We always wait for our ship to come in (preferably with piles of cash carried by hunky sailors) but until then, we will make do with the dollar-pinching happy hour offered by Templeton Landing on Buffalo’s waterfront.
Alas, we are old enough to remember when Crawdaddy’s and Shanghai Reds occupied the same location. The look has changed (the indoor bar was flipped so patrons can look out at the water and bartenders aren’t blinded by the setting sun bouncing off the back bar mirror anymore), but the summer vibe remains the same.
Depending on your mood, Templeton provides a couple of places to imbibe. For those who are air-condition-dependent, there’s an indoor bar/lounge. Outside is the deck, which is different from the patio. The patio is an extension of the dining room, so don't sit at a numbered table or fire pit without first checking with the hostess. The bar/lounge and deck are fair game, however.
Since we cannot get enough heat into our bones, we opt for the deck. It has a covered bar and is where live music happens. Regardless of where you sit – deck, bar/lounge - happy hour applies, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Templeton spreads out the deals making it easy for ding-dongs like us to comprehend. We chuckle at the dollar rungs of the happy hour ladder. (What does it say about us that we might want to wallow at $3?)
Clams start at $1. Oysters are $2. Three bucks nets you a 16-ounce Labatt Blue, Blue Light, Bud Light draft and the sneaky basket of fries. At $4, welcome well drinks, house wines, bottled Bud, Coors Light, Miller Light, Mich Ultra and Corona.
At $5, a Margherita flatbread stands alone.
Now at $6 things get interesting. Enjoy a Templeton Landing margarita, passion fruit mojito, sangria roja (the red one) and yes, a pile of nachos.
On to $7, pick up fried calamari, beef on weck and beer buttered steamed clams. For the big spenders, $8 ushers in chicken wings (oddly named Buffalo wings on the menu).
Mondays add $6 classic and specialty (wild berry, passion fruit) mojitos all day.
Templeton has more than just happy hour items to eat and drink, including frozen cocktails (think pina colada and strawberry daiquiri) and tropical drinks like a strawberry mule and Bahama in the $9 to $10 range. Bottled craft beers are around $7. Wines are available by the glass or bottle. In addition to the red sangria, Templeton has a lighter white. And because it’s bikini season, White Claw seltzers are $7.
A full menu is served indoors and on the patio. The deck and bar/lounge have abbreviated menus. Appetizers like spinach artichoke dip and sausage and chicken quesadillas range from $10 to $13; a jerk chicken sandwich, burger, flatbreads and chili dusted fish tacos run $12 to $14. A jumbo fish fry is $16.
Big shots from the boats might like the new charcuterie board options. Three choices are $13; six are $22. Meats include speck prosciutto, wild boar salame, hot coppa and Calabrese salame. Cheeses include Bucheron goat cheese, Cabot aged cheddar, Midnight Moon goat cheese and Maytag blue cheese. Each board is served with whole grain mustard, fig jam, olive tapenade, cornichons (those teeny French pickles) and crostini.
Live music on the deck happens from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, and on July 4 and Labor Day. Check the band calendar online.
Summer is fleeting, so even if your ship doesn’t come in, you can at least pretend you own one bobbing in the docks just off Templeton Landing’s deck. We just can’t help you with the sailors.
2 Templeton Terrace
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Deck open until 11 p.m.
Happy Hour: 3:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Music: Live music Friday and Saturday nights, 7 to 11 p.m., also July 4 and Sept. 2.
Scene: Summer, summer, summer. Glittering water, lake breezes and boats.
Juxtaposition: A waterfall and fireplace greet guests at the entrance.
Parking: Parking lot. Valet begins after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.