Do not judge this book by its cover. On the surface, MacGregor’s Grill & Tap Room’s 23 (count ’em: 23) televisions make it so you’ll never miss a Sabres play, and the arcade games in the back of the room may suck quarters from your pockets. But MacGregor’s offers so much more than its generic décor of beer signs and sports memorabilia seems to promote.
What separates MacGregor’s from the herd of Buffalo sports bars is the astounding food and drink choices, all of which are suspect to varying daily or monthly specials. Even though the food choices may not resemble anything outside of ordinary bar fare, it differs in the subtle twists MacGregor’s like to employ.
For instance, if one doesn’t care for the sandwich choices on the menu, they could craft their own sandwich, with around 200 different combinations of possible breads, meats and cheeses for sandwiches. On the side of that, you have the choice of every sort of french fry known to mankind (waffle, curly, steak, hush puppies, etc.). You can choose between the large 10-ounce sandwich or the smaller 5-ounce sandwich, which run for $12.99 and $9.99, respectively.
Food choices aside, MacGregor’s truly prides itself on its plethora of beer choices. There are 84 on tap and more than 100 altogether. These choices range from your standard Budweiser, Michelob and Guinness to rare brands such as the two-years-aged Bourbon County Barley Ale, EBC Chocolate Cherry Bomb (one of the more popular choices), and Resurgence Sponge Candy Stout.
The prices and availability of beers vary depending on a number of factors (season, popularity), but it is the specials on beer that should really open eyes. With constantly changing daily specials, no happy hour is necessary. The beer of the day is allotted a $15 pitcher, while generally, beer pitchers can run from $18-$20. However, pitchers for special beers can run $11. The beer of the month involves a $4 imperial pint, which is slightly larger than a regular pint you’d find at other sports bars.
MacGregor’s also offers samplers, or what they call “Beer Flights.” Each “flight” comes with six beers to sample, which are separated into eight categories: N.Y. IPAs, Vintage & Rare, IPAs, Porters, Stouts, Seasonal, Ciders & Wheats, and Ales. Depending on the category you choose, those prices range from $10-$15. And for those who are not a fan of beer, you may also try the various ciders and barleywines on tap.
Apart from pitchers, the drinks can come in 20 ounce goblets, a novelty also dependent on the type of beer ordered. But if you do not want to run the risk of abandoning your favorite beer at the bar, MacGregor’s charges $4 for the growler plus the cost of a pitcher of that beer to take home whatever beer you want.
MacGregor’s Grill & Tap Room really is a hidden gem for those who are looking for vast choices of beer and quality food. The sports bar/diner atmosphere really takes a back seat to the friendliness of servers and the novelty of drinking. It should be the perfect spot for starving college kids or for those just looking to have a good time with friends.
Where: 4350 Maple Road, Amherst
When: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Saturday
Atmosphere: Super-casual. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in garb outside of sports jerseys or T-shirts.
Music: Staples from yesteryear, but quiet enough so you can hear your own party.
Scene: On a Friday night, expect to see those crowds that are looking for a drink right after a full-time job, but with a plethora of beer choices and reasonable food prices (as well as more-than-generous portions) there is no reason why college kids wouldn’t enjoy it.
They Get Me: Free bacon additions to anything.