Eating Buffalo Wings at Anchor Bar is a must for food travelers. But do the legendary wings live up to their hype?
Ask any Buffalonian for a wings recommendation and you likely won’t hear Anchor Bar.
In fact, just the mention of the wing pioneer brings vehement opinions from locals who feel that the historic bar’s days have long passed. While we empathize with that thinking in light of the restaurant’s foray into franchising, we decided that a visit to the historic spot was a must so that we could make our own opinions.
Have the wings changed over the years? Were the wings served in the sixties the same super spicy product that’s now served at sports bars across America? We really don’t know. After all, we weren’t alive in 1964 when Anchor Bar started slathering wings with hot sauce.
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For us, the opportunity to saddle up to Anchor Bar’s historic wooden watering hole and order wings was special. But what did we think about the wings?
Anchor’s Buffalo-style wings, while not exceedingly spicy, have excellent flavor and their award-winning, untraditional habanero ranch wings, are succulent, crispy and explodingly juicy. In other words, we liked them.
We’re not alone with our Anchor Bar appreciation. The restaurant has earned numerous accolades over the years including a coveted James Beard award in 2003. The Buffalo Wings joint even made its way into a 2019 episode of The Simpsons – not too shabby for an operation that’s been slinging wings for more than a half century.
Inside Anchor Bar
Tourists come in droves to chow down at the bar where the Bellissimo family first fried wings and coated them with hot sauce in 1964. We get their motivation. It’s fun to let the imagination wander as you sit at the very seat where the bar’s first wings were eaten.
Though spacious dining rooms were added later, those rooms are fun too. Their walls are covered with 350+ license plates plus bikes, trophies and other memorabilia.
Were these really the first wings ever served at an American bar? Certainly not. Were they the first wings served at a bar in Buffalo? Nope. But they’re a cornerstone to understanding the origins of something that’s become a ubiquitous bar food. And they taste good too.
You can bottles of hot sauce, t-shirts and other branded items at Anchor Bar’s on-site gift shop. | Image: ©2foodtrippers
Buffalo Wings And More At Anchor Bar
Anchor Bar’s expansive menu features more than just wings. Its spicy ‘buffalo wing style meets diner cream of chicken’ soup pairs nicely with a pint of local beer as do its burgers, pizza and other bar foods.
However, don’t get distracted and skip the wings. We enjoyed ours so much that we later created a baked Buffalo Wings version to eat at home. And, while you can now find Buffalo Wings at bars around the world, there’s nothing better than eating them in Buffalo.
The original Anchor Bar is located at 1047 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209, USA.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the famous Buffalo Wing legend is up for debate, there’s not debating that Matriarch Teressa Bellissimo was one of the first to coat fried wings with spicy sauce and serve them with celery and blue cheese on the side.
Anchor Bar’s menu is affordable with most items under $20. Buffalo Wings are currently priced at $15.99 for 10 pieces, $28.99 for 20 pieces and $65.99 for 50 pieces. As always, prices are subject to change.
Yes. Plan to leave a 20% tip for good service and even more for excellent service.
Anchor Bar doesn’t have a dress code. Wear whatever makes you happy.
Yes. The original Anchor Bar has a parking lot.
The original Anchor Bar is approximately one mile from downtown Buffalo.
The original Anchor Bar is approximately 20 miles from Niagara Falls.
Buffalo Wings Tour
After you make a mandatory stop at Anchor Bar, we recommend continuing your Buffalo Wing journey at Bar-Bill Tavern, Bar-Bill Tavern, Duff’s Famous Wings, Elmo’s Bar and Restaurant, Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward Brewing Company, Kelly’s Korner and Mammoser’s Tavern.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.
We thank Visit Buffalo Niagara for sponsoring our trip to Buffalo to facilitate this and other articles.
Original Publication Date: April 20, 2023