Hertel Avenue’s Mès Que is more than a television-lined sports bar.
The European-style bistro has a rotating list of impressive craft drafts and copper-mugged cocktails. Its paninis, salads and rice plates are ideal for both young and older diners looking to eat healthy aside exposed brick and warm wooden interiors.
[PHOTO GALLERY: Hertel Avenue’s Mès Que]
And situated amid a North Buffalo strip that features coffee shops, clothing boutiques and the gloriously iconic North Park Theatre, its location is prime for passing foot traffic and a drink stop between social opportunities.
But luckily for Buffalo area soccer fans, the locale’s four flat screens are regularly tuned in to what Brazilian forward Pelé famously referred to as “the beautiful game.” And with this action projected and pulsating within its barroom, the multicolored scarf-draped Mès Que has established itself as the Queen City’s official headquarters for match play happening in the U.S. or elsewhere—no matter the time.
Champions League action on a Tuesday afternoon? It’s on. A Friday night friendly between USA and Jamaica? Featured. The legendary Scottish Premiership rivalry between Rangers and Celtic Football Club at 8 a.m. on a Sunday? Covered, along with a litany of other games all day and night; and enough Carlsberg on tap to carry fans through the drama.
Whatever the match-up, local fans can count on Mès Que to feature the game audio and action, and to host it all within a congenial and multicultural environment that encourages absolute soccer immersion—even for those who don’t care about the teams, games or most of the action.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the bar for a Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter ($5) in the middle of Emirates FA Cup action between Arsenal and Lincoln City. Despite a lifetime of organized or casual play, am I a devoted soccer fan? Not really. Do I care about Arsenal F.C. outside of its role in Nick Hornby’s literature? No.
But in the dedicated confines of Mès Que—with friendly Arsenal fans in the jerseys of players like midfielder Santi Cazorla and defender Héctor Bellerín—I was into the action.
Standing behind these visiting patrons and a small group of dedicated regulars, I watched a first half defensive standstill break with a one-timer from Arsenal forward Theo Walcott in the first minute of stoppage time. This was the first of five goals en route to a 5-0 Arsenal rout, making it a solid little Saturday for the bar’s red-clad contingent.
This camaraderie is an appreciated extra accompaniment inside an establishment whose name’s English translation is “more than.” And that’s certainly appropriate. In its role as the city’s preeminent soccer clubhouse, Mès Que is certainly much more than a quaint Buffalo bistro.
1420 Hertel Ave. (836-8800)
When: Hours of operation vary based on soccer schedule at mesque.com. Regular food service is 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Why: For international soccer action inside a European-style bistro—but in Buffalo.
Parking: Spots on Hertel, surrounding streets and nearby public lot.
Credit/debit accepted: Yes.
Beers on tap: 10
Beers in bottle: 48
Strong choice: Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
Game-day choice: Carlsberg Pilsner
Ditch the beer for: Four Roses Single-Barrel Bourbon, neat.
Breakfast bar: Looking for important match play at odd hours of the morning or evening? Mès Que may have the action, so call ahead for the bar’s game schedule.
And if you forget your team scarf: No problem. Various team scarves hang on the bar’s coat hooks for fans looking to wrap their necks in their favorite club’s colors.
Drink specials: Bar menu of European pub favorites, five different ciders and an inventive craft cocktail list is special enough.
And if you hate sports: Enjoy the bar’s bistro backdrop or front patio (weather permitting) before transitioning to an ever-growing list of Hertel hot spots.