Where you choose to spend the bulk of your St. Patrick’s Day weekend (or week) isn’t always about finding the hippest venue.
Is this because it’s hard for hordes clad in goat-hair sweaters, Kelly green Chuck Taylors or sheepherders’ wool caps to appear hip? Possibly—but it has more to do with the impetus of the celebration. It’s one for family and friends to laugh and sing and dance over a couple of pints, and to do so in a comfortable environment conducive to such raucous revelry.
The backdrop of suburban shopping center-set favorite Brennan’s Bowery Bar may not be at the top of anyone’s list as adherent to hipster chic. But for the days in March when Northtowns denizens are looking to celebrate the season, its spacious, green-hued confines are ideal for the occasion.
Opened in 1970, the location has many of the accentuates that have made its brethren location of the Shatzel family owned Coles so popular to generations of Buffalo-area residents. Local and Irish regalia line the walls of Brennan's barroom, dining room and large banquet room.
Stained glass and plaid wallpaper give these settings a classic tavern vibe; and its large wooden booths are great for family meals, first dates or your first round of stout—on whatever day you deem acceptable to start celebrating St. Patrick.
As far as Brennan’s is concerned, that day is March 14. The bar’s Saint Practice Day will give attendees a chance to prep for its three days of events: live music from Michael DiSanto at 8 p.m. March 15, Rince na Tiarna Irish step dancers at 3 p.m. March 16, and a 10 a.m. opening on March 17 for its all-day affair with a Guinness promo event, complete with specials and giveaways for fans of the brand.
But revelers don’t have to celebrate their Irish ancestry or familial camaraderie with Dublin-born pints. Brennan’s boasts similar in-depth craft beer options as other Shatzel-owned locations, with such stout alternatives like Bell’s Expedition (Russian Imperial, 10.5 percent ABV) and Ommegang King of the North (Russian Imperial, 11 percent), as well as selections from its family-owned Thin Man Brewing Co.
Drinkers celebrate the saint hailed for chasing the snakes from Ireland with the brewery’s conveniently named Hop Snakes Triple IPA (10.3 percent), and they can do it inside a banquet area that’s soon to be dedicated solely to a new Thin Man Taproom, with 16 taps and a small food menu to complement the offerings and ambiance of its neighboring location.
In the meantime, there’s the currently constituted Brennan’s, complete with its shamrocks, stag heads and barroom portrait of the Boston Strong Boy, Irish-American boxer John L. Sullivan.
Its special Irish menu items like traditional boxty ($8) and corned beef and cabbage ($15) is joined by servings of its Temple Bar potato soup ($4 per cup); and holiday celebrants can enjoy all amid a scenery that’s remained friendly and familiar for nearly five decades.
It's the season to celebrate spoils of Irish ancestry. Those looking for an old-school place suited for the aims of the holiday will find Brennan's hip to the occasion.
Address: 4401 Transit Road, Clarence
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 3 a.m. Sunday.
Scene: Part Irish pub, part craft beer bar, but all neighborhood Northtowns favorite for any occasion.
Drink specials: Various throughout St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but always $1 off drinks after midnight for area restaurant and bar workers.
Order Irish: Brennan’s has a separate Irish-themed menu for the holiday season, with specialized cocktails, sandwiches and entrees.
Parking: Lot in front.
Credit/Debit: Yes, with ATM on site.
Don’t forget to: Pose and snap a fists-up photo with the bar’s portrait of the Boston Strong Boy, John L. Sullivan.
*Read more bar features by clicking on the related Story Topic, below.