Elmwood Avenue has its fair share of craft beer destinations – places where you go to immerse yourself in the world of micro beers. The wave of home brewing, myriad craft beer festivals… it’s a great time to be a beer lover if you live in Buffalo. Now North Buffalo is becoming more of a craft beer destination with the latest entry to the restaurant-pub ring, The Public House of Buffalo.
The Public House of Buffalo owners Sara and Frank Testa have been in the bar and restaurant business in Buffalo for years. In that time they have managed to cultivate an avid following of fans who have been anticipating the young husband and wife to bust out on their own. After two years of looking for the perfect pub destination in Buffalo, the couple finally settled on 1206 Hertel Avenue (formerly Canvas). “We knew that this was the spot the second that we saw it,” Sara told me. “We wanted a place where everyone was welcome – no cliques… a wide range of people who appreciate good food and drink. When we looked at the thesaurus to come up with other names for “pub”, we learned that the original name for a pub was a “public house” – a town meeting place. The name fit with our concept. We wanted to have a wide variety of drinks and food for everyone… this is a place for people to meet up and enjoy the company of others.”
The decor of The Public House of Buffalo resembles bits and pieces of an old world pub. Rustic-looking artwork by Max Collins graces the walls. The bar top is fashioned out of reclaimed wharf pillars that were dredged out of the Erie Canal Terminus back in 2005. “My dad had the wood, and my brother in-law pieced it all together and polished it up,” said Frank. “The wood is black walnut and dates back to 1917. With the help of friends and family, we pulled this place together in about five weeks. The wood on the walls is made from reclaimed pallets (from The Foundry). We wanted this place to have a warm and comfortable feel.” They get a couple of extra points or their indie music playlist too.
Beer lovers will be happy to know that The Public House boasts 80 beers (20 taps and 60 bottles). During a recent visit I settled down to a newly released Resurgence “Smokey The Beer”, which I found to be quite satisfying (brewed locally of course). Others around me were asking Frank about the different beer and drink options, and he was all too happy to engage his customers and their queries. While I was sipping my beer, one of the servers was busy erasing beer names from the chalkboard and adding new ones. “We got slammed at the Italian Festival,” noted Frank. “We’ve been burning through beer since our soft opening a week ago. Now we’re starting to concentrate on the food – lunch and dinner, and brunch starting next Sunday. On Friday (today) we’re going to be cooking up our Flying Bison “Rusty Chain” fish fries. So far we’re completely energized from the incredible feedback that we’ve gotten since opening.”
The Public House features elevated pub food ranging from beer and cheese soup to char-grilled East Coast oysters. Customers can sit down to a charcuterie plate, a gourmet grilled cheese with fried egg and bacon, or even a veggie pizza. There are soups and salads, sandwiches (steak, crab), burgers, Reubens, wings (Chiavetta’s, Sriracha sesame, Frank’s, BBQ) and chicken Milanese fingers. There’s probably something to go with every beer on the menu, including the Great Lakes Erie Monster.
The Public House is open seven days a week. Whether you’re planning on sitting and eating at the full bar, or out on the streetside patio, you’re going to find devoted owners and staff that go out of their way to ensure that your experience is top notch. This pub is a great addition to the Hertel restaurant scene. Stop in for a muddled drink made by a pro, or for some stellar pub grub. It’s all good at this North Buffalo meeting place.
The Public House of Buffalo | 1206 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14216 | (716) 551-6208 | Facebook