The Marriott on Millersport in Amherst is a place I've passed by hundreds of times. It sits seconds away from the University at Buffalo North Campus, yet during my almost four years at the college, neither I, nor any of my friends, have ever stepped foot inside it. I often heard rumors of what goes on there, and a certain radio commercial cemented my decision to check out the nightclub that's part of the hotel's restaurant, Houlihan's.
A breathy female voice rang through my car speakers one day, something like: drink specials so insane, we can't even announce them on the radio!
Two of my friends and boyfriend ventured in on a Saturday night, intrigued and ready to drink on the cheap. We got so much more than we bargained for.
Houlihan's bars, two of them, were laid out on tiers. A smaller bar and mirrored dance floor encircled the top level, while the large main bar was centered in the bottom.
I was there for those elusive specials. That evening, the trio of bartenders was busy slinging $2 drafts of Labatt and Michelob Light, and $2.50 homemade margaritas -- frozen or on the rocks. Tanya served me a frothy drink infused with lime and sour mix while letting me know that the club "wasn't that busy in the summer."
It sure looked busy to me, with a packed dance floor nicely balanced by ample seating in the form of comfortable booths and intimate, two-person tables. Don't worry if your moves aren't exactly up to date or even coordinated; the rules of this dance floor seemed to be anything goes. A group of ladies in their mid-30s grooved their hips energetically to Nelly's "Hot in Herre," while a lone woman displayed motions that probably haven't been spotted since Woodstock '69. No one cared -- fun seemed to be had by all.
Maybe a little too much fun, as my party watched from the safety of a booth as an inebriated man with a rather insulting T-shirt was whisked away by four bald-headed bouncers.
The excitement seemed to peak around 1:30 a.m., and by 2 a.m. (last call is usually 2:30), infomercials began to air on the smallish televisions; no one seemed concerned with turning them off.
Although the scene lost steam fairly early for a Saturday night in Western New York, Houlihan's is worth checking out if you're looking for "insane" drink specials, three-martini flights ($9) and a three-to-one ratio of women to men. "What happens in Houlihan's stays in Houlihan's" seems to be an appropriate tagline for the revelry we witnessed.
1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst (in the Buffalo Niagara Marriott)
Scene: A late-20s to middle-age crowd of regulars and hotel patrons -- possibly some wedding guests looking to extend the partyMusic: Top 40 and classic singalongs spun by a DJ
Drinks: Inexpensive nightly specials including margaritas. Tasty martinis, too!
Dress Code: Sub-casual (ie: cut-off shorts) to uber-formal