When I was organizing a tour of the Old First Ward this past weekend, I wanted to show people something completely different. Of course we saw many of the waterfront amenities new to downtown, but we also paid a visit to a long lost pub that is slowly but surely rekindling its flames.
That’s not to say that the Buffalo Bar and Grille will be a hotspot anytime soon; rather owner John Hofmann has opted to keep the lights on to see what sort of crowd shows up. John does not advertise… and he’s almost reserved when he talks about his 100-year old pub.
A walk inside the Buffalo Bar and Grille is like walking into the past… the images hanging on the walls range from posters of the Mary Jane Girls (Rick James’ posse) to old photos of City Hall. John definitely has Buffalo blood running through his veins. Everything he does is geared towards promoting the city. He even produces Buffalo t-shirts on the side – remember the shirt that defined Buffalo as ‘any various wild oxen, sometimes domesticated, feeds on grass, beer, rock & roll and parties seven days a week’? That was just one of John’s creations. As far as the pub goes, John has now owned the place for five years. He went through three and a half years of negotiations in order to obtain the property – an ordeal that paid off when he finally acquired the pub of his dreams.
The reason that you may not be familiar with this pub is that it is not the easiest place find… and it’s open during irregular hours. The pub is located in the Old First Ward on Louisiana Street, and as far as I know it is the only commercial business on the street. Seeking out this place is well worth the effort though… that is if you’re into original mahogany walls and ceilings and totally kitsch patios. The lounge area looks as if it might be somebody’s living room, while the patio is under a huge tent with cushy lawn furniture to sprawl out on.
The entire place is different. Even the hours are different. The pub is mostly open on Friday evenings unless you call ahead to let John that you’re bringing a bunch of people by. He opens the doors if he knows that visitors are to be expected. Most Friday nights a ladies softball tam plays across the street so the pub is open. Still, it is best to call ahead.
Besides having beer and wine, John cooks up a Soup of the Day, steak fries, onion rings, a chicken breast sandwich, chicken wings, a garden salad, and a NY strip steak dinner (among other items). Sales tax is included in all of the prices ranging from $3 for the soup to $20 for the strip steak. Look for the sign above the door that reads, “Dedicated to those merry souls who make drinking a pleasure, who achieve contentedness long before capacity, and who whenever they drink, prove able to carry it, enjoy it, and remain ladies and gentlemen.”
The Buffalo Bar and Grille is located at 307 Louisiana Street. Phone is 716.602.9724
Friday 4pm to 10 pm, and during big neighborhood events and private parties. See Facebook.