The bar: Parkside Meadow
The breakdown: The bar address of 2 Russell St. holds a special place for those who liked inhaling beers near the Buffalo Zoo in the 1970s and ’80s. That’s when the unruly Park Meadow reigned for roaming locals, Canisius undergrads or anyone looking to be overserved mere steps away from leering giraffes. Today, the lively (yet respectfully contained) Parkside Meadow — opened late last summer — stands in its place. Complete with one of Buffalo’s most pristine collections of historical city artifacts, the place provides as much of an education on its walls as it does enjoyment via their eight locally focused drafts or celebrated sandwich menu. Whether en route to the Darwin Martin House or simply on a stroll through its neighborhood, visitors will find the new PM to be the perfect pit stop.
The beer: Pearl Street Gingerbread Cookie
The breakdown: For those looking for a liquefied gingerbread man in a pint glass, bad news: this isn’t it. You still have to actually like beer to like this moderate (5.4% ABV) selection from the same people who have dutifully delivered such selections as Trainwreck and Street Brawler Oatmeal Stout over the past decade. The English brown ale certainly introduces drinkers to the taste of ginger amid spices and hints of vanilla, but it doesn’t flow like a fistful of cookies. It sips easy and finishes smooth, all while introducing imbibers to a popular taste of the season.
Scavenger hunt: Want to pass an afternoon or evening inside the PM with friends? Devise a list of items found in the bar or dining room — whether a matchbook from Allcye’s Tavern, Seneca Liquor jug or the green Bells Whammy Weenie — you must locate in an allotted period of time. Slowest finish buys a round.
Raise a toast to: owners Nancy Abramo and Len Mattie. They devoted their hearts, souls and savings to painstakingly overhaul a defunct barbecue joint, turn it into Buffalo’s finest barstooled museum and, in the process, reintroduce the neighborhood tavern to Parkside.
When to go: Monday and Wednesday through Saturday for lunch or dinner; brunch on the Sundays; and whenever you’re interested in buying rounds over a relaxed run through Buffalo’s history.
Info: Parkside Meadow, 2 Russell St.; parksidemeadow.com or 834-8348.