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At the Bar-Bill Tavern, wings and sports go hand-in-hand

Since first delighting a gluttonous and insatiable populace, Buffalo’s chicken wings have been nothing if not complementary for any and all televised sports action. Sloppy, flaming and filling, they’re perfect to pass during day-long viewings of the NCAA Basketball tourney, snack on during the Stanley Cup playoffs or inhale throughout halftime of the Super Bowl.

But when the wings in question belong to East Aurora’s Bar-Bill Tavern, there’s no shared marquee between snack and sports. The appetizer is the impetus for watching a game inside the famous neighborhood locale — and it borders on insult to suggest otherwise.

Yes, you can walk into the friendly Main Street locale — opened by former owner Joe Giafaglione in the late 1970s — and find a seat at its polished wooden bar and settle in for Bills, Sabres or baseball action broadcast on televisions mounted aside its liquor wall.

You can squeeze into four-top tables throughout timber-lined barroom or front extension and catch action on the large-screen tube stationed near the back kitchen and bathrooms. Or, you can simply join its Bar-Bill Club for $20, get a draft beer mug with your name emblazoned on it, and gaze at any projection you choose.

The Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora has become a tourist destination for its chicken wings. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

But to watch from any vantage point without a plate of perfectly crispy and sauced wings arranged in circular formation and simmering aside your beer? Blasphemous.

Two important notes before you go: the Bar-Bill only accepts cash (an ATM is on-site) and does not take reservations (groups are seated on a first-come, first-served basis).

With its regionally cherished heartburn-inducing delicacy, the Bar-Bill is not merely offering fans something to plow through between plays. The tavern has earned its award-winning culinary prominence by offering sports-focused regulars and visitors a rare commodity — satisfaction, no matter how their game goes.

The Bills could get pounded at New Era Field by the Dolphins, Patriots or Steelers. The Sabres could fall to the Maple Leafs and Bruins by a combined score of 12-2; and the Yankees could get mauled by the Red Sox with the AL East title on the line. Add a single ($10.99) or double ($19.95) order of medium, medium hot or honey butter barbecue wings — and maybe a side of waffle fries — to any of the aforementioned disappointments and the game-related sting absorbed inside Bar-Bill will certainly be soothed.

Or sweetened. Or scorched.

Bar-Bill Tavern

185 Main St., East Aurora (652-7959)

When: 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Why: To enjoy sports action with (arguably) the area’s best wings.

Parking: Small lot next door, with additional street parking on Main.

Beers on tap: 9

Safe choice: Labatt Blue.

Seasonal choice: Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

Roll the dice with: Shot of Jim Beam, chased with a Birch Beer in a frosty mug.

Food favorites: Waffle-cut French fries ($3.95); hand-carved beef on weck ($10.95); and single order of wings ($10.95).

Don’t be a hero: Order wings medium or medium hot, tops. Hot and extra hot are masochistic.

And if you hate sports: Go for the wings.

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