It’s hard to believe that Allen Burger Venture (ABV) is the same spot that once host the Quaker Bonnet Eatery. Nothing against the former establishment, it’s just that the transformation is remarkable (see history). The place is dripping with great rustic design.
First off, it’s hard not to notice the incredible beer tap handles – each one is some sort of oddity relic that has been affixed on top of the tap. From a hand grenade to an unidentifiable spiral spiked object, the array of hardware is impressive (medieval meets the farm). I also love the reused water piping for the bottle display shelves, and the copper water tubing that spirals down to feed the water faucet that is situated between the wine tap handles (yes, wine tap handles). That particular faucet’s sole purpose is to add a drop of water to a fine liquor served “neat” – to open up the bouquet.
You might notice other wall decorations that range from discarded shutters and windows, to an iconic and very Allentown-ish Mickey Mouse skull wheat paste (see here for more info). The album covers are pretty cool too, not to mention functional. In the future there will be a vinyl album night, where the bartenders/DJs (including DJ Cutler) and GM/rocker Johny Chow (see here) will be making sure that the turntable is put to good use.
The most surprising and appreciated design is the chalkboard that sits behind the bar. Behind the chalk board is a large flatscreen TV set that is only revealed when there is a local game on (Sabres/Bills), or some other noteworthy television program. When the game is over, the chalkboard slides back together to hide the screen. It’s about time that someone did this in Buffalo.
The candlelit back bar goes great with the myriad Edison bulbs/custom reused shades (that include growlers). The white subway tiles on the back bar wall go a long way towards preventing the place from appearing too rustic. The black ceiling trusses high above are almost unnoticeable, but do add a splash of industrial flavor during the day. Once the sun sets, ABV becomes a candle/filament lit chill oasis – a super comfortable place that’s hard to leave behind.
As is standard with any Mike Shatzel operation, the beer selection is vast, with local selections and far flung choices. I was fascinated with all of the craft beers that were available in cans… cans appear to be making a big comeback.
Everything appears to be a bit different at ABV, including the bathroom ornamental touches.
Many of the other items of interest that are found about the place came right out of Johny Chow’s living room. “There were some empty display shelves here and there,” he told me. “So I went home and grabbed a bunch of stuff from my house. I think it works really well in here.”
The burger menu (burgers are not yet available) is off the chart. There’s a burger for everyone, with varieties that range from “Jiffy” peanut butter, pickled jalapeños, applewood bacon with white cheddar, to seared Hudson Valley foie gras, Grand Cru onion marmalade with Cambozola cheese. Shared plates include poutine, tater tots and truffle fries.
ABV is sure to become a huge hit in Allentown, especially once the patio opens. It’s in close proximity to a number of other great establishments. This is just the first step in a number of other Shatzel ventures to come in the neighborhood. Stay tuned, but in the meantime get yourself to ABV for a drink, to listen to some great tunes, and to relax in a splendidly done tavern setting.
Allen Burger Venture | 175 Allen Street | Buffalo, New York | (716) 768-0386 | See Facebook for food service updates