I still vividly remember when The Royal Pheasant re-opened in 2005 after being closed for many years. It was is if someone had brought back a part of history that needed to be retold in a newer, cleaner way. Alas, before the new owners could even find their groove, the doors were shut once again and the building began to creep right back into a dark and forgotten place. Today, things are looking up once again for this historic bar thanks to the establishment’s current owner John McNeill. After being away from Buffalo for 25 years, living in San Diego, John decided that it was time to return to Buffalo. “I look around now and I see things differently,” John told me. “Look at this place [pointing to the bar]. You don’t just run across opportunities like this everyday. Mixology (John teaches a mixology course when he’s not bartending) is going to a place for everyone. I want to celebrate the diverse community while supporting the arts with live music, artwork, poetry readings, etc.”
Mixology Buffalo is undergoing some rather interesting changes at the moment. Since December, John has been busy turning the interior into hi-fi heaven, with five different surround speaker systems, each playing to different parts of the room and to individual sound booths. Mixology will open during the day as a coffee bar, and at night the bar will turn into a haunt for the 30-40+ something crowd. I’m looking to create something for my age group,” John continued. “I have a major green thumb, which means that this place will look like a lush jungle when I’m done with it. I am inviting people to stop by for the Garden Walk to take a look around and offer up suggestions. We’ll be serving up free refreshments and showing slide shows of Buffalo’s gardens that will be playing on our five TVs. We’re installing overhead canopy sails on the patio, with plants all over the place. Our wall sconces are designed to mimic the color and shape of the Richardson Towers, and the windows on the front of the building can be removed in order to connect the inside with the patio. Down the road we’re going to be getting the kitchen back in working order so that we can serve up carne asada burritos – a dish that is found on every corner in San Diego. I can’t believe that nobody here has ever heard of these melt-in-your-mouth burritos!”
I’m happy for the neighborhood that surrounds Mixology. This sounds like the type of place that one could get used to. It’s nice to see this building come to life again, because when it’s down and out, it reflects a similar vibe out onto the street. John is still waiting for the liquor license to come through, which means that he doesn’t have an exact opening date. Stay tuned for more news from John and his inspiring project.