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Going home to Gordon's North Buffalo tavern is a neighborly place

The term "neighborhood bar" can conjure up images of Moe's Tavern from "The Simpsons" -- a dingy, hole-in-the-wall establishment where old men meet their friends to drink away the hours and grumble about life.

When strangers walk into these dimly lit watering holes, music and conversation stop abruptly and everyone inside turns to stare at the interlopers.

But the best neighborhood bars are comfortable spots where friends can go to have a beer at a fair price, without the deafening club music and the pressure of the mating dance.

The Chippewa scene has its place, but sometimes you just want to hang out, eat some wings and watch the game.

On a night like that, Gordon's fits as well as that old Buffalo Bills 1988 AFC Champions sweatshirt in your closet.

Gordon's is located at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Tioga Street, in North Buffalo, in a building that's housed a tavern of some sort for decades.

We stopped by on a recent Tuesday night to watch the Sabres take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was Dave Andreychuk night in Tampa, and in honor of the plodding ex-Sabre the bar was slow to fill up at first. But patrons kept trickling in and filled the place with a relatively young, casually dressed crowd of people who seemed to know everyone else there.

The young crowd defied the townie-bar stereotype of the gray-haired barfly, with more men than women but enough women to make it interesting.

People were drinking beer for the most part, quaffing pints of Labatt Blue and bottles of Blue light, with a few customers ordering mixed drinks that were featured specials.

We ordered a burger (good), fries (very good) and wings (not quite Duff's, but good enough).

Gordon's has drink specials during Monday Night Football games and Bills games, and concerts on weekend nights and special occasions.

During breaks in the game we took in the rest of the tavern.

Spying an O.J. Simpson jersey, we started a spirited discussion with the bartender on whether O.J. should stay on Gordon's wall given his current infamy. She thought he should, because of his stellar gridiron career, but she said a few patrons in recent weeks have suggested taking it down.

In the second room at Gordon's, there's a giant-screen TV, a couple of dart boards and a popcorn machine that made us think of the late, lamented Ground Round restaurant.

We admired the pop icon posters in that room, featuring the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe and Johnny Cash.

I think they'd feel right at home at Gordon's. I know I did.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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