Occupying a fantastic 19th century brick building along Tonawanda Creek, Remington Tavern’s history has gone from trolley barn along the Erie Canal and Remington Rand (a typewriter manufacturer) to a sophisticated restaurant in the span of about 120 years.
One wonders if laborers singing, “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal … Fifteen years on the Erie Canal” would have welcomed a happy hour respite at Remington? (We know Sal might have enjoyed munching on the beautiful flower boxes.)
Opened and owned for three years now by two of Buffalo’s prominent chefs – Mark Hutchinson of Hutch’s and Paul Jenkins of Tempo – the interior is stunning, with great drinks and delectable food choices.
The horseshoe bar features a marble top with a raw oyster bar located on the back of the bar, which ironically is at the front of the building by the patio entrance. Like many good bars, Remington has interesting bartenders, and in this case it’s Richard “Dicki” Manke. Strike up a conversation with him and you might learn something new.
Of course, not just a conversationalist, Dicki can whip up a variety of specialty cocktails, including Sangria, Moscow Mules, a Pomegranate Lemon Martini or something called “Amy C’s Dangerously Delicious,” which features grapefruit vodka. (Take “dangerous” anyway you want.) Or sip a Remington Manhattan or Blueberry Lemonade, the biggest hit of Summer 2015.
As fall moves in, seasonal cocktails like malt and draft ciders hit the menu. And of course, great wines and craft beers are part of the mix too.
With fall comes sports. Rest assured, Bills and Sabres fans. Games are shown on Remington’s four TVs.
When hunger knocks, answer the door in a variety of ways. Tuesday’s Oyster Happy Hour includes $15 a dozen specialty oysters of the day from 4 to 7 p.m. The oysters come with a live show – chefs shucking in front of guests. For something even more sophisticated and decadent, Oysters Rockefeller – in all their hot, creamy goodness – are offered during happy hour too, at $6 for 10 every day except Saturday.
Oysters are the tip of the bivalve barge. Clams make an appearance too, raw and casino style. But there is a lot more to the Remington menu, which is available at the bar, along with the daily food specials, until 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. With Jenkins and Hutchinson behind the menu, eating a meal anywhere and anyhow you can is highly recommended.
While mules and typewriters have gone, we can’t think of a nicer way to honor those hardworking folks – including you and your co-workers – than a happy hour at Remington Tavern.
Remington Tavern & Seafood Exchange
Where: 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda (remingtontavern.com, 362-2802)
Hours: Bar opens daily at 4 p.m. Oyster bar open daily.
Happy Hour: Sunday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. includes $5 daily drinks, select house wines, draft beer and cocktails. $5 snack specials (bar only) start at 4:30 p.m.
Scene: Sophisticated suds and spirits.
Travel/fashion note: Boat docking and Tonawanda bike path nearby, but don’t show up looking like you just swam in the river or rode the Tour de France.
Extras: Valet parking. Monday Beatles Night: $10 burgers, $5 craft beers and live music with Geno McManus and Frank Grizanti, 6-9 p.m.; Tuesday Oyster Happy Hour 4-7 p.m., $15 per dozen; BBQ, Blues & Brews Tuesdays too, with Mick Hayes 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Food features: Along with specials that change daily, enjoy Wednesday Surf & Turf (4 oz. filet / 4 oz. tail) $28; Friday Yellow Pike Fish Fry $18; Saturday Jamaican Braised Beef Short Ribs $28; Thursday and Sunday Twin Lobster Tails (4 oz. each) $29; Sunday Andouille Meatloaf $18.
Oysters served weekly: 3,500
$320 Champagne: 1
Craft beer taps: 10
Bottled beer: 17
Wines by the glass: 15
Specialty cocktails: 8