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Long happy hours, outdoor games set Press Box apart

There we were, ready for a rowdy, preholiday weekend bar experience. Notebook in hand, I headed to the Press Box sports bar on Abbott Road in Lackawanna – only to find that for most people, the weekend included a Monday off from work, not a Friday off.

However, at the Press Box, the lack of crowds didn’t spoil the atmosphere. My boyfriend, David, and I strolled in and grabbed two stools at the bar; David going for a classic Shock Top – the draft of the month – and me requesting an EBC Blueberry. The bar features a fantastically long happy hour from noon through 6 p.m. each day, so both pints were just $3.50.

As we sipped, we also enjoyed an order of “The Blues,” a delicious variety of loaded fries involving bacon, blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onions and mild, medium or hot sauce.

Our bartender, Kevin, was attentive, friendly and full of helpful information. He told us the Press Box’s full menu, including burgers, sandwiches, wings and appetizers, is available every night until 2 a.m., making it an attractive option for the normal dinner crowd as well as anyone harboring a late-night case of the munchies.

Formerly Woody’s, the Press Box opened in spring 2014. Sporting a new, polished look, there is a long bar, a patio and lots of inside seating, with both pub-style and regular tables available. Either live music or a DJ is featured most Friday and Saturday nights.

The beers on tap rotate regularly, and there’s a wide variety of bottled options as well as standard liquor and wine.

Also available are 100-ounce beer tubes. Available for $15 with Blue Light and $26 with craft beer, both options have special pricing – $13 and $20, respectively – when football games or playoff hockey games are on.

Possibly the Press Box’s biggest standout feature is its array of summertime activities. Don’t have a big backyard, or just want to meet some new friends? This bar features a sand beach volleyball court, along with a Kan Jam set, corn hole, and, to be delivered later this summer, an oversized Jenga game. There are volleyball leagues Monday and Tuesday nights, but the rest of the week, anyone is welcome to play or bring a group in to play. All they need to do is sign a waiver.

We tucked into our next choices – a Johnny Appleseed hard cider for Dave and a Flower Power IPA for me – still thoroughly enjoying the happy-hour pricing and low-key ambience. Softball games dominated the many screens around the Press Box, and we enjoyed a few laughs over the collection of wipe outs, missed catches and general fails shown on ESPN’s “Not Top 10.”

I’m glad we discovered the Press Box while the summer is still young. The nights just keep getting warmer, which means we have several months of cold drafts, good service and volleyball action ahead.

The Press Box

Where: 1841 Abbott Road, Lackawanna (823-3268, lapressbox.com)

Scene: A sports bar that’s simply made for a WNY summer.

Happy hour: Noon to 6 p.m. daily with drink specials.

On Tap: Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy, Ithaca Flower Power IPA, Johnny Appleseed Hard Cider, EBC Blueberry, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, Shock Top Belgian White, Goose Island IPA.

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