Ten years ago, most people familiar with J.P. Fitzgerald’s Pub and Restaurant wouldn’t have immediately tabbed the beloved Village of Hamburg haunt as a sports bar.
A place that regularly featured sports on its televisions? Sure — but any game projected in its bar or narrow dining area usually served as mere set decoration behind nights of competitive dart battles, repetitive selections off “AC/DC Live” or Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and infinite rounds of Southern Comfort with Molson Canadian chasers. Simply put: Sports were secondary.
Not anymore. Since its dramatic renovation in 2011, the now 26-year-old J.P.’s has become a go-to locale for Southtowns sports fans of all predilections. Along with changes to its dining room, added banquet areas and expanded rear patio, the revamp also unleashed a barroom ideal for Buffalo’s long NFL Sundays, seasons' worth of NHL action, and all the games between.
Now expanded to nearly twice its original size, the space boasts polished high-top tables, bench seating and plenty of standing space for sports-focused patrons. Sixteen taps and a 45-deep bottle list of both local and national selections offers beer options for every taste; and the locale’s dependable dining menu of Buffalo favorites and Irish flavor provides reason to settle in for long afternoons or evenings.
However, as we’ve covered in previous bar visits, access to a diversified selection of in-game action is everything. Thankfully, J.P.’s has this covered, with subscriptions to such fan-focused packages as DirecTV’s NFL Ticket, NBA League Pass and NHL Center Ice — as well as certain coverage of every NCAA Tournament basketball tilt across its 26 screens in the coming weeks. This permits customers to find nearly any game they’re looking for inside a locale long known as the Village of Hamburg’s premium public house.
And yes: Along with its welcome enhancements, you can still find J.P.’s for time-tested favorites like its three Buffalo Combo platters, two choices of corned beef Reuben or its famous beer cheese soup. You can still scoop salty popcorn from its self-serve machine, select Brian Johnson’s wailing “Thunderstruck” from the Internet juke, then shout the lyrics into your 11th bottle of Canadian.
But now you can enjoy all your original J.P.’s preferences inside what’s become one of the area’s premium sports bars.
4236 Clark St., Hamburg (649-4025)
When: 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 4 a.m. Sunday.
Why: For year-round sports action inside an Irish-accented slice of the Southtowns.
Parking: Large rear lot.
Credit/debit accepted: Yes.
Beers on tap: 16
Safe choice: Hamburg Brewing’s personalized Fitz’s Irish Red Ale.
Seasonal choice: Ballast Point Red Velvet Oatmeal Stout.
Roll the dice with: Genny Light tallboy, for old times’ sake.
When Irish eyes are watching: J.P.’s boasts access to every major league sport’s satellite package — as well as select college, soccer and NASCAR events—across its more than two dozen televisions.
Fitz your diet: The bar’s Fitz Fresh menu offers sports fans healthy dining options that skew from greasy game-time favorites.
Drink specials: Discounted deals seven days a week, including Tuesday’s “Happy Hour All Night” with $3 well drinks and domestic bottles.
And if you hate sports: It’s St. Patrick’s Day season. Smile, have a drink — and Sláinte.