Seven Hundred and Sixteen TeeVees #ForReal

30 Jan

(716) 1 theaterI’m disappointed that the (716) Bistro won’t have 40′ TV screens and is settling for 38-footers. Perhaps I’ll file a lawsuit to block the proposal. My favorite part of the reveal was this paragraph, which was in the Buffalo News

The restaurant’s walls will be decorated with graphics that tell the history of the numbers 7, 1 and 6 throughout the history of sports. Its bathrooms will feature mirrors that have TVs embedded within them. And, in addition to the 38-foot TV screen, there will be 55 more big-screen TVs throughout the restaurant.

Watching the embedded mirror TVs after taking a piss is all well and good, but what about during the piss itself? Can we expect supraurinal plasma screens? What about on the inside of the doors to individual stalls? Going number 2 can take minutes rather than seconds, and patrons can’t miss a minute of sports action! Will the hand dryers have TVs?

Who knew that Tully’s was a restaurant decor trend-setter? 

But seriously, I don’t have a problem at all with a big hotel/hockey/restaurant project across from the First Niagara Center and Canalside, and down the block from Helium. It’s high time that area became the city’s entertainment district, and as much as we can make fun of the acid-washed  dream that is (716), let’s be clear on one thing – HarborCenter is the Bass Pro project, (without the public cash). 

Although it won’t be selling waders, rods, reels, and shotguns, it is a large-scale, expensive destination project that will attract people year-round. The (716) restaurant isn’t going to be fine dining, nor is anyone pretending that it will. It will likely feature a wide panoply of the finest deep-fried dishes, making you wish you owned the exclusive Pitco Frialator distributorship for western New York. It’ll be an over-the-top mega-sports bar to which people will drive 30 minutes to ignore their friends and get drunk while watching – and screaming to – an endless bank of TVs, wearing $120 hockey jerseys, and hopefully not drive home. 

It might not be your cup of tea or mine, but what HarborCenter is doing is, on balance, a good thing for Buffalo.

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20 Responses to “Seven Hundred and Sixteen TeeVees #ForReal”

  1. Colin Eager January 30, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    “HarborCenter is the Bass Pro project, (without the public cash).” The parenthetical would seem to make the rest of this statement meaningless.

    On top of that, there are plenty of differences between Bass Pro and HarborCenter besides the public cash.

    • Alan Bedenko January 30, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      And a great many similarities.

      • Colin Eager January 30, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        In the ways that matter, they seem different. HarborCenter is privately funded, Bass Pro wasn’t. HC is the result of an open competition, while BP was chosen as some kind of white whale. HC is owned by someone with strong local ties, and BP wasn’t. HC is mixed use, BP wasn’t. HC offers an amenity (ice) that is in short supply locally, while BP would have replicated an amenity that was available in sufficient quantity. HC is likely to attract folks from outside the region, while BP wasn’t.

        All of which is to say that most of the substantive criticisms of the Bass Pro project don’t apply to HarborCenter.

    • robrobrobislike January 30, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      Where does this “without the public cash” notion come from? This thing got $37 million in tax breaks from ECIDA and another $20 million in brownfield tax credits from the state.

      • Alan Bedenko January 30, 2014 at 11:24 am #

        IIRC, the state was going to physically construct Bass Pro for it.

      • robrobrobislike January 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

        That sounds right, but that still does not make this a “without the public cash” project, which is how it was billed at first and continues to be billed.

  2. rhmaccallum January 30, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    I hear the floor is backlit and looks like arena ice. They should have made it real ice, what fun.
    Imagine me, a drunken Scotsman on skates. Whoooo-eeeeeee.

  3. robrobrobislike January 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Also, how much do you want to bet that this is AT ALL adhered to?

    “Our celebration of food will be highlighted by Western New York culinary favorites featuring locally produced ingredients.”

    • Mike_Chmiel January 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

      Probably not likely. However, I wouldn’t expect a sports bar to serve up meals on par with Bistro Europa. If they adhere to that standard, good for them.

      • robrobrobislike January 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

        Totally. I wouldn’t EXPECT a 13,000 sq ft sports bar megaplex to offer anything other than Sysco, but the fact that they’d try to blow smoke about local procurement knowing that no one is likely to bother to look into it is galling to me.

      • Mike_Chmiel January 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

        If they think no one will call them out on it, then they are gravely misinformed about the local reviewing and food blogging culture.

        Maybe they still think Okun is at the News!

  4. Mike_Chmiel January 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Biggest difference between HarborCenter and Bass Pro? HarborCenter will actually exist. There was never any serious intent demonstrated by Bass Pro to come here. They were more than happy to be wined and dined for years, however.

    That said, I expect a bar similar to the Real Sports Bar in Toronto to do well in Buffalo. Of course, given that our population is not growing, those jobs “created” will come at the expense of the countless other bars/restaurants in the Buffalo area.

    Either way, good for downtown. The development will attract hockey functions here, and should also bring in events such as the Frozen Four tournament.

  5. Ann Onimous January 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    716 TeeVees!?!? I’m old enough to remember when all it took was 76 trombones for a town to have a good wholesome time!

  6. robrobrobislike January 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    I don’t know why anyone would worry about this place being a tacky dump. Their general manager has run a variety of tasteful Hard Rock Cafes from Boston to Cleveland to Niagara Falls.

  7. jimd54 January 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    They should have the usual fried morsels but if it was me I’d make it a gastropub. Those are the bombdiggity.

  8. bugmenot2013 January 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    The long-range viability of that business name would probably be a question just about anywhere in the country where there’s always the chance of an area code region being split or overlaid with one or more new ones to handle the explosive growth of mobile and other phone numbers.

    Fortunately for these gastronomes, that is hardly likely to ever be a problem here.

  9. Andrew Kulyk January 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    You know, I don’t eat sushi. I’d just as soon open a bag of dog biscuits and chow down on those. Yet when I hear that a new sushi restaurant is opening on Roosevelt Square, I cheer and celebrate. One less vacant storefront, one more business in downtown, one more reason to bring life and buzz and vitality to the streets of our city. Win. WIn. Win.

    So why is it then, that the bile and vitriol gets dumped on this project from a small but noisy bunch of people, and curiously the very same people who are linked to the longstanding obstructionist bunch who have said no to anything cool and awesome at Canalside? You don’t like sports. I get it. You’re not into tavern food and 40 beers and big screen TVs showing all the games. Fine.

    But sheesh, can’t you at the very least be happy that a long time vacant asphalt lot is being developed into a dynamic and incredible project, and that nothing is turning into something, and something grand at that?

    I like sports. I’ve been to Real Sports. And ESPN Zone. And whenever I have been to these establishments in other cities I’ve always asked, “why can’t we have something cool and amazing like this in Buffalo?” Thank you Terry and Kim Pegula. Maybe Buffalo can have nice things after all!

    • BufChester January 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      “the very same people who are linked to the longstanding obstructionist
      bunch who have said no to anything cool and awesome at Canalside”

      Tim Tielman and Alan Bedenko? Yup, joined at the hip last time I checked.

    • Alan Bedenko January 31, 2014 at 7:44 am #

      “But seriously, I don’t have a problem at all with a big hotel/hockey/restaurant project across from the First Niagara Center and Canalside, and down the block from Helium. It’s high time that area became the city’s entertainment district, and as much as we can make fun of the acid-washed dream that is (716), let’s be clear on one thing – HarborCenter is the Bass Pro project, (without the public cash). ” What a monster I am.

    • robrobrobislike January 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      You’d really rather eat dog food than sushi?

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