Buffalo Tap House Pub & Grill is easy to miss. It sits unobtrusively at 85 W. Chippewa St. near Delaware, a wood-heavy bar with a simple name and aesthetic amid such colorfully named establishments as Bottoms Up and Indulge.
But it is worth seeking out. The Tap House is an ideal choice for those who desire an IPA, might want to watch a game, and shudder at the sound of places named Bottoms Up or Indulge.
I work nearby, on Main Street, and put Buffalo Tap House on my list of should-stop-bys months ago. It took some time to actually visit, but having finally made it inside, I would now call myself a fan. My guess is that would be the case for many who work, live or spend free time around Chippewa.
Some co-workers and I recently chose the bar as a Thursday happy hour spot and that was a wise move for several reasons.
It was not elbow-to-elbow busy, but nevertheless had a tangible energy.
The beer list is lengthy, varied and very good. Helpfully written on a chalkboard near the bar, the list included Founder’s Centennial IPA, Goose Island 312, Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout, Scotch Ale, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Hamburg No Lux Black IPA, Southern Tier Euro Trash and Ringside Lager.
The full list features a total of 31 beers, and that would be solid at any Buffalo bar. But it is especially noteworthy on Chippewa. It means the Tap House likely has the finest draft selection in that stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants.
Just as welcome as the size of the draft list was the happy hour deal. From 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Tap House offers $2 pints of Yuengling, Bud Light, Labatt Blue, Blue Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The friendly, pleasantly talkative bartender noticed my face light up at the mention of PBR.
“You’d be surprised how much we sell,” she told us, and I happily joined the PBR faithful. It is worth noting that some of the other beers were pricey. I also ordered the Hamburg Brewing Company’s Black IPA, and it was $7. Not cheap, but not completely unreasonable for that selection, either.
We ate a bit while enjoying our drinks – wings, waffle fries, fried pickles (healthy!) — and the crowd swelled. But it never felt too crowded or uncomfortably loud. In other words, it felt unlike almost every other joint on Chippewa.
The food menu is standard pub fare, but with a number of tables and booths throughout, it might not be a bad dining choice for those seeking something quicker than Bacchus, the Lodge, Soho, et al., to say nothing of the sure-to-be-mobbed Dinosaur BBQ.
The bill for food and beers for four ended up at around $60. That did not feel outrageous, although hearing Smash Mouth from the jukebox did.
The Buffalo Tap House Pub & Grill is a solid, simple joint that is a fine post-work meeting place. I hope its unique, somewhat anti-Chippewa vibe helps it stick around.
One final note, for the male reader, or the overly curious female: You have got to see the faux-wood urinal. At least, I hope it’s faux-wood. Either way, I’m having another $2 PBR.
Buffalo Tap House Pub & Grill
Where: 85 West Chippewa St. (332-2433, www.taphousepubandgrill.com)
Scene: A relaxed brew pub at the heart of Chippewa with a solid beer list and a friendly staff.
On tap: A lengthy list that changes often. Recent selections included Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout, Wells Banana Bread, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Ellicottville Chocolate Cherry Bomb Stout, and Southern Tier Live Pale Ale.
Music: Our visit was ’90s-alt-rock heavy with Green Day, Soundgarden, the Offspring. Digital jukebox on site.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., Monday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.