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Public House on the Lake has great views, beer

The Public House on the Lake

Where: 4914 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg (627-5551;

Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with $1 off domestic beer and well drinks.

Bar hours: 11:30 a.m. to close, Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday.

The Scene: A perfect outdoor summer hangout with a relaxed, casual mood.

By Christopher


Special To The News

If you live in the Southtowns, or you visit the Southtowns, or you’ve heard there is an area called the Southtowns, your new favorite summer hangout is here: The Public House on the Lake.

In a past life, 4914 Lake Shore Road in Hamburg was Root 5, a longtime dining spot. Root 5 closed in January, and within a few weeks a new owner was found. The team behind Hertel Avenue’s superb craft beer mecca the Public House of Buffalo took over the space, and Public House on the Lake is now in full swing.

My wife and I visited on a recent Sunday, and found a sizable midday crowd – outside, that is. The outside is surprisingly large and offers both shade and sun. Most folks chose to bask in the sunshine, and so did we. While I never regretted it, I did emerge from our visit a sweaty mess of a human being. Sunglasses are a necessity.

Our seats gave us a truly stunning view of the lake and beach.

There is a separate outdoor bar, one of many nice touches. It’s worth noting that the interior bar is just as impressive, as is the indoor dining. But this was a day for the outdoors.

Having visited Hertel’s Public House on multiple occasions, I knew I could expect a lengthy, well-chosen beer list, and Public House on the Lake did not disappoint. The draft list included selections from local breweries (Hamburg, Resurgence); craft beer favorites from the likes of Alagash, Tröegs, Founders and Ommegang; as well as some offbeat picks. I started with a Troegs Sunshine Pils ($6).

My wife’s selection, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon ($5), demonstrated the strength of Public House’s bottle list. OK, bottle is not entirely accurate, as San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery is can-only.

In any event, 21st is my current favorite beermaker, and I was thrilled to see Hell or High Watermelon on the menu. It’s a fruit beer so tasty that it would even win over someone who’d sooner drink Old Milwaukee before ordering a fruit beer.

I contemplated ordering one myself but instead jumped to Resurgence’s delightful Summer Saison ($6). It was a perfect pick for melting in the afternoon sun.

The food was also quite good. While the menu is a bit limited, the food fits the establishment’s “let’s-hang-out-in-the-sun” vibe. It just works, kids.

A few days after recommending Public House on the Lake to a friend, we asked what she thought during her weekday lunch visit. “I kind of forgot I was in Buffalo,” she said. She did not mean that as a criticism. What she meant was that the feeling of sitting on the Public House terrace, overlooking the lake with a cold drink in hand, is the kind one gets when vacationing in some warm, sunny locale.

That’s high praise, and the Public House on the Lake deserves it.

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