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Good choice; The Buffalo Tap Room attracts a diverse crowd with great brew, food

After a round of golf on a sultry Sunday afternoon with my husband, Dan, and our friend, Chuck, we decided to relax and practice some revisionist links history at one of our favorite watering holes in the burbs.

Tucked in the corner of a plaza on Eggert Road at Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda sits the Buffalo Tap Room and Grill, a spacious restaurant and bar, divided into separate rooms, ideal for keeping the bar chatter from folks enjoying a meal in the dining room.

Chuck's friend, Marie, joined us at the U-shaped wooden bar, giving us a perfect view of the lively bar area and the 16 flat-screen televisions flanking the walls showing everything from sports to news to the TLC Channel.

After hydrating with some ice water and lemon, I opted for a glass of Blackstone Merlot ($6.95). The smooth, dry red vino had a nice finish and smoothed over some of the frustration about my consistently inconsistent golf game. Dan went for his standard gin and tonic, a bargain at $3, while Chuck had one of the Tap Room's most popular beers, an amber ale, light and refreshing without a heavy hoppy taste ($4.25). Marie opted for an iced tea and an order of wings.

The efficient and pleasant bartender, Lauren, explained that the full menu is available at the bar, so the guys and I ordered salads and pasta. I plowed into a Grilled Portobello Salad, a huge serving that was chock-full of mushrooms, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and feta cheese (my request) over a veritable garden of baby field greens ($9.99). Dan opted for a meal in a salad, too, selecting the Chicken Pesto Salad, which included grilled chicken with light pesto, grated cheese and tomatoes over those tender field greens. For $2.49, we enjoyed a large chunk of Pasta Bread, made with pizza dough, olive oil, and served hot out of the oven. The luscious bread is usually served with pasta, hence the name. Chuck barely made a dent in his ravioli and meatballs before declaring himself sated.

As we ate, I asked Lauren about the biggest beer seller in the summer, the Strawberry Blonde brew. Lauren offered to let me taste it; much to my delight, the beer was light, refreshing and ice cold. That didn't deter me from going back to the grape so I ordered a glass of the Tap Room's other new premium red wine, a Francis Ford Coppola cabernet ($7.95). I'm glad the wine list was recently upgraded, although I can't wait to try the new frozen specialty drinks ranging from Patron Rita's ($7.50) to Spiced Hot Chocolate, Frozen Whipped Chocolate, Frozen Irish Coffee, Whipped Mango Mania, Cherry Berry Delight and Strawberry Daiquiris, each a cool $6.

As we listened to Bob Seger and a host of other classic rock tunes emanating from the electronic juke box, the conversation and golf analysis flowed as easily as the drinks. I was struck by the diversity of the Tap Room's clientele: twentysomethings playing darts, a senior and her daughter sitting at a corner bistro table enjoying a pizza, a bunch of duffers like us winding down the weekend in a place that has plenty of beer and a big welcome mat on tap.


Buffalo Tap Room and Grill / 2309 Eggert Road, Tonawanda 832-6054

Scene: A friendly bar with an atmosphere made comfortable for regulars and newcomers.

Drinks: Wide variety of beer, including 21 on tap, custom-made craft brews, wide array of spirits, upscale and house wine, and five new 15-ounce frozen specialty drinks.

Specials: Happy hour seven days a week, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 4 to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Dress code: Casual, sporty, lots of summer duds. Music: Touch Tunes jukebox.

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