The Williamsville Bar & Grill (formerly Heroes) is a modest yet inviting corner bar where anyone would feel welcome -- and it's off the charts with an attractive staff. Combine that with dirt-cheap bottled beer specials and a full sit-down menu and this establishment's got a formula for long-term success.
Chris and I parked effortlessly into a full capacity gravel parking lot on a Friday night and navigated a path to the only open spot at a horseshoe-shaped bar. Connie brought us four $2 bottles of Blue Light and two generous doubles of Bushmill's Irish whiskey on the rocks for a cool $16. While most bars have Jameson on deck as the industry standard for de facto whiskey, Bushmill's has a crisp bite on the palate that's noticeably pleasing. Connie was a firecracker, shucking and jiving from one end of the bar to the next filling drink orders efficiently and expediently.
Elton John's "Social Disease" (a perfect ballad for a night out at a corner bar if ever there was one) played softly in the background while the majority of the throng was three people deep at the bar glued to a Sabres game, so we adjourned to one of a fleet of comfortable stained wooden booths kitty corner to the main entrance.
Two modest flat-screen televisions on the wall broadcast the action from the game while a trio of burly guys hoisted their bottles in unison. Two other men in their mid-20s focused intently on a round of darts facing the front corner flush with the bar. The rabble of the crowd was loud and lively without drowning out the friendly aura of the interior. We ordered a triple batch of wings ($18.95) extra hot, medium and Italian-style. While the extra-hots weren't especially spicy, the sauce was delicious with a hint of barbecue that lingered on the tongue.
A shift change hit around 9 p.m. and Andee took over behind the bar. Men with formal pressed shirts and dress slacks whooped it up next to construction workers with well-worn company logo shirts. Affluent couples hobnobbed at tables in the raised dining area just to the left of the bar while all of us enjoy our evenings harmoniously.
Chris and I retired to a gated concrete patio for a cigarette and started conversations with two other smokers about the history of the bar. Many moons ago, Heroes used to be my default bar for that final nightcap after a rigorous evening of clubbing downtown.
The Williamsville Bar & Grill captures the same comfort level while adding a diverse and affordable menu in addition to a superlative upgrade on the seating and the scenery. Oh, and let's not forget the endless procession of runway modelesque servers and bartenders. For a corner tavern on a suburban stretch full of corporate chains and local pubs with a homogenized "me-too" mentality in terms of interior design and patrons, this is one much-needed establishment for working-class heroes with a working-class budget.
Williamsville Bar & Grill
6621 Main St., Williamsville 634-1657
Scene: A working-class hero's shot and a beer bar. Sit-down dinners at affordable prices.
Drinks: Happy hour specials from 3 to 7 p.m. Bottled beer and a diverse selection of hard liquor.
Dress Code: Jeans, T-shirts or work outfits on the commute home.
Music: 97 Rock on the loudspeakers or an Internet jukebox.