Every Buffalo suburb has its dependable neighborhood bar. The one that’s been the understood rally point before texting was possible. The one that’s served generations of families, classmates and softball teams. The one that’s hosted cherished Bills and Sabres highlights and, dependent on the night, could double as the backdrop for Springsteen’s “Glory Days” video.
For Depew, that place is Magruders, a family owned sports bar, restaurant and banquet facility whose slogan is appropriately “your neighborhood meeting and eating place.”
“We’re not a downtown bar. We’re a place that’s always catered to this neighborhood as a welcoming place for friends and family,” said Shannon Buono, Magruders' general manager and granddaughter of current owner Matt Dombrowski, who opened the bar in 1985. “It can be a low-key place for families after their kids’ soccer games, or it can be a wild party, depending on the mood.”
This mood can be dictated by a variety of factors. As a bar/restaurant and multiroom banquet facility, the locale is just as likely to host attendees for birthday drinks and baby showers as it is to host raucous Bills crowds or bar league hockey teams, there for $2 pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon or bacon-topped burgers. Yes, there’s a separation between these entities and the function of their visits. But as residents of Depew and nearby Cheektowaga and Lancaster, they’re geographically united – and generally agreeable to being connected under the same roof.
Five years ago, Bills' game-day crowds at Magruders became so large that the locale’s barroom and dining room went from separate experiences to a more open flow. This allowed those on barstools plowing through $10 buckets of Coors Light to be one with booth-stationed guests, all together to inhale Magruders' famous banana pepper-based Marv Levy Dip ($8.95) and enjoy the ambiance of Depew’s flagship sports pub.
And to enhance this neighborly union, it helps that Magruders is decorated like a suburban rec room. Trophies and autographed softballs join Genesee Beer memorabilia, board games and movie posters from such '80s classics as “Footloose” throughout its dining room. Bills paraphernalia is posted on the same wall as an historically inappropriate Dallas Cowboys pennant, and a placard advertising the Buffalo return of Lackawanna’s Polish Rifle – former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski – is hung across from the Quick Draw screen.
This may seem like nonsensical interior decorating, but Buono said, each of these items were given to her grandfather by loyal customers. After receipt, they were mounted and displayed, giving the neighborhood a hand in characterizing its favorite meeting place. These little gestures may seem simple, but they separate bars that last three years from those that span three decades. Magruders' ownership and staff know this.
And whether with a spot on the wall, a seat at the bar or a friendly face, the locale continues to endure as a Depew sports fan favorite by making customers feel like a piece of the place is theirs – literally or figuratively.
4995 Broadway, Depew (685-4400; magruders.org)
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Scene: Friendly occupants and ambiance construct Depew’s self-proclaimed neighborhood eating and meeting place.
Beers on tap: 12
Drink specials: Litany of options for every night of the week, highlighted by its Sunday Funday lineup of $10 buckets of Coors Light, $12 buckets of Corona and $3 well drinks.
Parking: Side and rear parking lot.
And if you hate sports: Enjoy a cheap PBR and neighborly conversation inside one of Erie County’s marquee suburban pubs.