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The Irish family embrace of Jordan’s Ale House

Dependent on your experience or ethnic construction, the term “Irish family drinking atmosphere” can conjure a variety of imagery.

Hearty laughs between colorful, cross-generational stories. Frothy pints sipped between sing-a-longs around the kitchen table. Sibling revelry that may take an occasional turn for the worse, dependent upon everyone’s version of history and/or level of imbibing.

Mike and Dawn Jordan understand all of these elements, but also have an appreciation for the genuine warmth at the heart of it all. This was the atmosphere they had in mind when they opened Jordan’s Ale House in 2015, and for the past three years, it formed the foundation of their under-the-radar Abbott Road site.

Residing inside the impressively renovated confines of what was once the beloved neighborhood dive Stankey’s Café, Jordan’s was established by the brother-sister team amid professional transitions from a 19-year steel recycling gig (Mike) and retirement from the Buffalo Fire Department (Dawn).

Neither had owned a bar before, but when the opportunity arose to purchase Stankey’s—a favorite of their late brother, Larry, who died in 1980—Mike said it “kind of felt right.”

Plus, as the former lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Buffalo’s riotous Irish rock act, Jackdaw, Mike had seen his share of pubs. He and Dawn knew what kind of a place they wanted Jordan’s to be—and it wasn’t the type of pre-packaged joint that substituted slung shamrocks and stereotypical regalia for the genuine camaraderie and service that personifies the best Celtic enclaves.

Jordan's Ale House bartender Suzette Kolaga pours a Blue Moon. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Today, they have that place, and it provides a welcoming spot for casual drinks and conversation aside Sabres action, live music or some bartender-served stories. Its revamped barroom hosts high tops off its line of bar stools, where its signature wings ($10 for single order) and other Buffalo tavern favorites can be enjoyed under an evening of Van Morrison tunes, a Tuesday evening open mic or at happy hour held Monday through Saturday.

And whether enjoyed with one of 10 rotating drafts, a few Bud Lights, or a perfectly poured pint of Guinness ($5), all comers can expect the possibility of some simple bar chitchat as the start of something bigger—like a bar-patron relationship akin to the embrace of a large Irish family.

Hanging out from left are Peter Schneider and Larry Hanlon of South Buffalo. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Mike’s seen it, with visitors from as far as Lockport making special treks into his South Buffalo stop for wings, or with new Buffalo residents finding Jordan’s as their own makeshift Queen City welcome center. Bartenders remember names and drink orders; management notices when regulars are missing; and when new customers find the front door, ownership welcomes them as if they’ve sidled their own stool for decades to a time when their brother Larry was still smiling at the bar.

This is the Irish family drinking atmosphere of Jordan’s, and its warmth has cultivated a surprising go-to stop on the evolving streets of South Buffalo.

Jordan’s Ale House

Address: 107 Abbott Road; on Facebook

Hours: noon to 2 a.m. Monday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Scene: Revamped South Buffalo spot with solid ambiance and draft options—and the imprint of a lauded Irish musician and his firefighter sibling.

Drafts: 10

Happy Hour: 2 to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday with $2.50 well drinks and domestic beers, 75 cent wings.

Parking: Side lot.

Credit/debit: Yes, with ATM on site.

Don’t forget to: Check its open mic and live music schedule, updated regularly.

Jordan's Ale House is at 107 Abbott Road. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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