My love for a great happy hour and great fish fry was passed on to me by my parents. Some of the best memories I have from growing up in East Aurora are of the Friday night trips to get a fish at one of the "hole in the wall" type places around the Southtowns of Buffalo.

I absolutely use that as a term of endearment. These places were not only an amazing place to get a fish fry or pizza or a beef on weck. These bars ans taverns were a meeting place for people to catch up on the events of the week. Or, in the case of happy hour, a great place to unwind and have a drink after a long work day.

Many of these establishments on the list below were famous on a large scale because of the live music they offered. These hidden gems for music lovers brought the best local entertainment and even a major name like Stevie Ray Vaughn every now and again.

Things sure have changed in the bar industry over time. The drinking age went from 18 to 19 and eventually 21. The DWI enforcement has gotten very strict and frequent and thankfully, people have gotten more serious about drinking and driving.  Bars either were forced to close or change their business model to attract a different clientele to survive.

In the world of fruity drinks and craft beer, there are still some blue collar bars in which you will find "good ol' boys (and girls)" telling jokes, sharing stories and most importantly, solving the worlds problems one longneck bottle at a time.

Walenwein's in East Aurora, Matty's in Elma  and The Wales Center Hotel are just a couple that I find myself at every now and again.

Here are few of the places that I can recall either being at for dinner with mom and dad or have heard some great stories about that are no longer in business. I didn't know when I was young the type of connections, relationships and memories that were made within the smoke filled (yes the days when smoking was still legal) walls of these legendary watering holes.

**Some of following bars are still in business under a new name.

  • Belle Starr
  • Longbranch
  • Evergreen
  • Lance and Shield
  • Ali BaBa’s
  • The Barn
  • Bourbon Street Café
  • Pierce Arrow South
  •  Cookies West Falls
  • Max and Sophies
  • Captains Chair
  • Rapples
  • Colden Lakes
  • The Clonmel
  • Metzgers in West Seneca
  • Seven Corners
  • The Red Lantern
  • The Blue Lantern
  • Prime Time
  • Holland Hotel
  • Shenanigans
  • Sundown Saloon
  • Huttons
  • Chafee Hotel
  • Clark Street
  • The Fairview
  • Hoaks Armor
  • Purple Moose Saloon
  • The Boston Hotel in Boston
  • The Leland House
  • The Heritage Inn
  • The Buxton
  • The Pipe Creek Inn
  • Kuznik's in Elma
  • The Doodle Bug
  • The Golden Dollar
  • Callahan's