Have you ever walked into an old-school neighborhood bar, the kind of place with regulars whose orders are known before they even sit down, and felt as unwelcome as a hungry Darcy Regier at the 716 Food Truck?
If so, you know what an awkward, eyes-widening experience that can be. That’s why I can safely recommend you visit Lancaster’s Green Buffalo Pub, a bar that can only be described as wonderfully welcoming.
Located at the busy village intersection of Lake Avenue and Como Park, Green Buffalo is a place I had driven by many times over the years. But I never made it inside until a recent happy hour. My brother and I sidled up to the bar, which also included a boisterous group of 50- or 60-somethings.
I knew we had made a solid choice when I noticed two specific posters on the wall. Now, there are images of musical legends all around the Green Buffalo, including posters of Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia, but I’m not talking about those.
No offense to Bob and Jerry, but the two that grabbed me were Neil Young and “The Last Waltz.” The latter, a poster for Martin Scorsese’s legendary document of the Band’s epic final show, is a gem. But Young took the prize, since this was the stunning painting from the cover of his self-titled 1969 debut.
This is not my favorite Young record – clearly it’s “Trans” … alright, it’s “On the Beach” – but that memorable cover art makes it a personal favorite, and a lovely bit of decoration.
Looking around the establishment one spots various pieces of Irish charm as well as scores of local sports memorabilia, including old Sabres tickets above the bar. (I also love the jammed-together poetry of the sign outside: “WORK IS THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASS KITCHEN OPEN DRINK SPECIALS.”)
The beer menu, it must be said, is limited. But it was hard to complain since the happy hour deals were so exceptional. Two beers? Five bucks. I opted for a Flying Bison Rusty Chain ($2.50) and noticed other advertised deals for each day of the week, including $2 bottles from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Three TVs blasted news of “Deflategate” – no wonder we were all in such good spirits – while a pool table and Touch Tunes went, well, untouched. The bar started to fill up while we moved on to our second beers, and suddenly a dog appeared on the scene. (Fittingly, it was a friendly dog.)
By the time the Schobert boys were ready to depart (yes, I’m referring to my 40-year-old brother and 35-year-old self as “boys”), the Green Buffalo was hopping. We went on our way knowing this was a spot we might visit again.
The Green Buffalo Pub is an unassuming treat, and one of those epitome-of-Western New York bars that can be enjoyed by visitors from 21 to 71. That’s no exaggeration; I’m pretty sure I spotted a 21-year-old and a 71-year-old during my visit, and they could not have looked happier.
Green Buffalo Pub
Where: 165 Lake Ave., Lancaster (681-4414)
Scene: An unassuming old-school WNY bar.
On tap: Flying Bison, Yuengling, Guinness, Magic Hat, Labatt Blue and Bud Light.