When Brick House Tavern + Tap arrived in Western New York in June 2011, the Maple Road establishment appeared to be a slightly higher-class Hooters, if that makes any sense, intent on outfitting its servers in the tightest-fitting clothes possible. But even with such menu items as “ ‘double d’ cup cakes” and “submissive baked potato soup,” the Brick House was not quite as, well, obvious as a Hooters.
Fast forward a few years and those signifiers are gone. Today, the Brick House is drawing larger crowds than ever before, for reasons that have nothing to do with attire.
There is the lengthy beer list, for one, plus the fireplace-and-sofa-meets-sports-bar atmosphere, and a relatively wide-ranging menu. Its location, smack dab on that stretch of Maple Road between the University at Buffalo North Campus and Niagara Falls Boulevard, also helps.
My wife and I visited with another couple on a recent Saturday and we found a packed house of pleased patrons. The crowd encompassed both genders and all ages, families, kids on dates, and just about everything in between.
I had not been to the Brick in some time, and was taken aback by the range of diners; in my mind, the Hooters aesthetic lingered. But our friends had visited recently, and as we sat they affirmed that if that had been the case at some point, it is not today.
They were right. Our quartet had a fine time, and I especially enjoyed the beer list.
It nicely included a few local-ish selections – Ellicottville Blueberry, Flying Bison Blackbird Stout (not on tap). Starred as “local,” but in actuality not what one would call Western New York beers, were Ithaca Flower Power, Ommegang Hennepin, and, in a real stretch, Brooklyn Lager. I was pleased to see Victory HopDevil on tap, as well as Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale.
The list also included some “beer with a kick” picks, including the seasonal favorite Shandy, and a fun trio of cans highlighted by Frank Booth’s favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, for $2.50. Giant beer bongs could be spotted at several tables of gents.
We were seated by a roaring fire, and yes, it was warm. Our seat offered adequate views of several of the TVs dotted throughout the restaurant.
Happily, the Brick House Tavern + Tap has moved beyond the Hooters trappings and is, today, an above-average chain sports bar. It does not score many points for originality, but any place that offers cans of PBR for $2.50 gets my seal of approval.
Brick House Tavern + Tap
Where: 4120 Maple Road, Amherst (834-1490)
Scene: A comfortable, spacious suburban sports/bar restaurant with a lengthy beer and drink list.
On tap: A lengthy list that includes Ellicottville Blueberry, several Flying Bison selections, Ithaca Flower Power, Ommegang Hennepin, Victory HopDevil, Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale, and many others. Oh, and $2.50 cans of PBR.
Music: A mix of classic rock (Led Zeppelin), hair-metal (Motley Crüe), pop-rock hits (One Republic), and a few pleasant surprises (the Clash’s “Magnificent Seven”).
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight on Sunday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.