Although it’s easy to call some establishments more “summer” than “winter,” we can say that Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill carefree summer vibe simply moves indoors when the cold wind blows, transforming the place into a cozy winter lodge.
Warm wood floors and Edison lights remind one of a Gilded Age Adirondack great house, complete with a stone fireplace and chandelier, but no butler. Instead efficient staff will take care of your needs.
The wide open bar area allows folks gathered in groups to hang at one of the many tables without feeling hemmed in.
During Sabres and Bills contests the main televisions are tuned to the game. The music goes away so the call can be piped in. We like that folks can still have a conversation, as Santora’s doesn’t blast its guests’ eardrums.
For those non-sporting types, there’s Tap TV phone trivia and even good old-fashioned pool.
On days when the patio fire pit burns like the Olympic flame, you can stroll outdoors if the mood strikes.
While the patio bar is buttoned up for the season, nobody will stop you if you head out in your mittens and coat with a beer to hang by the fire to watch a lone TV turned to a Sabres game, venting your frustrations to the winter wind.
Libations are printed on a large paper-bag-like menu. There’s a large craft beer section (41 taps) that highlights local choices. Beer flights are four for $10 and there’s a beer of the month. January’s Ski Bum IPA from Ellicottville Brewing fits right in with the lodge-like feel.
The menu’s flip side is for heavy hitters. Martinis, margaritas, mojitos and fun specialty cocktails move into more serious gin, bourbon, whiskey and scotch drinks, including a big selection for sipping. A bourbon of the month and drink of the month are worth checking out. (Widow Jane bourbon is a buck off in January.)
Time your arrival before puck drop to take advantage of an everyday happy hour that goes ‘till 7 p.m. with a dollar off draft beers, drinks and wines.
Owned by the fourth generation, Santora’s started as a pizzeria in 1927, so there’s a big pizza presence on the extensive menu, including a pie called Circa 1927.
Grandpa Fioravanti could have hardly imagined that his family business would turn into a sprawling complex that is a great sports bar without being “sporty,” and a really cozy place to grab food, drinks and watch a game.
7800 Transit Road, Williamsville (634-6000)
Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Scene: Big space with a lodge-like feel.
Viewing: 70 televisions with Center Ice and NFL Sunday Ticket. TVs are in bathrooms.
Sabres/Bills specials: 22-ounce domestic drafts $5; 22-ounce Blue Moon and Sam Adams seasonal $5.50; $14 domestic beer buckets (Bud/Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Molson/Light, Michelob Ultra and Labatt Blue/Light).
Foodball: $8 food specials during Sabres and Bills games (wings, chicken quesadillas, Buffalo dip or spinach dip, taco nachos, classic burger).
Daily specials: $1 off burgers Monday; $3 off build your own pasta Tuesday; $2 off cheese pizza Wednesday, $1 calzones Thursday.
Late night: $8 select appetizers and drink specials 9 p.m. to close.
Wing-a-ding-ding: 15 wing sauces.
UB Bull Big Burger: Four half-pound burgers piled up, topped with fries, cheddar, bacon, scallions and sour cream.
Best sign: For the bathrooms, “2P.”
Parking/Accessible: Plenty of parking and handicap accessible.
Story topics: restaurants