The advent of the Buffalo Sabres' season is an exciting time for the bars and restaurants within walking distance of the First Niagara Center. For 41 nights over the next six months, downtown Buffalo will be a bluster of blue and gold -- whether it's fans filing into the game or those looking to prove their "compete" at local watering holes.
Since the competition for business is stiff -- and constantly getting stiffer with the rise of the waterfront, the soon-to-open (716) restaurant and the flourishing Cobblestone District -- several bars have announced food and drink specials or game-day events to lure in patrons.
For the home opener, the Sabres face the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. at the First Niagara Center on Thursday, and here's a link to the season schedule.
Rundown of what we learned:
*Liberty Hound (One Naval Park Cove) & Lloyd Taco Trucks: The waterfront restaurant announced a partnership with Lloyd, in which Liberty Hound's kitchen will close before Sabres games and the bar will remain open. The popular lime-green food truck will vend two hours before puck-drop for every home game, perhaps for the entire season but certainly through Thanksgiving. For now, the collaboration will only occur during the pregame window.
Lloyd will not have any Sabres-specific specials to start, but will carry the usual assortment of tacos, burritos and its daily special, while Liberty Hound will not offer any drink specials.
*Pearl Street Grill & Brewery (76 Pearl St.): $3.50 pints of Labatt Blue will be available post-game only, whether you're celebrating Sam Reinhart's immaculate debut or drowning away the disappointment of a Ryan Johansen hat-trick. This drink deal also applies to Brawler's Back-Alley Deli, located in the basement of Pearl Street.
*Handlebar (149 Swan St.): The new downtown bar takes a clever spin on specials, adding a $7 Slapshot Cocktail (Loganberry whiskey sour) to the beverage list. In the event of a Sabres win -- we'll probably see at least a few of those this year -- $2 Zamboni shots will be served for a half-hour following the final horn.
What's in a Zamboni, you ask? It's a mystery, but the shot will be served in an iced shot glass. (Hint: It's not real bits of Jhonas Enroth's game-worn gloves).
*Cobblestone (130 South Park Ave.): Bucket specials for Molson and Miller Lite, which includes five beers for $20. Also worth noting: the restaurant has recently introduced a blazing-hot brick oven, so naturally brick-oven pizzas are now on the menu. Prices vary by type.
*The Archer (268 Main St., Suite 101): They may boast a chalk drawing of the Sabres' "slug" logo outside of their restaurant, but the Archer offers attractive game-day specials: 10 wings and two draft beers for $12; $5 pitchers of draft beer; and $2 pints. If you happen to work downtown or attend a local college, present your work badge or your school ID for half-off appetizers from 5 to 6 p.m.
*Washington Square (295 Washington St.): The haunt near Coca-Cola Field will announce more specifics on their double-order of wings and their beef on weck tomorrow, as well as pitcher specials, but here's what we know for sure: six splits (7 ounces) of Rolling Rock and a bucket of ice run for $14.
*The Sabres Party in the Plaza runs in the pavilion next to the First Niagara Center (between the parking ramp and the side entrance) from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Beer and food will be available for purchase, and a game ticket is not required for entrance.
Buffalo Iron Works, Lagerhaus 95, Ballyhoo and Swannie House relayed that all menu items will remain at their regular prices for Sabres games.
Story topics: Ballyhoo Links & Drinks/ bars/ Brawler's Deli/ Buffalo Sabres/ Cobblestone/ drink specials/ Handlebar/ Liberty Hound/ lloyd taco trucks/ Pearl Street Grill and Brewery/ restaurants/ The Archer