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Best Niagara Falls Nightlife

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Niagara Falls' best nightclubs are casual hangouts and pub-like charmers. Those in search of upscale nightclubs with thumping beats, dark lights and smoke machines, well...you may have to adjust your expectations here. Niagara hoped the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino in 2003 would magically pump up its rather one-note nightlife offerings. A metamorphosis is occurring, just not as quickly as everyone hoped. The casino and on-site bars and clubs are still the most upscale Niagara Falls has to offer. Some of the energy has gravitated toward nearby Youngstown and Lewiston, where live music joints flourish. There is one thing happening in downtown Niagara: An increase in after-work foot traffic produces lively Happy Hours.

TNT's Hair O' the Dog Pub

Neighborhood: Downtown Niagara Falls

Niagara's newest live music venue, Hair O' The Dog Pub has an open mic night on Wednesdays that draws talented amateur singers (anyone can jump on stage, but with this crowd you had better be good) and the best blues and rock bands it can find on Friday and Saturday nights. Dancing is encouraged (to say the least) and the party just gets hotter after midnight.

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TNT's Hair O' the Dog Pub  

Bandana's Bar & Grill

Neighborhood: Youngstown

Don't let the rather rough exterior turn you off from Bandana's, where the wine and beer list is almost as long as the eight-page menu. The food is fine, but most people come to this Niagara Falls bar and grill to drink and play pool (indoor and outdoor tables), or catch a live blues band. Bandana's has a reputation for finding foot-stompingly good bands that light the place up on weekend nights. If the bar scene's too much for you, grab one of their patio tables and have a hearty Tex-Mex dinner instead. The porch is wide and shaded by a red awning, a colorful touch to the white exterior of this two-story, renovated former home.

Brickyard Pub & BBQ

Neighborhood: Lewiston

It's best known for its barbecue, but the Brickyard's quite a funky little pub, too. Belly up to the bar and check out the extensive listing of beer, in bottles and on tap. The range runs from Stella Artois to Blue Moon, with lots of Canadian Ales, specialty lagers and pilsners, as well. When there's live music—which is frequently—the bar's three big-screen TVs are blessedly turned off. Otherwise, expect at least one TV to be blaring a sports game (probably hockey), while patrons chat, play pool and wander between the indoor bar and backyard patio. The one-level, white-trim spot is cheery and welcoming, appropriately built in bright red brick, and attracts families and couples, plus music-loving youngsters at night.

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Foley's Tavern

Neighborhood: Downtown Niagara Falls

A typical neighborhood pub with a whiff of Irish flavor, Foley's projects enough broad appeal to attract a fairly constant flow of visitors. Boozy beer drinkers like its slightly shabby decor, designed to make the place look like an authentic pub that's been around forever. There's an always-wailing jukebox to keep people entertained, but the real amusement at Foley's comes from conversing with the patrons, who sit around drinking and talking into the night.

Braggs

Neighborhood: Downtown Niagara Falls

One of Niagara's oldest clubs, Braggs is still the after-midnight spot to kick up your heels. The outdoor patio turns into a dance floor in summer, and in winter the fun moves inside. You won't hear much house or electronica at Braggs, but lots of classic American rock-n-roll, some hip hop and an occasional power ballad or two from the likes of Journey or Jon Bon Jovi. Dress is casual, but ripped jeans and T-shirts are frowned upon. There's rarely a cover unless it's a really busy Saturday night.

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