Take a place swarming with hundreds of kids wired on sugar with seemingly every video game imaginable at their fingertips. Mix in a similar number of adults - and adult beverages - and a sporting event for every taste on screens as far as the eye can see.
On the idea spectrum, this arrangement sounds like it would come closer to nightmare than dream.
But at Dave and Buster’s, which has moved from its original Eastern Hills mall location to the Walden Galleria, it works.
The key is levels. Enter from the outside world and you’re headed straight to a four-sided bar replete with high-back white leather chairs and ringed with a dozen flat screens. On this night, with baseball season underway, basketball in full swing, hockey heading toward Stanley Cup runs, and a UFC fight, it is sports paradise.
But what about all those kids? Don't worry. The game room, a labyrinth of lights and chaos, is a few steps from the bar but thanks to the walls and levels, it seems a world away.
Dave and Buster’s offers more than two dozen selections of beer including local favorite One Buffalo. On the menu is a 100 ounce - and 1,800 calorie - beer tube. If you are watching your diet, D&B’s lists the calories for every beverage on its drink menu, so when it’s time to order, you can choose from one as low as 70 calories up to 396.
But if you're really worried about calories, maybe you've come to the wrong place; the appetizers span several pages of the menu. All the standard bar fare is here, but so are such options as the Pepperoni Pretzel Pull-Apart, which might be the best thing to happen to the pretzel since spicy mustard. In the mood for a mountain of potato? The loaded tater tots should keep you munching deep into the game. Dave and Buster’s also offers plenty of appetizer combo platters if you can’t reach a consensus on wings or sliders.
The menu also offers cocktails that range from $7 to $9. If you like your rum jazzed up, try a Zombie (dark rum). If you prefer, you can choose Walk the Plank (Captain Morgan’s and Malibu with lots of other goodies tossed in).
The menu boasts that, “Our bartenders can make anything. Seriously. Anything.” Feel free to put them to the test. Our group did and no one was disappointed. The people behind the bar appear to love a challenge, so whether you want to modify a traditional drink, or are looking for suggestions, they’ve got you covered.
Dave and Buster’s sets itself apart from other Buffalo sports bars in two ways: You won’t find any sports memorabilia on the walls. No jerseys, posters or signed photos of Buffalo’s greatest. The look in the bar is sleek, modern and clutter-free.
Then there are the games. When you want to forget a tough Sabres loss, step in to the game room and re-create the action with bubble hockey. Frustrated with the way the Bills' offense has stalled? Go toss some footballs of your own. Ditto with basketball, soccer and golf. Dave and Buster’s offers the chance to enjoy virtual sports after the real games end.
So come for the game, stay for the drinks and grub, and then let your inner-child come out and enjoy the games after the games.
Dave and Buster’s- Cheektowaga
Walden Galleria, 1 Galleria Drive, Cheektowaga (932-2525)
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Why: Cold beer, hot apps and video games.
Parking: Plenty on site, but it’s the mall so be prepared to walk a bit. $10 valet parking available.
Credit/debit accepted: Yes
Best viewing spot: One of the many booths surrounding the bar. The comfort of a booth without sacrificing the view.
Drink specials: Happy Hour is 4:30 to 7 p.m. daily with half-price cocktails and $1 off draft beers.
Can’t miss bar food: Try the grilled smoked chicken wings. Healthy never tasted this good.
Instagram op: If you’re a child of the '80s, don’t miss your chance to slip onto the gaming floor and shoot a selfie with the giant “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.”
And if you hate sports: Skeeball, air hockey, Mario Kart, and a giant Connect Four game are a few of the hundreds of distractions in the game room. You’ll find something to keep you busy.