These are crazy times. We grab on to opinions and cling to them like they are inflated dingies, bobbing in a freezing cold ocean of uncertainty. But sometimes, dear reader, it’s okay to let go, to admit when you’re wrong.
You or I may not know sports blogger Matt Verderama from a hole in the ground, but I’m pretty sure he’s ready to admit: His searing hot take from 2018 about Josh Allen being a bust may have been a bit off.
Likewise, I’m ready to admit I had the wrong opinion about the new Papi’s Waterfront and Beach Bar in the Old First Ward. Instead of it being a meat market filled with barely-of-age drinkers, the new bar and taqueria is actually a welcoming spot to chill after a long day of work or on a weekend afternoon; the latest casual option to open in the Ward along the Buffalo River.
On my recent visit, I ordered a pint of Summer Ale and spoke with the bartender. She told me the bar crowd typically depends on whatever live music is playing: DJs bring out the Gen Z crowd while acoustic guitar acts tend to draw Millennials and older. On the weekends, the bar gets people coming in off their boats, pedal tours and bar crawlers crossing Ohio Street from the Resurgence brewery.
My visit was on a Friday afternoon and there wasn’t much of a crowd there. Sat on a patio chair overlooking the river, I began taking notes: View of the Buffal”O”, Labatt Six Pack and Riverworks across the river. The modest sound system filling the space around me with pop-hit energy. A steady breeze and the smell of Cheerios in the air.
There are worse ways to spend a sunny afternoon.
While location is the main draw, the waterfront bar does have a small food menu that includes chips and queso ($10), nachos ($16), poutine ($13), ground beef “gringo tacos” ($6) and birria tacos ($8). Drink options include bottled beers, daft beer, tropical mixed drinks, frozen daiquiris and frozen margaritas. Food and drink specials are regularly posted to the bar’s Instagram and Facebook profiles, and these should be taken advantage of.
Social media is also a great place to keep track of the beach bar’s events that it hosts throughout the week. There’s trivia nights, boozy bingo, themed parties, and occasional appearances by The Axe Wagon — everyone’s favorite mobile axe throwing party.
It has to be said: While having a large sandy area at a waterfront bar might seem like a plus, there are a few drawbacks. It may make it a bit less accessible for those looking for a place both wheelchair and stroller friendly. Also, sneakers might fill with sand. High heels might have to be removed.
That being said, the new Papi’s Waterfront bar has one of the best locations in Buffalo, and the location alone is worth stopping in for – I have to admit.
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Monday to Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Papi’s Waterfront + Beach Bar
301 Ohio St Buffalo, NY 14204 • $$$$$
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