When one thinks of beer staples in Western New York, anything that can be obtained in a “light” version comes to mind: Budweiser, Labatt, even Genny. But there’s a whole world of pilsners, IPAs, lagers and stouts out there, and if you’re looking to try them (or even the old standards), I have three words for you: Ebenezer Ale House.
I stopped at Ebenezer after work on a recent Wednesday to meet friends for happy hour. I was expecting a fairly quiet bar for our 5 p.m. rendezvous, but we found the opposite. Ebenezer was booming with a bustling after-work, pre-dinner crowd, mostly younger adults in their 20s and 30s, enjoying the bar’s fabulous happy hour specials of $3 drafts and half-priced appetizers. Sarah, Carli and I joined their ranks, snagging one of the high bar tables and beginning the Herculean task of picking one of the dozens of beer options.
In the end, Sarah chose a pint of the Empire Brewing IPA, while I went with a Hefeweizen, Warsteiner Konig Ludwig. Carli chose a bottle of McKenzie’s black cherry hard cider. We chatted and laughed over our drinks, our voices mixing with those of our fellow bargoers and adding to the general commotion and lively atmosphere.
With its brown, wooden-shingle exterior, brick fireplace and mantle and sloping roofs, Ebenezer looks more like a ski lodge or cabin than a standard bar. It’s open and spacious, the light yellow walls decorated with uncluttered tin beer signs – no flashing neon brands here. It’s a small detail, but compared with the usual hodgepodge decorations of drinking establishments, the well-spaced, retro signs are a nice departure.
In addition to the high bar tables, there are about a dozen regular dinner tables in the main space, with a wall of windows along one side – which let in tons of natural light, another welcome departure from most bars – and the long, wooden bar along the other. There is also more seating down a short flight of stairs, along with a generous patio off the back of the building that’s just begging you to have a cold one or three on some lazy afternoon.
The bar has five TVs, turned to the news and four different sports during my visit – with such a unique building and interior, they almost seemed like overkill. Though I can see how no bar in the Buffalo area would want to be without a TV during Bills and Sabres season, one or even two would have done the trick.
As our visit continued, we ordered another round of drinks as well as two appetizers to split (the baked goat cheese dipping sauce and the quesadilla). Considering the overwhelming beverage selection and absolutely delicious apps, the happy hour at Ebenezer’s really can’t be beat. Although light house music was piped through the speakers and a jukebox was available, conversation held court during our visit. We had to fight to hear each other at a few points, but that’s barely a complaint – there were more secluded tables if we wanted them, and the fun atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for.
Whether you’re blowing off workweek steam, meeting up with friends or just looking to while away a summer night, the Ebenezer Ale House has you covered. It’s a unique, welcoming space in a landscape dotted with hole-in-the-walls, and I’m glad we discovered it before summer wraps up.
Ebenezer Ale House
Where: 4348 Seneca St., West Seneca (674-BEER)
Scene: A casual yet elegant spot with a wide variety of beers and a welcoming vibe.
Drinks: Tremendous beer selection, both draft and bottled—there are more than 80 options total. Standard liquor and wine choices are also available, along with a list of specialty martinis and cocktails.
Dress code: Jeans and T-shirt casual, though there is often a post-workday crowd of young professionals during happy hour.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m., featuring $3 drafts, $2 domestic bottles and well drinks and half-priced appetizers.
Hours: Opens at 11 a.m. daily.