Previously, the wife and brother of my Significant Other (Greg), were too busy to join us for an impromptu night out, either because they needed a babysitter or were providing shuttle service.
Now their kids are teens (one a new driver) and they are free to throw caution to the wind.
Invited to meet up at the Cheektowaga Tully’s on French Road near their home on a Friday at 9 p.m., Greg and I headed out earlier to keep ourselves awake.
Happily, our youth genes kicked in at the bar. For added “excitement” we would actually get to see game one of the NHL Western Conference finals.
Despite being chain-like, Tully’s felt like a small, local bar with an impressive drink list (including strange Gatorade drinks, like a Frosty Glacier Freeze with rum) and 32 beer taps with lots of nice craft choices from local breweries like Big Ditch, 12 Gates and Ellicottville Brewing.
Tully’s makes blended drafts, too, from a classic black and tan to a chocolate covered cherry (Guinness and Sam Adams cherry wheat). Martinis, margaritas, skinny margaritas, special vodka lemonades, beer cocktails and wine round out the drink menu.
For those on the cheap, the all-day-every-day Rolling Rock and Mich Light drafts — $3 (16-ounce) and $4 (22-ounce) — can’t be beat.
We were late for the regular happy hour (3 to 7 p.m.), but too early for the late-night happy hour (10 p.m. to close on Fridays). Regrettably, I ordered a skinny margarita, forgetting the use of sugar-free ingredients always leaves a weird taste in my mouth. I washed it away with a delicious Leinenkugel summer shandy draft ($4.50), when late-night HH kicked in.
Our super friendly and efficient barkeep Besty took great care of us. Her manager made sure the hockey game was on several channels and music was low enough to enjoy conversation. A winning combination all around.
Starters and snacks are discounted for both happy hours, with late night appetizers only $4.50 for the likes Buffalo Tender Melts, Louisiana Crab Dip and our choice Tex-Mex egg rolls. We added Tully’s famous chicken tenders ($5.50) to see what they were about. Served with fries and honey mustard dipping sauce, they were crispy delights, not a run of the mill version.
Home by midnight, we were up for our normal Saturday routines, none the worse for the wear. (Well, there might have been a catnap.)
With summer on the horizon, we’ll keep Tully’s in our back pocket for more meet ups, because with their nest semi-empty, the parents can fly on their own again on a more regular basis.
Where: 1449 French Road, Depew (Other locations: 1459 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst; 8070 Main St.; 522 E. Main St., Batavia). tullysgoodtimes.com
Hours: Open daily at 11 a.m., noon on Sundays.
Scene: Friendly sports bar with a mature crowd and lots of TVs.
Happy hour: 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Specials include $1 off house wine; $2.95 well drinks; $3.75 Tito’s Ice Picks; $3.95 Captain Morgan, Jim Beam, Pinnacle drinks; $5.95 Crown Royal; domestic and craft beer specials $2.50 to $4.50.
Late-night happy hour: 9 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to close Friday. Specials include $1 off house wine, $2.50 well drinks, $3.50-$5.50 premium drinks, domestic and craft beer specials $2.50 to $4.50.
Food specials (Sunday through Friday): Starters are $5.50, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., $4.50 starting at 9 p.m. Tully's Tenders are $5.50 after 9 p.m. with drink purchase.
Gluten-sensitive: Menu items labeled with (GS) are made using gluten-free ingredients.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes.