Whether distributed through conversations, magazines or publications, the evolving narrative of “new” Buffalo has overwhelmingly focused on the city’s latest developments, ones that have risen from nothing to transform various downtown corners. But what about the places that have endured through downtrodden times, invested in their futures and are now being rewarded for their loyalty?
That’s the tale of cherished after-work watering hole Eddie Brady’s, that has stood firm in the shadow of the illuminated Electric Tower since 1990, renovated and expanded its local memorabilia-strewn interior in 2015, and now sits as the proud grandfather of the city’s burgeoning Ellicott-Genesee bar and restaurant corridor.
But while nearby locales like Toutant, Seabar and Marble & Rye have brought missing elements to the city’s culinary scene, Brady’s personifies the Buffalo that’s always been here — regardless of its state of being. Cold beers. Hearty sandwiches. Bartenders who remember each patron’s name, and a barroom reminiscent of downtown’s greatest deceased taverns.
And then there’s the bar’s namesake, who still resides upstairs — and rains water on the sidewalk patio below while tending to his second-floor flower boxes every afternoon. All these items contribute to its renewed prominence amid downtown’s cherished draft dens, and that’s appropriate. Eddie Brady’s kept slinging while the city struggled to find its footing. Now, it has a prime spot amid its revival.
The beer: Community Beer Works That IPA
The breakdown: Eddie Brady’s eight drafts include six made-in-Buffalo selections. One of those is Community Beer Works’ That IPA ($5), a local favorite and widely considered to be the city’s finest of its kind. The selection’s American hops are prominent enough to satisfy even the most voracious craft enthusiast, but its categorically accepted bitterness is muted enough to coax even the most anti-IPA drinker into a few refreshing rounds. And at an unexpectedly reasonable 5% ABV, patrons can enjoy without fear of the unexpected sucker-punch many similar offerings provide. This will provide more coherence to admire the bar’s classic gold cash register, its self-serve popcorn machine, or to lament the death of Brady’s old flip-page juke — which used to feature homemade mix CDs. May it live on in the audio afterlife with its deceased contemporary from the former Sterling Place Tavern.
Surrounded by Iroquois: Speaking of Buffalo-born brewers, when Iroquois Brewery ceased operation in 1971, it left a big hole in the local beer community. Not only was it once one of the city’s most popular beers—claiming nearly half of Buffalo’s beer sales in the mid-1950s—but its Indian head logo and merchandise were iconic. Thankfully, Eddie Brady’s appreciates the beer’s historical impact, and honors it inside its barroom. There are 13 pieces of visible Iroquois memorabilia within its walls, including beer signs, a sponsored Buffalo Bills AFL schedule from 1969, and a toy trailer behind the bar. The largest indoor advertisement also belongs to the brand, fashioned inside a large red arrowhead aside Brady’s entrance. It’s a shame we can’t still hoist a few Iroquois, but at least its memory lives on off Genesee Street.
Believe in bologna: Before its renovation last year — which ushered in more dining space, along with a more diversified lunch and dinner menu — Brady’s used to be a bar with an open grill and list of sandwiches. Among those original offerings was its fried bologna, stacked on a grilled bun, topped with American cheese and slathered with peppers and onions. Teamed with a pile of French fries and a healthy dollop of Weber’s mustard, it was a nitrate-laden dream come true. Thankfully, its almighty fried bologna sandwich ($8) lives on, still standing prominent amid new additions like the turkey bacon avocado wrap and Greek salad. Is it the menu’s healthiest option? No. But think of it like this: When you go to a baseball game, you get a hot dog. When you go to Eddie Brady’s, you get the fried bologna sandwich. It’s a necessary accentuate to the in-bar experience.
97 Genesee St.
Info: 854-7017, eddiebradys.com
Beers on tap: 8
Stop by for: Beers inside one of Buffalo’s favorite happy hour taverns; comfort food favorites for lunch or dinner; or to enjoy a renovated classic in the middle of downtown’s ongoing resurgence.
Raise one for Phil: Toast the memory of the late Phil Scaffidi, the former St. Joe’s and Niagara basketball legend whose novelty bobblehead looks over the bar's entrance.
Come see Genesee: Eddie Brady’s will soon front the city’s new Genesee Gateway, featuring new sidewalks, lighting and streetscape design en route to Main Street.
Parking: Available on surrounding streets or in large nearby surface lots.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.