UPDATE: Since this post, The Library has closed.
We are going to be starting a new feature on Buffalo Eats called Bar Hopping. Consider this a hybrid between our normal Food Porn articles (our version of restaurant reviews) and Beer Porn (our love of beer and drinking). As with many of our readers, we love going to bars and meeting up with friends. Living in Allentown and being within walking distance of several great bars definitely helps our nightlife. That said, these posts will focus primarily on the “bar” experience; we’ll cover everything from beer selection, prices, atmosphere, food options and anything else we can think of.
I first heard about the Library over a year ago when they started following us on twitter. I loved the idea of a “Library” like setting for craft beer and snacks. I just started working in the Northtowns, so on a weeknight a few weeks ago I stopped by after work with my friend Adam for some happy hour drinks (and eventually snacks). It’s not the easiest place to find, there’s basically no sign and it’s hidden between Iris Restaurant and Tea Leaf Cafe in the Maple Ridge Plaza on Maple Rd.
- Beer Selection: 20 Craft Beers on Tap, ~30 bottles (website selection)
- Bar Type: Casual Pub
- Food Options: Chicken Wings, various appetizers (everything is around/under ~$10)
The Library isn’t exactly a stand alone bar, they share the kitchen with Iris Restaurant and are under the same ownership/management. The Library’s menu is definitely geared more towards “pub food” and you’ll find wings, various deep fried appetizers and some sandwiches (aside from missing more expensive entrees, it’s not that different then Iris’s menu). The bar is pretty narrow and you’ll find most of the seating at the long wooden bar and several booths in the back. When we visited during a Tuesday night the place was pretty quiet and almost everyone was sitting at the bar.
The Library advertises having 20 craft beers on tap and about 30 in bottles. Since it’s still technically Fall, Adam and myself ordered some Fall-appropriate beers. I went with one of my favorites, Spaten Oktoberfest, while Adam ordered himself a Southern Tier Pumking. They served both of our drinks with appropriate glassware, something that I love when drinking a good beer. While their tap list isn’t amazingly impressive (they won’t be competing with Blue Monk or MacGregors anytime soon) they definitely have enough to satisfy true beer lovers.
Along with our beer we decided to try some snacks off their menu and ordered their Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Wings (pictured top). If you’ve ever tried Sweet Chili Sauce from Wegmans or your local Asian Market you’ll know exactly how these will taste. Their coating was a sugary thick glaze with a small hint of heat, pretty delicious but something you could easily replicate in your own home with a 3 dollar bottle of sauce. We also ordered their Onion Rings (pictured bottom) which came out in a large basket. They were supposed to come with some spicy mayo type of sauce but the restaurant had ran out so we had to substitute with ranch dressing. Both snacks complimented our heavy Fall beers beers nicely, they weren’t exactly culinary breakthroughs but sometimes when you’re having a couple beers with a friend you don’t need that.
I enjoyed visiting the Library, but considering the bar options that are just down the street (specifically MacGregors and their amazing beer selection) I’m not sure if I’ll be rushing to come back. The place is nice enough that you could stop by for a drink as a date or sit there in your work clothes and not feel “over dressed”. They do have a pretty large television at the bar so you could also catch a sporting event but since the bar doesn’t really have a “rowdy” atmosphere I can’t say wearing a jersey and yelling at the TV would work. If you work near UB’s North Campus and want to find a new place to go after work for a beer or two, this place seems like a good candidate. But with a good (but not great) beer selection and fairly standard bar menu, it’s not worth driving too far out of your way to visit.