It was my girlfriend who first noticed the attractive awnings go up at 228 Franklin. She called me and told me to look out for what looked to be an upscale club coming to the Chippewa District. I soon learned that the owner was Steve Seminara (of Phatman Snowboard Shop fame), and he was indeed looking to do something targeted towards a slightly older crowd. Right now he’s in the process of creating a destination for graduates of the School of Chippewa, and he thinks that being on Franklin, as opposed to the strip, will help get established.
I had forgotten that the space in question came with a 2500 square foot patio. That’s going to allow Steve to outfit the outdoor surroundings with a Cape Cod gray fence, which will enclose the cabanas and outdoor beds. Inside, guests will be able to actually sit at tables without being subjected to outrageous VIP bottle service. He will however, offer price-conscious stainless steel beer and wine buckets delivered to tables by a trained staff. For the Happy Hour crowd, Steve plans on setting up live jazz and blues sessions, before breaking out the DJs that will spin from 11pm to four in the morning.
Steve’s alternative roots have allowed him to experiment with a sophisticated edge – that’s why the solid black granite counter tops will only be outdone by the Illusion Film rigged to project water on the walls. “We have a ‘guest’ mentality,” he told me. “Not a ‘We’re too cool to serve you’ mentality. I’m going to do this right, right from the start. My bouncer is in his fifties, and my crowd will be a bit older. Most of my friends don’t want to go near the 18+ stuff. We’re working on the outside of the building… look for waterjet cutouts, Rigidized Metals and architectural lighting. That should help to set us apart from the young Chippewa crowd.”
It would have been nice if previous building caretakers had not ruined the original details of the building’s facade. You can see hints of those details at the roofline. Regardless, it will be nice to have this dormant space near Main Street occupied. From the sounds of it, Social might fit right into a needed mature clubbing role that many feel Buffalo is lacking. Being near the Chippewa District will allow Steve to work within noise ordinance boundaries (older clientele can raise a roof too you know). Steve has not committed to an opening date as of yet – we’ll keep you posted as the date draws near.
Social Bar and Nightclub