There is a certain type of bar in Western New York that screams suburbanite, that reeks of the working class and whose charm lies in its simplicity.
That, my friends, is the Green Buffalo Pub in Lancaster in a nutshell. It is the prototypical suburban Western New York gin mill. Therein lies the establishment's main selling point, as well as what makes it pretty unmemorable for anyone who is not already a regular.
This became clear the moment our small gang walked in the door. Seven or eight faces, all male, all over age 35, craned their necks to take a gander and didn't appear to be too impressed by what they saw. I half expected a tumbleweed to blow by.
Inside, there's a large seating area with tables and chairs, an ample bar and an abundance of ways to pass the time: a pool table, three dartboards, a hunting arcade game (for those who wish to drink booze and pretend to fire a gun), air hockey and some other type of bright, garish game involving prizes (this seemed too involved to comprehend, and a little out of place). Clearly, there's a lot to do here. There just weren't many people doing it.
One interesting detail was a sign on the front door: "NO COLORS." We witnessed no gang activity on this night, and thankfully, I'd left my novelization of the 1987 Sean Penn-Robert Duvall flick at home. Phew!
On this night, our Buffalo Sabres were facing off with the Montreal Canadiens, and the GBP -- which, I'm told, is the Green Buffalo Pub's nickname among area younger folk -- offered up a nice, large television for viewing, along with several smaller sets spread out among the bar.
The game was a disappointing affair, with the Sabres downed, 5-2. The crowd actually grew as the game went on, but with the Habs pulling away, the whole room had a bummed-out air to it.
One member of our group had been to the GBP before and said this was not really a typical night. She said it is often very busy, and "there are nights when there's a younger crowd, too."
A few things that must be said:
1. The computerized jukebox looked excellent, even if the only songs I heard played pre-hockey game were "Legs" by ZZ Top and "Sail Away" by Styx. When we entered, the bar was rather quiet. Suddenly, "Sail Away" blasted through the speakers at ear-bleeding volume, as if to drive us away. The music stopped, though, once the puck was dropped.
2. The GBP does not take credit cards. Bring cash.
3. The men's room toilet paper dispenser was pretty mind-blowing, a chrome, vertical device that resembled a milkshake maker. Interesting.
4. A food menu featured a nice, low-priced selection of some usual bar treats like wings and pizza logs.
5. Several drink specials are offered throughout the week, including $2 Coronas on Tuesdays and good happy hour deals on Fridays.
6. The no smoking law was being strictly enforced. As any Buffalo bar crawler knows, this is not always the case.
There was even an "everybody knows your name moment," as a regular entered midway through the third period. "Dan!," cried out several folks, in unison. This is likely a frequent occurrence.
That little scene sums up the Green Buffalo Pub nicely. It seemed to be a place for regulars, but I don't think the GBP is geared toward twenty-somethings with horn-rimmed glasses. Leave your colors at home, and the Green Buffalo Pub should fill the bill for a night on the tiles.
Green Buffalo Pub
165 Lake Ave., Lancaster
Scene: Typical suburban gin mill
Music: Solid jukebox, with the usual barroom favorites
Dress Code: Carhartt jackets, work boots, jeans