The public acceptance of babies in bars seems to be a relatively new phenomenon.
If it isn’t, it’s certainly become more prevalent in recent years. And whether because of a bar culture shift from dark and lonely to sunny and stylish or beer consumption trends steered from pounding nameless pilsners to savoring new craft pints, the trend makes sense. It’s a chance for young parents to casually sip a beer and feel normal in a cherished social setting while their lives have changed dramatically.
Not every place can accommodate. Thankfully, North Buffalo couples yearning for a stroll and a saison have Mac’s on Hertel, the avenue’s expansive—and family friendly—neighborhood spot amid blocks of bustling bars, shops and restaurants.
Part Queen City-centric sports bar and part American fare-focused dinner spot, the former Empire Grill space is a place that seems conducive for varied drinkers, diners and occasions.
For those looking for a spacious barroom and ambiance accented with images of Buffalo’s history, Mac’s obliges, with plenty of standing and stool space around a center-square bar, 12 overhead televisions and a 20-feet-high photo of downtown’s Main Street, circa 1901.
Guests can choose from a 16-beer draft list—featuring seasonal favorites from Big Ditch to Four Mile—or historically themed cocktail list, with selections like the Hendrick’s-led Olmsted or Tito’s-laden North Buffalo Limeade to be enjoyed amid bright confines.
If the thirst is particularly urgent, Mac’s Happy Hour (4 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday) offers two-for-one well and house drinks, as well as 22-ounce drafts at pint prices ($5.50-$6.50).
With a diversified menu of potato cheddar pierogi ($10.50), waffle burgers ($14.25) and rotisserie half-chicken entrees ($13.50), patrons can eschew the drinks and go right to the dining. Seating on both levels provides more than enough space for intimate dates or larger parties.
For the warmer weather, Mac's has a street-level patio and second-floor seating. With views of any evening’s fading sunlight, it’s reason alone to schedule a dinner or drinks.
Whether upstart or established, families traversing the avenue can find Mac’s indoor or patio seating and dedicated kids menu, full of items like grilled cheese and chicken fingers for $5.45. Printed on a coloring sheet, the menu allows toddlers to scribble and chow as mothers and fathers enjoy a momentary break. Also, bring the gaggle on Wednesday and the kids eat for free with adult entree purchases.
And for parents with infants resting quietly in carriers? Mac’s can accommodate a relaxed meal, responsible round and a couple’s return to pre-newborn normalcy—if only for a matter of ounces.
Address: 1435 Hertel Ave. (833-6227)
Hours: 4 to 11 p.m.Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday. Kitchen open until 10 p.m.
Scene: Spacious bar and family friendly dining option amid the blooming retail and nightlife of Buffalo’s Hertel strip.
Signature cocktails: 6
Daily specials: There’s something new every night, from $5 Mac burgers on Tuesdays to $7 rotisserie chickens on Thursdays.
Parking: On surrounding streets
Don’t forget to: Take in the bar’s 20-feet-high mural, snapped of a flag-festooned Main Street in downtown Buffalo, circa 1901.