I absolutely love dive bars and the Jolly Jug in Amherst/Tonawanda is a true irony-free dive bar. Located on Niagara Falls Boulevard and consisting almost solely of regulars, the Jolly Jug has everything you’d expect from a true neighborhood bar. They have absolutely no taps, their entire beer selection are in bottles with no craft beers or microbrews in sight. The entire crowd had an average age of 50, there were several dogs hanging out at the bar and even though there were signs saying “no smoking”, the place definitely smelled like several patrons broke that rule.
When my co-workers and I walked into the Jug on last Friday afternoon, I was a little nervous. You could instantly tell we weren’t regulars and as we went to the bar for our first beer, an older gentlemen realized this was our first time and bought us our first round. I later found out he was the owner of the bar and even though I wasn’t one of the regulars everyone there was extremely friendly. The place isn’t scary inside, in fact it reminds me of my grandfather’s basement. There is wood paneling everywhere and 99% of the music played was released before 1980. The jukebox (pictured in the gallery) was ancient and had a great selection of 45’s. They do have a brand new internet jukebox but I didn’t notice anyone using it.
- Beer Selection: Bottles only and nothing ‘fancy’, PBR and Genny under $3/bottle
- Bar Type: Dive
- Food Options: 5/6 Subs, Burger, Hot Dog, Goulash
The drinks are incredibly affordable, I read one sign that mentioned their PBR bottles are 2.25 all day and my bottles of Genessee (yes, I went there) were under $3 each. I immediately noticed their menu on the wall; the Jug offers several different subs, hamburgers, hot dogs and goulash. After watching a co-worker down a cup of goulash and being reassured from a regular that I absolutely had to try it, I decided to go for it and order a large bowl (pictured above, $3.25). The bartender was actually pissed that I placed a food order, in all fairness she was completely by herself and at this point the bar was getting busy. She found some time to heat up some and I’m glad she did, the goulash was unlike any I’ve had before. Their version has absolutely no red sauce whatsoever and it was completely loaded with ground pork and had a very strong garlic flavor. It’s definitely not the best food I’ve eaten but after I had a couple drinks, it seemed like the perfect food to have in that setting.
The Jug actually opens at 8am and serves breakfast, I can’t imagine having breakfast at a dive bar but maybe it works. I’m not sure if I will ever go back, I don’t find myself in this area too often, but if you want a no frills bar that plays some true old man bar music (we heard The Leftovers “Heart of Buffalo” several times), this is a great bar to try out. The crowd is definitely not young, but if you’d like to drink some cheap beer and play a game or two of pool (for 50 cents/game) you can’t find anything better in Amherst.