Boomer Esiason’s Stadium Grill has A Very Good Happy Hour… But It’s Short.

When I first heard via Fork in the Road that Boomer Esiason had decided to try his hand at the restaurant business, good old next door neighbor Guy Fieri was busy completely and utterly overshadowing the former Jets player Esiason in the media and blogosphere. Although I’m never first in line at restaurants where celebs use their star power to draw in crowds (lame!) I figured since I didn’t even know who Boomer Esiason was, that it would be OK. Plus, Blondie wrote a review nearly two years ago about the former Times Square Bowlmor Lanes (44th btw. 7 + 8) bar before Boomer took over, and I thought I would investigate to see how it had changed.

Lunch’ers, I was shocked and happily surprised at the deals at Boomer Esiason’s new bar in Times Square. Is Boomer’s a hidden gem? Hell no. But I can concede to the hidden part… at least to the untrained eye. If you’ve never been to Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, Boomer’s is on the third floor. The bar has a few small signs signaling its existence, but because it’s not at street level and one of my friends had trouble finding it. When you do find it, it’s shockingly large with a long bar and stadium seating, any kind of game you could ever want on the TV screens, and a bit gaudy — almost like a sports book in Vegas. One of my friends described as “over the top, but in a fun way.” But all of us were pleased to be there, simply because of the $4 pints (sadly, not imperial) with a few somewhat nicer beer choices — like Sam Adams Octoberfest and Blue Moon. It’s not often you find a deal like that in Midtown, much less Times Square. They also have $5 wine and cocktails for those of you who are sophisticated.

We were also pleased with the price of the $6.95 appetizer specials (choice of cheese pizza, calamari, hummus, nachos, tenders, or wings). Was the food AH-mazing? Nope! But it was decent pub grub, and there was lots of it. I’ve discovered by doing these happy hour posts that almost nothing makes me angrier than a lame happy hour appetizer special, designed to look cheap but it’s half the volume of a normal portion. Boomers does not rip you off.

We ordered a pizza, and even though it’s supposed to only be cheese on the menu special, they didn’t charge us to turn it into a chicken BBQ pizza. The pizza got good reviews from the group, although I thought the BBQ sauce was a touch too sweet.

The nachos, topped with generous amounts of cheese, sour cream, jalapeno, black beans, and pico de gallo were also a crowd pleaser. Best nachos ever? Nah. But there were plenty of em!

And… the Buffalo wings. Admittedly, they were not the best I’ve had lately, but I was just happy they didn’t stiff me on the number of wings. I counted nine good-sized wings and I was truly expecting six. The wings were naked and definitely needed a little extra sauce to make them nice and sloppy, and the wing sauce had a very slight sweet-tangy quality that made them a little less hot than true Buffalo style. The carrots and celery weren’t the freshest, either, but the blue cheese sauce was great. There were a few big-old-honkin’ blue cheese chunks in it, and that’s my favorite.

From the looks of the pictures from Blondie’s post, Boomer’s bought all the kitchen supplies along with the restaurant, because the plating looks the same and the food looks somewhat similar. Perhaps he just slapped his name on it, personalized the menu by adding a Boomer Burger, and called it a day?

And although I didn’t have time to explore the other bars in Bowlmor and the many sports options like pool, skee ball, bocce ball, and of course bowling (I probably couldn’t afford it anyway), all of these options are right here at your fingertips. It looks like a buttload of fun where you can drop a buttload of cash.

One troubling change I noticed is the length of the happy hour special. It appeared that just under two years ago, the happy hour special was just about the same deal at the old bar Blondie went to, but at Boomer’s, the special is only two hours long, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to get out of work before 5:00 anyway, but for Midtown Lunch’ers who head for the tipple early, this is sad news. And finally I’m going to throw a gripe in here about the service. Although the bartenders who helped us were very friendly and we got free pizza toppings, it was very difficult to get his attention at such a long bar. Although the bar wasn’t crowded at 5:00 on a Wednesday, it seemed like nobody was paying attention to my beer line. I sat there empty for several minutes during those two hours… with such a short happy hour special… that clock’s a tickin’.

The + (what somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Very good happy hour value for midtown with ok beer selection.
  • Nothing pisses me off more than a happy hour appetizer “special” disguised as a rip off. Food specials are big – not a half plate of food
  • I love sports and there’s no shortage on these many, many screens!
  • I like bars that are over the top in a fun way.

The – (what somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • This bar may be hidden, but it’s not divey enough tocall a hidden gem.
  • I hate when celebs try to use their names to propel them forward in the restaurant business. Not going.
  • This happy hour sounds good, but it’s only from 5-7.
  • I can’t deal with aloof bartenders. I’m outta beer!!!!!!! Rawr!!!

Boomer Esiason in Bowlmor Times Square, 222 W. 44th Street, (212) 680-0012

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