On Friday nights I usually try to head out in search of a new place where I have never been. These days that’s not a hard task, as there appear to be a slew of pubs and restaurants opening around every corner. This past Friday my friend and I made it over to District for a couple of drinks, and to scope out the place. What should have been a quick stop before moving on turned out to be a longer layover than expected.
First off, we were greeted by one of the friendliest and outgoing bartenders that we had run across in a while. It turned out that she had just moved back to Buffalo from NYC and was enthused to be part of District’s welcoming committee. The establishment has still not held its grand opening party, so the place was a bit subdued when we arrived, but I don’t think that that will be the case for long. Plus, we got there for happy hour and the bar crowd began to arrive later in the evening.
As far as bars go, in and around the Chippewa District, District holds up pretty well. It’s done up, but it’s not overdone. Instead of loading the place up with tables and chairs, the owners have left plenty of room for people to mingle and dance. The bar is large enough to accommodate a good-sized crowd. The booths are all upstairs, as is the deejay set-up.
We soon found ourselves wrapped up in conversation with our friendly bartender and a few high spirited patrons that moseyed on down to sit with us. By this time we were already making music requests to liven the place up, which was fine with the staff/owners since the younger Shea’s Theater crowd was, by then, in their seats and had vacated their respective bar stools. But not before they threw back a couple of shots before heading out the door.
The section of Pearl Street where District is located has always had a tough time getting off the ground. I think that it’s partially because the series of buildings is caught directly in-between a cultural district and a party district. That means that there is no distinct identity. In the past, most of the establishments have kinda thrown up their hands, not knowing exactly which direction to go.
District looks to be heading in the Chippewa direction, which is fine, because it can probably be a bit tough to attract the regular theater crowd to drink before and after performances, unless a place offers ample room to sit down and eat. District does have food offerings, but the crux of their business is geared toward the bar and nightlife crowd. I love that the owners named the place “District” knowing that people would wonder which district they were referring to. In the end, they have become their own ‘district’ – an offshoot of Chippewa that will hopefully add some life and pizzazz to the Theatre District, which they are certainly in the heart of. As you can see by their cocktail menu (see below), they are aiming to welcome people from all districts of Buffalo.