A blistering Tuesday had eased into a mellow, comfortable sunset as we pulled into the gravel parking lot of Heroes tavern. Connie (our bartender) joined the entire bar crowd outside, tipping back bottles of beer and roasting hot dogs on the small stone patio in front of the bustling traffic on Main Street in Williamsville. We moseyed in to the cool, cavernous dark inside and ordered two Budweisers, a double of Cutty Sark on the rocks and a vodka and tea for $14.
Van Halen's "Poundcake" ushers in the evening on the radio as Drew and I reminisced about bars gone by and the last time we came to Heroes almost four years ago. We eyed up food prices on the dry-erase board on the wall, grabbed some Michelobs from Connie and caught some baseball on one of their three televisions. Elvis stared back at us from a novelty clock/guitar resting up against the mirror behind the bar. In the front corner (alongside a video golf machine) there's a framed poster of the King. Beyond a pool table that has seen its share of games hangs a street sign emblazoned with "Elvis Presley Boulevard."
A thirsty landscaper along the rail argued the financial and political woes of Buffalo in long form, and Drew nodded along patiently. Andee (the bartender who takes over at shift change) challenged Drew to a game of pool and slowly trounces him.
Someone at the end of the bar bought shots all around, and the crew downed a quick gulp of Southern Comfort straight up. I played the winner (Andee) in pool and won on a technicality.
The bathroom has a clean latrine and a missing cold-water knob on the sink. I took another cigarette break outside as the decorative lights intertwined with the patio posts glistened. A couple of guys showed up and monopolized the pool table, while Drew and I scarfed down a small but delicious $4 single order of wings.
Heroes is a textbook example of not judging a book by its cover. Much like the Old Pink, Bobby McGee's and scores of other classic Buffalo haunts, it's rough around the edges and the clientele looks questionable, but it's all a facade. If you look past the mirage, there's an interesting bar and a great group of people inside who are more than willing to hoist a drink, buy you a shot and let you win poorly at a game of pool.
6621 Main St., Williamsville
Scene: The salt of the earth rub elbows with some of the most attractive bartenders on the planet. A healthy diet of regulars and a steady influx of curious bar hoppers.
Music: Karaoke on Wednesdays, 97 Rock on the radio and a state of the art jukebox.
Dress Code: Work clothes, jeans and whatever you left the house in.
Drinks: If it's not a shot or a beer, they don't have it and you probably don't want it anyway.