Running around in the Buff
I love running around in the Buff. No matter what the weather and at least once a year; I bounce around in the Buff. Just going from place to place. I try to stay in the Buff for at least three days, if I can take it. It can really wear out your body.
The Buff is my nickname for Buffalo, New York. Let’s face it; not the first place people think of as a party town. When I tell people with that I am excited about shuffling off to Buffalo for a weekend, they think I am being sarcastic. Or sadistic. But I really mean it.
This is a hard drinking, chicken wing-eating town with a blue-collar reputation. And there are plenty of those places worth noting. But what may surprise some is that this town is full of upscale places that would fit in any big city. For example:
This popular Delaware Street restaurant is not only the best restaurant in Buffalo; it is one of the best restaurants in America. How Mark Hutchinson and staff turn out such wonderful dishes out of a kitchen the size of a closet is mind-boggling. Trained at among others the Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas, Hutch brings a southwestern flair to many of the appetizers and entrees.
A swanky bar and bistro for the late night crowd. But be forewarned, some of the patrons fight before they get to the bar. Mother’s is a popular hangout for the Buffalo Sabers’ hockey team.
The Crocodile Bar
One of the many great happening places on Chippewa Street - formerly Rick James Boulevard before he got super-freaked up on crack - the Crocodile rocks late into the night. You’ll remember (maybe?) a few short hours later that bars stay open until 4 AM in Buffalo.
One of the first of the redo bars on Chippewa, SoHo is a popular two level bar. The bottom floor is full of good-looking people, pulsating music and flat screen TVs. Upstairs is an outdoor patio bar that provides a panoramic view of the Chippewa Street party area in the spring, summer, and fall, that is.
One of Buffalo’s oldest bars, the new ownership The Rendezvous has re-established the place. The original Rendezvous opened at the end of prohibition and fell victim to the urban blight of the area around Niagara and Pennsylvania. But now that it is hip to be downtown again, the Rendezvous is redone with interesting food, an outdoor patio and live music almost every night.
Frank and Teressa ‘s Anchor Bar
Where the first chicken gave his wings to start the biggest explosion in bar appetizers since the salted peanut.
Tons of tap handles in this corner bar that always has action. It is a great place to watch a ballgame, and a solid place for happy hour.
Home to one of the great sandwiches in America, Schwab’s in West Seneca should be in the sandwich Hall of Fame. The spotless little house has been serving the delicious Beef on Weck, a thinly sliced Roast Beef on a salty Kimmelweck Roll, that for generations and there is no better served in the Buff. Women in white waitress dresses serve you. A Tom & Jerry can is available at the bar during the winter. During the summer, an ice cold Blue or Canadian helps wash down the sandwich, horseradish and hot German potato salad. No take out.
Another popular West Seneca hangout serving very solid wings that is home to not one but two outdoor volleyball courts complete with sand. Tournaments are held throughout the summer. I think the back becomes a parking lot for snowmobiles in the winter.
Believe it or not, Tony Rome’s (not Roma’s) sign outside the place says “A Great Place for Ribs”. How do they get away with that without getting sued? A great West Seneca sports bar that has a lotto machine behind the bar. Get lucky, and you’ve paid your bar tab with a little extra to take home.
No trip to Buffalo is complete without a trip across the Niagara River on the Peace Bridge to Ft. Erie, Canada.
The Alley Bar
Down a driveway in Ft. Erie sets a place with a couple of roll up doors and a big bar with pool tables inside. Every Saturday is a pool tournament, or so the wives are told. I’ve never seen a stick chalked. People head their cars down the driveway in front of the Alley Bar and yell in if they’ve seen Ned or Joe or Hassie. It was the first time I had ever witnessed a drive-by “shouting”.¯
John and Guy run a friendly little bar and restaurant where you can talk anything from hockey to thoroughbreds. Home of the “just one more.”¯ Pretty bar maids are a tradition at the Plaice, but be forewarned: one of them is John’s daughter.
It may seem a bit much to try to hit all of these places in one weekend, but it can be done. Trust me. You should see the list of places I left off. But use this list of great joints as a guide. You don’t want to be caught naked in the Buff. - D.M.
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