There are some places that are quintessentially East Aurora, the bustling village 20 minutes southeast of Buffalo. Chief among them is the Bar-Bill Tavern, a mecca for anyone looking for a small-town atmosphere and chicken wings so good, they’ll make a regular of you from the first bite.
The Bar-Bill just celebrated its 50th anniversary and has been one of Western New York’s go-to wing place for decades, drawing a crowd of both locals and out-of-towners. It tops nearly every “Best of Buffalo” and “Best Chicken Wings” list year after year, and the praise is well deserved.
The main thing to know about the Bar-Bill (besides the guarantee of crispy, perfectly sauced wings and beef on weck to write home about) is that you will almost always have to wait for a table. That’s because part of the popular tavern’s charm is how tiny it is—tables are in short supply, even with its all-season patio extension. In addition, they don’t take reservations.
Though the Bar-Bill is often standing-room only at busy times, your patience will be well rewarded. The tin ceiling, dark wood-paneled walls and unique details like a stained glass window and the wall of personalized mugs behind the bar add to the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. There is a distinct lack of frills, but a jovial “where everybody knows your name” vibe is in high supply.
The Bar-Bill menu is laid out with a helpful “What we’re famous for” section front and center, highlighting the pizza, beef sandwich specialties and, of course, its wings and all the available flavor options (the normal mild, medium and hot run spicy, and there are other options like honey butter BBQ, spicy Asian and the senses-obliterating suicide sauce). There are plenty of beers on tap, from Labatt Blue to seasonal craft selections, and even more available by the bottle.
One more thing—this is a cash-only establishment. There is an ATM on-site, just in case.
For all those looking to get their Bar-Bill fix to go, Bar Bill Takeout opened this summer with the aim of cutting wait times for in-restaurant customers. Located just a few doors down at 191 Main St. rear, behind Aurora Brew Works & Andrews Barber Parlor, this location offers an identical menu to the original.
Check it out on the Bar-Bill Tavern app, where you can place your order, save your favorites, and complete your purchase via credit card (again, this is for Bar-Bill Takeout only).
Whether you choose to swing by the takeout location or go for the full experience at 185 Main St. (I think it’s obvious that we recommend the latter, at least once!), the Bar-Bill is a must-try the next time you’re in East Aurora.