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Buffalo Iron Works forges ahead in Cobblestone District

Buffalo Iron Works is finishing up some last minute details in preparation for its opening this evening. The 500-person capacity music venue and event bar will capitalize on the live sounds of Buffalo bands (mostly free), as well as some out-of-town acts (sometimes ticketed). When the live music isn’t in session, the industrial bar/restaurant will play host to Sabres and Bandits fans before and after games, along with First Niagara special event nights.

Developers Sam Savarino and Roger Trettel, along with additional partners at LagerHaus 95 (shared partners, services and some staff) have taken a building built circa early 1900s and preserved its historic character, while updating it enough to serve as a fully functioning destination in the Cobblestone District. In order to secure historic tax credits, the integrity of the building remains intact, and only the old wood floors are missing, as they were not salvageable. The beams used to support the flooring were reused in the building of the service bar. Other reused architectural elements from this building and others were also incorporated into the design fabric of the venue. You can even see where the old overhead pulley system was, or pay close attention and you will find other artifacts of interest including some that are still being installed, including a massive copper cornice and an old brass elevator that will be suspended from the wood beams.


The food system at Iron Works is being set up similar to a food truck. Customers will order such things as poutine (seven different kinds), massive jumbo dogs (with hollowed out fresh loaves of bread for buns), and a number of other chef-inspired easy-to-eat pub delicacies. Iron Works roasts and smokes their own meats, and prides itself on obscure foods that you might only find on a themed food truck.


Rigidized Metals constructed the handsome exterior signage, John McKendry who owns the building next door worked out a parking arrangement to accommodate guests, and the owners have sectioned off a space between two of the buildings to create a sizable patio that will also feature a bar. Clear garage doors can be found at both ends of the building, which will be opened on nice days. Sound dampening has been added to the venue to help with acoustics, and an elevated stage with sound and lighting is raring to go. Elias Benavides will be running the live music gigs on a regular basis. The windows ‘street side’ were left exposed, while the ones towards the back were kept filled in to keep with the darkened industrial grit of the live music-themed bar, while helping to curb noise that might compete with the neighboring comedy club. The name Buffalo Iron Works pays homage to Buffalo’s rust belt grit, and is the venue’s overall identity.


All in all, Sam Savarino tells me that this is just another piece of the Cobblestone Puzzle – a puzzle that is beginning to actually materializing in ways that might help to spur even further development in the area down the line. Whatever happens next, I think that we can all be happy with the sorts of milestones that we are seeing today, in the form of tangible development of one of our most treasured districts (or at least what’s left of it). It just goes to show you how important it is to preserve the buildings that remain.

Buffalo Iron Works | 49 Illinois Street | Cobblestone District | Buffalo NY | Facebook |

Here’s the live music line-up:

Fri Sept 27th  6PM Vinnie DeRosa
Fri Sept 27th 10PM Verse
Sat Sept 28th  9PM Pine Fever
Tue Oct 1st  7PM Jaime Holka
Wed Oct 2nd   Andrew J Peimers CPX Duo
Thu Oct 3rd  Wojick/Holka Duo
Fri Oct 4th  6PM Mike DiSanto
Fri Oct 4th  10PM That 80s Hair Band
Sat Oct 5th  10PM Dave Constantino Band
Tue Oct 8th  5:30 & 9:30 Cue the Sun
Wed Oct 9th  7PM Queen City Catastrophe
Thu Oct 10th  9:30PM Dave Nolf Band
Fri Oct 11th  8PM Mookie Blaylock
Sat Oct 12th 5PM & 10:30PM Mookie Blaylock
Tue Oct 15th 7:30PM Steve Balestri Band



Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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  • Nice transformation!  Congrats Sam, Roger and team!

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    The Blacksmith Shop is the last missing piece to making this block into something special. Also, if the Metal Fabrication company would sell their building and allow it to be turned into condos, we’d have a real 24/7 district.

  • elmdog

    So, now we have an arena for sports and music, this new venue, a Casino, a comedy club, 3 themed restaurant Bars, residential,  and a block away from the inner harbor….This is a destination for everyone…Now someone needs to link all of these with better street scape, lighting, transport from the casino to the other destinations, better signage, etc….

  • tjhorner1

    Love it!
    Would love to see a brewery added to the mix!

  • Michael DiPasquale

    Looks great. Now, let’s get some storefronts put into the ground floor of the parking garage.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Transportation? Their all three blocks away… about they walk?

  • bfranklin

    This has an impressive look to it.  Let’s hope they’re very successful.

  • JayDBuffalo

    BeardedBuffalonian elmdog and the Metro rail ends right there

  • Flyguy2pt0

    As Chippewa scales up a bit and becomes more “fancy-like” does the Cobblestone District become the new party zone? Thats a huge upgrade from vacant buildings or surface lots nearby. You know I liked the party zone atmosphere of the Chippewa of old and I think many others did as well. I think a few who decided to add violence to the area screwed up its reputation and pushed people away, ruining it for everyone else. The same can be said for many of the good things in the Buffalo area that were cast away due to violent outbursts that scared people off.  I wonder if success in the Cobblestone area results in demand enough to push rebuilding of the street walls along Mississippi and Baltimore Streets? Some good mixed-use type buildings. To accommodate the parking demands for Sabres etc., get a ramp in there of some size with ground floor bar/ restaurant/ event/ retailer space. I still believe the Buffalo Fire Museum is better suited with proximity to the EM Cotter and other attractions near canal side to leave the East Side and relocate to floor 2 of the DL&W. Make it work!

  • 5to81allday

    always wanted to try Poutine but im never in canada anymore

  • buffalovelmwood

    Looks great!  Excited to have a new live music venue and will be fun to check out after a hockey game or event at the arena.  Glad there are options besides Cobblestone.  I don’t know how that place stays in business.

  • GotAnyChange

    Did they decide not to fully update the exterior like the rendering in a previous article?

  • foreverbflo

    Al that you suggest is planned on on the way

  • quesaisje

    BeardedBuffalonian I haven’t heard anything lately about the Blacksmith Shop. Is the demo by neglect being allowed to continue?

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    I was here last Friday and from what I could tell it’s going to be a nice addition to the neighborhood. Onwards and upwards we go!

  • LouisTully

    ” This is Buffalo?  Seriously?”
    That’s what you’re gonna hear people from out of town, and even from WNY, say when they see it.  Drove by today and it looks fantastic.  There was foot traffic for the WWE event and the garage doors were open and it looked fantastic.  Home run.  Gonna be awesome for visitors to events at FNC, HarborCenter, Canalside, et al.  Maybe Carr will up his game.