For many, Super Bowl Sunday is becoming the sports version of New Year’s Eve: Even if you don’t really want to take part in all the partying, you feel like it somehow would be wrong not to, lest you end up on the wrong end of this conversation:
“What are you doing for the game?”
“Nothing. I’ll probably stay home and watch some of it.”
“Really? So, how long have you been a communist?”
Maybe you’re tired of the two most popular options: standing at a sports bar trying to get the attention of an overworked bartender or sitting at your friend’s house, trying to get comfortable in a beanbag chair that has seen better days.
So shake things up a little bit this year. Be unconventional. Watch the game but do it your own way on your terms.
May we suggest one of the following options?
Create your own pregame festivities with some live music.
Sunday is not the best day for this, but swing by the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.) to hear the Soul Invaders from 4 to 7 p.m.
Play some games while watching the game.
That’s essentially the motto of Dave and Buster’s, now open in the Walden Galleria. If the last video game you mastered was Missile Command, turn your head away from the many TVs for a few minutes to see what you’ve missed. (Hint: The games cost more than a quarter; bring your wallet.)
Reawaken your inner Buffalonian.
Yes, it’s a stereotype that everyone from Buffalo bowls. (You probably heard it while trying to pick up a 4-6-10 split in your Thursday night league.) But it’s still a great wintertime activity. Lots of area lanes are open late on Sunday and the game will be on in the bar.
Take care of all the car things you’ve been putting off.
Change oil light on? Mud-caked interior slightly less filthy than the salt-laden exterior? There’s this thing called Delta Sonic. The folks there can take care of all your car issues while you sit inside watching TV. And a little-known fact about Delta Sonic is that its restaurant – the Brick Oven – makes a great pizza. Hours vary by location, but you should be able to kill three or four birds with one stone.
Relive the days when you could have a cigarette indoors while watching the game.
No one is suggesting you take up smoking, but if you already do and you’re tired of being forced onto the sidewalk to have a smoke while the game is on, there are places that let you smoke and stay inside: They’re called casinos, and Western New York has a bunch that also are packed with TVs. That would include Stir nightclub at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, which boasts a 40-foot-by-20-foot HDTV.
Go grocery shopping.
We can almost promise you that grocery stores will be fairly quiet while the game is on, so you can pick up the stuff you need and then have a seat in a restaurant area now found in many area stores. If you want, start eating your groceries while you’re in there. Or, if you want to more closely replicate the tavern experience, check out the new Pub by Wegmans (8270 Transit Road, East Amherst).--------------------
Do your laundry.
Seriously. It would be sad if you spent Super Bowl Sunday in your basement or your laundry room, but think of the conversation-starter possibility to say you were at Matt’s Lake Effect Laundromat (2311 Main St.). It’s open until 10 p.m. on Sundays and with 12 TVs inside, you know at least one will have the game on.-------------------
Eat wings and pizza, but different wings and pizza.
You can go anywhere for hot, medium or mild and cheese and pepperoni, but Western New York is packed with places that will change the way you think about these football-watching staples. Try the beef on weck pizza at Brick Iron Bistro (904 Abbott Road) in South Buffalo or one of the many wood-fired pizzas from Rocco’s (5433 Transit Road, Clarence).
For a different take on wings, how about Essex Street Pub’s (530 Rhode Island) “dry fried” in Bourbon Surfer BBQ Sauce or maybe head to K Café (546 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda) for sweet-spicy ginger garlic wings with a sticky Asian glaze.---------------------
Practice your short game.
It’s possible that you could be hitting the links around here in the next two months. (Maybe sooner, if El Nino feels like sticking around.)
The Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome at Brighton Golf Course is open until 9 p.m. You can get in some hacks while watching the game on screens near the tee boxes. The driving range closes at 9, so if you hope to catch the second half, make accommodations.