The idea was to head deep into Depew to check out a bar at which I’d seen some friends’ bands play a few years ago. The bar, tucked into the corner of Ellicott Place and Hinchey Avenue, was a great venue for live entertainment – complete with a stage.
I was looking forward to a return to Ellicott Manor, but when I arrived, something was different.
The name and ownership had changed. Now called Rafferty’s Bar & Grill, the establishment at 16 Ellicott Place features a new menu and drink specials.
Regulars chatted about how, toward the end of Ellicott Manor’s run, bands weren’t invited in anymore. But that, too, has changed. What a waste of a perfectly good stage otherwise.
Upon looking at the full menu, which features wings, sandwiches, burgers and more, I recognized the name and offerings and verified with the bartender that this venue has the same ownership as Rafferty’s Irish Pub in Cheektowaga.
Both taverns offer relaxed atmospheres in which to enjoy drinks after a long day at work, to meet up with friends or to catch the game. They feature spacious bar areas, additional seating for dining, darts and Quick Draw.
The clientele also is similar. Couples at the end of the bar cuddling and kissing. Friends splitting buckets while battling for the title of best at bar games. Older gentlemen at the bar chatting up the cute bartender while she balances everything, from serving drinks to cooking orders, with a smile.
While only the Depew location has a pool table, the Cheektowaga site boasts a claw machine with stuffed animals up for grabs. A friend had warned me in the past that such a toy mixed with alcohol could be a dangerously expensive combination. I had my husband, Patrick, keep me in check by cutting me off at $5. I spent my allowance for five chances at a prize with nothing to show for it.
Both locations offer great specials, including three-for-$5 buckets of domestic bottled beers, Taco Tuesdays (Cheektowaga) and Taco Wednesdays (Depew) from 4 to 8 p.m. and sports/seasonal specials.
The Irish Pub in Cheektowaga features eight beers on tap, yet I was disappointed that an Irish red or Guinness weren’t among them. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat made up for it, though. It’s one of my favorites, but oftentimes I can’t even find it in a bottle. Other drafts include Brooklyn Summer Ale, Flying Bison Blizzard, Yuengling Lager, Labatt Blue, Molson Canadian, Bud Light and Coors Light.
The Bar & Grill’s draft selection is smaller, with Sam Adams seasonal, Southern Tier IPA, Blue and Bud Light.
Patios at both bars are open seasonally, and both welcome parties such as stags, birthdays and bachelor/bachelorette. This is evident at the Irish Pub, where the cathedral ceiling holds twin fans with old, helium-filled balloons still tangled in their blades, remnants of good times past.
If you prefer a little more hustle and bustle, choose the Harlem Road location. If you want a more “hidden gem” feel, get out the map app and discover the Ellicott Place location. Either way, you’ll find a fun pub experience.
Where: Rafferty’s Irish Pub, 2794 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga (895-0615); and Rafferty’s Bar & Grill, 16 Ellicott Place, Depew (684-5404). raffertysbar.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 4 a.m. Sunday at the Cheektowaga location. Hours are the same at the Depew site, except for the 2 a.m. Sunday closings.
Dress code: Both bars are definitely the jeans-and-T-shirts types. Come in your comfy clothes and relax.
Wheelchair accessible: No.
Extras: Cash only at the Cheektowaga location, $15 minimum credit card purchase at the Depew location; live entertainment for the Depew crowd.