There are many reasons to love Eddie Brady’s, but more than anything, there is the location. The intimate watering hole is smack dab in the midst of the very busy Genesee Gateway stretch in downtown Buffalo, at the crossroads of the old and the new.
It’s a fitting spot for Eddie Brady’s, which has the look of an Irish pub. Clearly, it has its share of regulars, but by virtue of being so close to Main Street, it also draws the downtown workforce for lunch and post-work beers.
The building dates to the 19th century, and it has housed various establishments over the years. Ed Brady opened his business in 1990, a date found on the bar’s iconic black and gold sign.
My first visit was the night of the Bob Seger concert at First Niagara Center. A patron innocently asked if I was heading to the concert, which almost caused me to pass out with laughter. I mean no offense to Seger-ites. I imagine Bob would love the relaxed, mixed-age vibe of Eddie Brady’s, actually – and in fact, a friend once told me she played Seger on the jukebox here for 20 minutes straight.
That would not be frowned upon, I think. It might even be appreciated. During that first visit, I heard a mix of classic rock – some Steve Miller and Tom Petty – and the occasional surprise. (Jimmy Eat World’s emo-anthem “The Middle” sounded a bit incongruous.)
In other words, I felt welcomed by the sounds, the people and the surroundings.
You’ll find a gorgeous wood bar, one of those great pressed-tin ceilings, an Iroquois Beer sign, an old newspaper box, an even older looking cash register, seats from the Aud (the “blues”), a strange Jim Kelly Hall of Fame poster featuring a ghostly Marv Levy hovering in the background, and a popcorn maker in the corner. (Not sure I’d dig into the popcorn.)
The beer lineup is limited, but that’s no surprise, really. I spotted Guinness, Sam Adams, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Bass, Shock Top and Labatt Blue on tap.
At the time of my post-work arrival, the bar was crowded with older men (when two younger girls entered, the men’s heads seemed to pivot as one), but that changed a bit as the early evening wore on.
The staff was hard-working and friendly, with one moment standing out: My friend ordered a Guinness, and it arrived looking like it stepped out of beer commercial central casting as the younger barkeep topped it off with a note-perfect shamrock resting on the foam. Very nice.
A woman came in, ordered a beer and sat down at the bar, reading a good book. That’s not something one would feel comfortable doing at many establishments. At Eddie Brady’s, it seemed just right.
No one was dining on that Thursday night, but the menu was written on a chalkboard, and I’ve heard good things, especially about the fried bologna.
Returning for lunch a few weeks later, I enjoyed a very good hamburger and a different feel. The place was busy during the noon hour, and it made me excited to see so much activity.
Whatever happens on Genesee Street, Eddie Brady’s deserves to continue to flourish. It offers a pleasant reminder that an old-style pub experience can still be found in Western New York.
Where: 97 Genesee St. (854-7017)
Scene: An intimate, old-style watering hole smack dab in a busy spot on Genesee Street.
Happy hour: Deals vary, but beer prices are pretty low to start.
Music: The jukebox features a nice mix; during my visits, it steered toward older faves.
Hours: Generally opens around 10:30 a.m.; closing time varies.