Today was one of those long work days. It started with a 7:30 a.m. meeting and ended at 6:30 p.m. when I walked to my car. It wasn’t a bad day, it was a busy day. By the time I slipped on my coat and turned off the light, I was tired. Feeling good about my accomplishments for the day, I wasn’t especially thrilled about getting home and not knowing what was for dinner.
Imagine my delight when I called to check in on the way home and Frank suggested we go out for a bite. I pulled in the driveway and he was ready and waiting. Off we went to a local pub, that sort of special place where “everybody knows your name.” According to one local review, The Retreat is a casual sports bar that bills itself as “Greece’s own Cheers.” The bar offers big screen viewing of sporting events and fish frys every Friday night.
This local watering hole is maybe 2500 square feet, and it’s literally a hole in the wall. Tucked into the corner of a small strip plaza in North Greece, The Retreat holds lots of memories for my family. Frank and I stop in a couple of times during the winter months. He orders a brew and I have my usual water. We order the typical comfort food. This place has the best bar food around. Tonight I had the Reuben and he had the Steak bomber. The corned beef on my sandwich was superior to the quality I often get in bigger restaurants. The marble rye bread was just the right thickness and grilled to perfection with sauerkraut cooked perfectly and just the right amount of dressing. Judging by the way he devoured it, I think Frank thoroughly enjoyed his bomber.
The Retreat owners sponsored my boys’ softball team for the last several years. Frank and I were trying to figure out how many years they’ve played for sponsorship and we think it’s at least ten. It may have even started summers during college breaks and continued through last summer. There are pictures of the boys’ team sprinkled through the place. Bryan moved quite a distance away and no longer plays, and tonight Frank told me that Mike likely won’t play this year. With growing families and people moving, it seems the team lacks enough players. The end of an era I guess, like so many others.
The Retreat is located between a pizza place and another small pub/bar. If you’re not careful, you could miss it. When you open the door, there is a tiny vestibule that opens up to the bar area. I’d say the rectangular bar is probably 24 by 12 feet in size. Adjacent to the bar area there are about 15 tables. A small section in the back is used for open mic night, Wednesdays. The owner plays the drums and our waitress told us she is sometimes coaxed into singing. Other local talent and patrons also take part in the fun. The festivities don’t start until about 9 and since it’s a “school night,” we bagged it.
The walls of the pub are lined with rough-hewn 1 by 12 pine boards, painted dark gray, or maybe dark green — hard to tell in the dim light. Big screen televisions are everywhere. The owner must be a Buffalo Sabres fan as a couple of Sabres jerseys are displayed prominently in the seating area. Otherwise, most of the featured jerseys are those of the ball teams sponsored by the bar. The many team pictures are hung in and around the jerseys.
Signs over the bar advertise featured beers, one or two for each night of the week. A quick draw screen hangs high up on the wall in the center of the seating area. A video game console, resembling a slot machine, sits on the right hand side of the bar.
Tucked into the front corner, close to the short side of the bar, is the jukebox. As you would expect, tunes blare loudly and sometimes drown out the television commentaries. Week nights, especially during the winter months, is the best time to enjoin a relaxing supper. Just friendly enough to feel comfy, it isn’t so noisy that you can’t hear each other speaking. The other thing I like about The Retreat is that adults of all ages enjoy being there.
Come late spring and summer and the story changes. A sea of ball caps on heads and jerseys from all the teams make up a tapestry of color when you enter. It’s noisy, and on these nights, you have to almost shout to be heard. My kids and their friends usually take over the front corner of the bar. I’ve watched most of the kids grow up. I always enjoyed stopping in to visit with them after a game.
So, if you’re ever in North Greece, I highly recommend you consider making a stop at The Retreat. In fact, give us a call and we’ll join you!