The traditional picture of the suburbs is painted with subdivisions. It’s cul-de-sacs and strip malls, grocery store parking lots and big-box retailers. It’s not colored with the walkable commercial centers or condensed streets of concentrated city neighborhoods; and it’s not accentuated with vibrant social lairs reserved for downtown bar districts.
But the modern suburban village has been conceived to bring all these urban comforts outside city limits. That’s why North Buffalo Road in the Village of Orchard Park plays more like Elmwood Village than the suburbs. And that’s why the neighborhood’s popular Byrd House feels more like a city tavern than country watering hole.
Originally located in the former Orchard Park Lanes bowling alley space just up the street, the current Byrd House was opened in a much larger space in 2015 by owners Brendan Biggane and Nick Lyons. It's been a freewheeling hit ever since.
The locale’s spacious barroom is adjoined with its dining room by pub-style shutters, opened or closed dependent on the evening. If it’s a quiet weeknight for some after-work drinks and conversation, the shutters stay closed.
If it’s the end of the week or Saturday night and the dining room’s rear stage is roaring with the classic rock-leaning tunes of such local live collectives as Dawgs in the City or Joe and the Shmoes, those partitions swing open, uniting both spaces for the Byrd’s homogeneous mix of Orchard Park patrons.
Customers can perch at the expansive bar, high-tops or four-seat tables for pints of 42 North Borderland IPA ($6) or serious rounds of the locale’s Top-Shelf Long Island ($12), featuring appearances by Kettle One vodka, Hendricks gin and Bacardi rum.
Even on the quietest nights, the Byrd boasts a conducive environment to watch a televised game with a Cajun-seasoned Flaming Byrd burger ($12.95), or for those looking for competition on its twin dartboards or Golden Tee arcade game.
Yet despite these attributes, the Byrd’s significance to committed patrons, casual drinkers or village passersby may be its central placement amid its neighborhood action, and how it stands welcoming to all comers.
Though one could stroll in today and settle in with one of bar’s list of 18 drafts, its friendly vibe will be even more evident in the coming weeks. That’s when its glass-windowed garage doors will be regularly rolled up to greet bearable Southtowns temperatures and, in turn, add to the vibrancy of the Village of Orchard Park.
Residents out for a stroll can walk by, hear the laughter of the Byrd’s gregarious patrons, and possibly stop in for a glass of St. Francis chardonnay ($8). Marathon training partners picking up gear at nearby Runner’s Roost could hear the echoes of Dawgs in the City covering such classics as The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” then stop into the Byrd for a few pints of Hamburg Brewery’s light Small Town ($5).
It all makes for a lively little picture, colored by a former bowling alley bar now situated at the heart of a modern, city-accented suburb.
Address: 4190 N. Buffalo Road, Orchard Park (662-3909)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Scene: Casual spot for after-work drinkers, neighborhood regulars and weekend warriors, nestled in the Village of Orchard Park.
Signature cocktails: 6
Happy Hour: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, featuring $1 off all beers and cocktails.
No bars in the Byrd? Barroom features power outlets near high-top tables for those whose phones are low on power.
Parking: Back lot and available street spots.
Don’t forget to: Play either the Ramones’ or Trashmen’s version of “Surfin’ Bird” on the bar’s Internet jukebox—because the Byrd is the word.
*Read last week's Bar Feature, on Sean Patrick's: