Spring is here, and we got a head start by joining a standing-room-only crowd on a Saturday with a down-to-earth cross section of folks in Grover's Bar and Grill. After grumpily opting out of a 20-minute wait at 8 o'clock and returning an hour later, my girlfriend and I saddled up to the bar and ordered a pitcher of Coors Light, a double of Jamison on the rocks and a plain iced tea. I give Pattie (the only bartender, working the steady crowd like a champ) a $20 bill and get $4 back. In most (if not all) circles, this is what's known as a great value.
My old roommate Chuck showed up and helped me work on my pitcher of Coors, while my girlfriend ordered the Grover burger (an ample sandwich with Angus Beef for $7). The bar crowd seemed too focused on their drinks and the small talk to pay any mind to the Sabres game on TV. I grabbed a smoke on the miniature wooden patio away from the drizzle outside, and a small gaggle of suits came in to trade success stories in a loud-mouthed octave over some cabernet. They fit in to the general population of the establishment as well as a platypus at a penguin convention. They did the salesperson thing and stood in the middle of the bar to trade loud, brash anecdotes over posh wine and fraternity whiskey.
Lindsay and I finished our meals and wound down. The clientele thinned out as we neared 11 o'clock, and Pattie was engaged in a flurry of activity, cleaning glasses and restocking straws and napkins during her down time. The pitcher was gone, and neither of us had to work the next day, so I fired up the jukebox and ordered a pint of Guinness and two chilled shots of Waterford Reserve. The 15-year-old bourbon was smoky and smooth, and it complemented the heady stout nicely.
I got a little misty listening to "Maggie May" and made friends with a patron whose name also happens to be Chuck. Together, we goofed on the suits -- who had since departed.
Grover's isn't a place where you put on airs. That (along with the solid customer service) is what makes it so appealing to those of us who don't go out as much as we used to.
Grover's Bar and Grill
9160 Transit Road, East Amherst
Scene: Laid-back baby boomers, blue-collar folks and families looking for a good meal
Music: A well researched and eclectic jukebox
Drinks: More than 20 domestic and imported bottle and tap beers. A decent selection of wines and liquors
Dress Code: Ultra casual and dress down