The corner tavern is as much Western New York as the chicken wing. While many have disappeared, it’s nice to see when one is rehabbed and given new life, as was the case for an old bar that sat on the corner of Broadway and Lackawanna Avenue in Depew (not to be confused with Lackawanna Avenue in Sloan, which also hits Broadway).
We noticed the building’s rehab taking place over the winter. When a nice log cabin exterior and Blues Brothers statues appeared on the roof, of course a bar.
Mooney’s opened in March. (It has sister locations on Military Road in Kenmore and Niagara Street in Tonawanda.) We finally ventured to check it out recently on a warm night.
The lot was full, so it was street parking. A Sabres flag fluttered on a hockey stick/pole and funny signs (especially about a surveillance camera and a trip to the Erie County Holding Center) welcomed us – a prelude to the neat stuff inside.
A busy fella carrying a bucket of beers whizzed by as we entered.
Mooney’s is small but not uncomfortable. A friendly couple made room for us to slide in to get a drink at the busy bar. Unfortunately they were out of the daily special – 2-for-1 Yellowtail Rosé. So it was a white zinfandel for me and Blue Moon draft for SigO.
Mooney’s has a decent selection on tap (Sam Adams seasonal, McSorley’s, Coors, Bud, Ellicottville Brewery Blueberry, Smithwick’s, Guinness) as well as bottles, including most domestics (Genny snubnose!) plus Red Stripe, Corona, Ringside from Saratoga, Yuengling and their ilk. Angry Orchard Cider and hard lemonades are available, too.
We shuddered spotting the Jagermeister “Ice Cold Shots” machine. Oh, the memories.
When the friendly couple’s neighbors got up, they quickly ushered us into the space.
Settling in, we examined the surroundings. Because Mooney’s is cozy, the multiple giant TVs are easy to see in both the bar and restaurant area – a bonus for Bills and Sabres games.
Above the bar we cracked up at the Aud “blues” seats, displaying the Super Bowl champ’s (Ravens and 49ers) helmets in the center, flanked by a hopeful Bills helmet to the left and Crown Royal helmet to the right. There must be a connection, but we couldn’t quite place our finger on it.
Everywhere we looked, a fun piece of memorabilia jumped out. A traffic signal, a Yankee Stadium light, an ancient looking fourth-down marker, a scary goalie mask and the centerpiece – a giant 1939 scoreboard lit at “Visitors 2/Home 0.” Above, a weird clock with the top number “8” followed clockwise to “1.” Cool, but what was it? Apparently an old basketball scoreboard, when eight short quarters were played.
We decided to eat at the bar, as many others were. Mooney’s fits the bill for hungry sports fans, or not. Appetizers, wings, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, subs and a Friday fish fry.
For the gluttonous, the Moses Challenge ($19.95) is a 6ø pound sub of turkey, ham and roast beef with toppings plus one pound of fries and one pound of coleslaw. Eat it in 45 minutes to win your meal, T-shirt and Wall of Fame recognition.
Mooney’s claims it’s “Home of The Mac n’ Cheese.” Ten kinds to be exact. So, we ordered a regular mac and cheese side ($4.99), a Beef Taco ($5.99) and PB&J Bacon Burger ($9.99). Yes, peanut butter, jelly and bacon. Why not?
The mac and cheese lived up to its name. The “side” was huge, creamy and delicious. My burger was outstanding with melty peanut butter and jelly, loaded with bacon – the sweet, salty combination was perfect.
For a small sports bar Mooney’s packs a powerful punch. We heard they might get the old scoreboard fixed so the home team has more points. We certainly can’t argue with that.
Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill
Where: 4628 Broadway, Depew (681-2121, www. mooneyssportsbar.com)
Atmosphere: Close and friendly quarters.
Spotted: A take-out customer in PJ bottoms.
Specials: All day, domestic beer bucket (five) for $12. From 11 to 7 p.m. $2 domestic drafts, $2.50 well drinks. Regular beer drafts, $3-$5; bottles $3-$4. Drinks $4-$6.50. Bills and Sabres specials during the game.
Hours: Opens daily at 11 a.m. Until midnight Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; until 1 a.m. Thursday; until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
Wheelchair access: No