It’s nice to have bars and restaurants you can smell from blocks away (in a good way). And Fat Bob’s — with its barbecue-filled menu of brisket, pulled pork and buttermilk fried chicken — is certainly one of these Buffalo-based locales.
Tucked inside Allentown on Virginia Place, the bar provides roadhouse ambiance with a beer snob’s draft and bottle list, including more than 100 varieties of tastes to team with a half rack of St. Louis pork ribs ($15.99) or a side of catfish fingers ($7.99), both available to be dipped in one of Bob’s four homemade barbecue sauces.
And now on the cusp of summer, visitors can team all of the above while enjoying one of Buffalo’s most clandestine back patios, open to accommodate its host’s wafting aromas as you and your pals get elbow-deep in barbecue and craft drafts.
The beer: Southern Tier One Buffalo
The breakdown: Dependent on the heat index of your entrée, you may need a refreshing, palatable ale to douse any Southern-style flames resulting from your lunch or dinner visit. Southern Tier’s One Buffalo may act as a decent fire hose for these issues.
The American Blond result of a partnership between the Lakewood-based brewery and Pegula Sports and Entertainment — and with its bottle art designed by Queen City-based artist, Matthew SaGurney — it’s a smooth, low ABV (4.8 percent) alternative for those who have reflexively ordered Labatt or Bud Light for the bulk of their drinking life
Also, for those who’d like to stay consistent from now until football and hockey season, one could do worse than hoisting a few $5 drafts or bottles that have been taste-tested and approved by Bills and Sabres ownership.
Pivot point: Food and drinks at Fat Bob’s makes for a solid afternoon or evening all by itself. But for those looking for a starting point before pivoting to pints in various directions, the city-set smokehouse makes for a great meeting place. The Allentown bars surround streets to the east and west.
Stroll up or down Delaware Avenue to reach places like Merge, Founding Fathers and the soon-to-be Shatzel-ed version of Colter Bay, or simply walk next door to the pseudo-sophisticated atmosphere of Mother’s.
But before any planned bar hop — especially if it’s an ambitious one — you could do worse than starting with a delicious Texas beef brisket sandwich ($10.49) and a side of mac and cheese under the thump of Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
Gone fishing: Not a lot of Buffalo bars have an aquarium to separate their barroom and dining room — and that’s a shame. Not so at Fat Bob’s. Situated between diners and drinkers, the wall-size fish tank hosts various types of aquatic settlers for patrons to admire while ordering appetizers, conversing over rounds or flinging darts. Either way, it’s a calming decorating element to tandem with the bar’s nightmarish, Dumbo-eared pig statue at its host stand. (Note: The latter may haunt your dreams.)
When to go: Stop by for some award-winning barbecue; pints or bottles from the bar’s extensive craft beer list; or as a starting point before exploring the bar’s eclectic and expansive Allentown neighborhood.
Where: 41 Virginia Place
Beers on tap: 24
Beers in a bottle: More than 80.
Great place for: Barbecue, beers or as a starting point for an Allentown bar crawl.
Embrace the outdoors: Once the weather breaks, find Fat Bob’s back patio to enjoy the open air amid roadhouse aromas.
Be ready to: Slather something in one of the joint’s four homemade barbecue sauces, available in original, honey bourbon, Kansas City or Memphis.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Parking: Could be rough. Park on Delaware or points surrounding, then plan to stroll.