables spread throughout the dining room, and there are nooks embedded into the walls if you want a more intimate setting.