439 Delaware Ave.
Scene: Big city
Music: House and trance spun by a DJ
Best nights to go: Monday, Friday, Saturday
Drinks: A selection that could create sensory overload
Dress code: A little dressy, but don't overdo it
Next week: Macaroon's
Away from Chippewa Street, there are places that breath life back into an otherwise generic bar scene. Prespa, located off the beaten track at 439 Delaware Ave., is just one of those places.
Creating an environment that is hard to find in Western New York, Prespa has crafted the look and feel of a big-city establishment with a bit of a European flair. Unlike many bars in Buffalo, Prespa avoids coming across as a poor imitator of places found in Toronto or New York. It's not quite a bar, a lounge or a club, but a mixture of all three.
Prespa's signage might be a bit misleading. The lone sign illuminating PBR in the front window is not indicative of what awaits inside. (Though it does have Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap). Once you open the doors and cross the entranceway, expect to be taken aback. That's because Prespa offers 72 beers for your drinking pleasure, often introducing a new selection of beers into its rotation.
After entering, I discovered five low tables with two couches surrounding each, and candles accompanying every one. There are also two booths in the windows in the front. The dim lighting appeals to those looking for a more intimate setting. And if you get there early enough, you might be able to find a sweet spot to tip back a few. Though there is also plenty of space toward the rear of the building, where you'll locate the bar itself.
That's also where you'll unearth the enormous wealth of beers available, written clearly on two tablets to the right of the bar. When I first saw the list, I thought I knew what Moses must have felt like when he was presented the Ten Commandments. For a split second I even thought I heard angels singing in the distance.
I decided to start the evening off with a John Courage. The bartender offered a menu. I didn't order anything, but the options were truly impressive. There were paninis, crepes, salads, and a respectable list of martinis, champagne cocktails, and wines. Food is served until 1 a.m. and there is a waitress working on weekdays. Otherwise, order at the bar.
Prespa attracts various crowds. In the early-evening hours, lawyers and business people can be found unwinding from their workdays. Come nighttime, the 20s and 30s crowd is out in force. But don't let that make you feel like you need to go out and buy a $90 shirt to feel comfortable.
A huge draw to Prespa is its reputation for offering the best house and trance music in town. There is a DJ on hand to spin every Monday, Friday and Saturday nights. A good DJ is a commodity is often overlooked in a city where too many clubs play the same mainstream radio music. While there weren't too many people dancing on a recent night, the music was still a nice touch.
Even if you're not into the DJ scene, there's still a great assortment of food, beer and ambience to consider a return visit.