Sometimes a fun happy hour location happens in a place where you least expect it – like Pasquale’s. It is amazing that what was once a basic, take-out pizzeria that opened in 1975 has become three full-scale restaurants that serve good food in very nice surroundings.
The bar at the West Seneca location is compact, but that makes it even cozier, especially during chilly months. There are dining booths behind those seated at the bar that give the room a pub feel.
Two televisions show sports, but the sound is down so as not to interrupt those who want to chat. During this time of year, holiday music and tasteful décor make the experience warm and welcoming.
Regulars are treated like family, as we learned a special New Zealand white wine and Mount Gay Rum are stocked just for them. The staff is friendly, including a jovial bartender who jokes with customers that he is wanted in nine states in the South, and in Canada. (He also recommends the grilled pork chop on the menu.) The hands-on owner pops in to say hello to customers, too.
Drink selections are surprisingly extensive. The martini list includes 16 choices ($7-$7.50), from a Grand or Regular Cosmo to Lemon Drop, Chocolatini and Mangotini. For those who want to add European flair to their happy hour, there’s a French Martini made with Absolut Citron and Chambord. For the Italians, a Bellini is made with Grey Goose (ironically a French vodka) and peach schnapps. Martinis are $2 off during happy hour.
The cocktail list ($5-$6.50) has tasty combinations, from an Italian Margarita that mixes Jose Cuervo tequila with Disaronno (an Italian liqueur) to a King of Kings that blends Crown Royal with Grand Marnier.
The wine list is considerable, with helpful listings like light to medium to full red and white wines, along with sparkling, blush and sweet wines. Wines are $1 off glasses at happy hour. Find a friend and get $3 off a bottle.
While there is no beer on tap, bottled selections include the usual Bud, Labatt, Coors, as well as Samuel Adams regular and a seasonal (now the Winter Lager), plus locals Rusty Chain and Southern Tier IPA. A decent group.
Pasquale’s has worked hard to move from its pizzeria days to a nice restaurant and it shows. Stay for dinner after happy hour or order something to go from the take-out menu (including a tasty pizza). Either way, the staff will make sure your needs are well taken care of.
Where: 3720 Seneca St., West Seneca (674-0123, pasquales.com) (Also 242 Main St., East Aurora and 6824 Erie Road, Derby)
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday with $1 off glass of wine, $3 off bottle of wine and $2 off martinis.
Scene: Snug-like bar with friendly staff.
Décor: Tasteful décor; nice holiday decorations this time of year.
Yummy finger food: Buffalo shrimp.
Extra: Ample parking and central location makes it easy to meet up with friends.