On the occasions I've been to Milo's for breakfast and banquets, I was always impressed with the sleek bar that is off to the side as you enter the spacious restaurant. Bright, modern and accented by a lovely pastel-lit counter bar, the lounge is inviting and cozy.
An eye-catching floor-to-ceiling wine cooler is on one wall, two televisions flank the bar and an array of liquors, lined up like soldiers, stand at the ready on mirrored shelving behind the gleaming bar.
On a recent Friday, my husband, Dan, and I stopped for cocktails and a bite to eat. Heading to the bar, we noticed that only single seats were available and that all of the bistro tables and two larger tables against the back wall were occupied. As we waited for a couple of seats to open, we chatted with Toni and Norm, who were enjoying a gin and tonic and whiskey sour. They ventured in from the Southtowns after they saw a notice in Gusto that their favorite band, the Formula, was performing that evening in Milo's.
We settled in shortly after when an accommodating staff member brought out a couple of chairs for us at the end of the bar. Justin, as efficient as he was friendly, took our drink orders promptly. Dan enjoyed his usual T & T -- Tanqueray and tonic in a tall glass -- while I asked Justin for his recommendation on a full-bodied red wine with spice. He offered a couple of tasting samples and I settled on the Apothic, a lovely dry blend of three grapes.
In the mood for a casual night out at a place that has both scratch-made food and a live atmosphere geared to a mature crowd, our friends Donna and Jerry joined us for some libations and laughs. Both guys order another round of gin and tonic while Donna and I opted for more vino that was literally Greek to me. Justin recommended Elio's, a Mediterranean blend from the homeland that had a luscious mouth feel to it and was suitably dry.
The decibel level in the lounge was rising as more people filtered in. While I am accustomed to having breakfast there (hmmm -- what red goes well with pancakes?), we all agreed to order food at the bar, especially since the entire menu is available.
Wearing two hats as a server and bartender, Justin delivered our appetizer of dips and pita bread in no time. Full of flavor and plentiful, the quartet of dips was perfect for us to all share. While many of the people around us enjoyed beer and fish frys, we opted for Milo's fork-tender chicken souvlaki and an order of clams casino and seafood-stuffed mushrooms.
By this time the Formula had set up in the corner and was in full swing, playing everything from "Arrivederci Roma" to "La Bamba" to Chubby Checker's "Twist."
"I love the vibe here," declared Donna. "I want to come back every week."
The four of us looked on in delight as several couple spontaneously arose and danced in the lounge area and others clapped in rhythm. Even the band seemed energized by that.
Milo's must be Greek for let the good times roll!
Milo's Restaurant & Banquet Center
5877 Main St., Williamsville 810-9489
Scene: Busy lounge with baby-boomer crowd, casual chic atmosphere and an accommodating, friendly staff.
Drinks: All the standard wine, spirits and liqueurs, including -- what else? -- Ouzo and other Greek-based libations.
Happy Hour: From 3 to 7 p.m. seven days a week with two-for-one specials on draft beer, top-shelf mixed drinks and appetizers.
Dress code: Summer comfort wear, no tube tops or muscle shirts in evidence.
Entertainment: Live music every Friday evening.