Often times, when a bar tries to provide patrons with a solid serving of everything – whether beer selection, live music or a genuine jovial atmosphere – it fails to deliver exceptional helpings of anything. Not the case with Buffalo’s historic institution known simply as Goodbar. Set on the Elmwood strip since 1968, the joint’s been favored by SUNY Buffalo State students, sports fans and T-shirt-clad rockers for decades. Its wood-lined, pennant-strewn interior still provides the comfort of the corner tavern, while its upstairs and downstairs stages continue to give local and national touring acts (see: ’90s punk titans Rancid) a place to perform. Tie all this to its burgeoning rep as a must-visit craft beer bastion and you’ve got a warm and welcoming beacon of a Nickel City institution.
The beer: Four Mile Unfurl (the Brown and White)
The breakdown: Brown beers rule the winter, just like the brown of St. Bonaventure owns the Southern Tier during college basketball season. Bob Lanier. The Stith brothers. Shandue McNeill threes, Andrew Nicholson dunks and Reilly Center students throwing cookies at former Temple coach John Chaney. They’re all motivation for the Olean brewery’s (located at 202 E. Green St.) malty and flavorful porter, prepped in tribute to its neighboring Franciscan university and team. And at 5 percent ABV, it’s an easy-drinking option during a night of live music at Goodbar – or for a spontaneous “Let’s go, Bonas” chant amid Buff State alums.
New Year’s resolution: Join a (beer) club: Sick of sitting around with your hip friends as they stroke their beards, talk about mouth-feel and recount their last beer-related excursion to Vermont? Well, maybe it’s time you wade into the waters of controlled craft beer appreciation via Goodbar’s Good Beer Club. Not only can you meet with open-minded imbibers on the second Wednesday of every month, but you can also be expertly steered toward a variety of stouts, IPAs and sours that a Wegmans pick-six will never adequately service. Don’t think of it as a New Year’s resolution to drink more. Think of it as a commitment to drink more knowledgably – and in the company of sophisticated palates.
Back Buffalo: Drinking the beer of our local brewers keeps professionals employed, creating and, hopefully, giving each a chance to promote Buffalo’s name on a national level. Supporting the city’s musicians is no different. Each sweats and sways inside clubs with the hopes of taking their sound outside Erie County and to legions of out-of-state listeners. And when they do, they’ll be Buffalo bands, promoting our city’s name like “Buffalo ’66” and Ani DiFranco. Until then, each hones its craft on stages like Goodbar’s.
When to go: Open seven days a week from noon until 4 a.m. Stop in to sample their more than 30 beers on draft and cask; hear regularly scheduled live music from local rock and jam bands; or simply appreciate one of Buffalo’s most enduring and accommodating barrooms.
Where: 1110 Elmwood Ave. (mrgoodbarbuffalo.com, 882-4000)
Hours: Open daily noon to 4 a.m.
Specials: Craft Beer Can Night, Mondays; Craft Beer Bottle Night, Tuesdays; Hoppy Hump Day with $1 off all hoppy beers, Wednesdays; free happy hour buffet at 6 p.m. Fridays; 50 cent wings, Sunday nights.
Entertainment: Karaoke, 10 p.m. Wednesdays; open mic, 8 p.m. Thursdays; Good Thursdays with Alt Buffalo, 10 p.m. Thursdays; live music, Fridays and Saturdays.