Friday marked the opening day of Local Kitchen + Beer Bar. It had been nine months since I last walked into the place, which is when the former establishment called Noir shuttered its doors (see here). At the time, the only thing that I knew for sure was that Local was going to center its offerings around bourbon (mainly), while dabbling in some nice Scotch and rye selections. As for the direction of the motif, and the food, that was yet to be determined.
Fast forward to opening night and what we have on our hands is a large yet cozy pub that looks nothing like its predecessor (even though it is the same owner). In the end, it turned out that in order to completely alter the atmosphere, two defunct barns on the outskirts of Buffalo were purchased and deconstructed. The old timbers were then packed up and brought to Chippewa, where they now make up many of the aesthetic elements of the bar. Thanks to the two old barns, I would say that Local resembles more of a saloon than anything else.
The transition from everyday Chippewa joint to something that looks more relaxed and welcoming was a smart move. Due to the selection of 40 beers, and the impressive selection of 50 Bourbons, Scotches and ryes, Local is creating its own grown up niche on a street that offers up a lot of competition. Bar manager Matt Santasiero set out a few samplings of Bourbons for me to sip, along with a barrel aged rum that surprisingly stole the show. Matt told me that much of what I was tasting was not available in Buffalo – they did their research and wanted to acquire bottles that were not your everyday brands.
Local has soft launched with a handful of sandwiches, but by this coming weekend the full restaurant menu should be available. The sizable kitchen is putting out a healthy selection of menu options, which can be eaten at the bar or at a table. The food options are varied, and include items such as sunflower crusted goat cheese crostini, soft Bavarian pretzel, beef on weck pizza, a variety of on the pit wings, Cuban torta, veggie burger, smoked brisket burger, sweet chili salmon, baked mac ‘n cheese, a number of salads, and an infamous Casey’s Tavern beer battered cod served on Fridays.
Sports fans will be happy with the 8 flat screen TVs situated above the bar. Buffalo lovers will be happy to see a lot of local ephemera hanging on the walls. All in all, the place has a good vibe. There’s a lot of lighting, but thanks to the use of Edison-style bulbs (nice in this particular case), it’s not overly lit. I hope they keep it that way – a place like this, the darker the better as night falls.
There’s a super techie jukebox that plays anything that comes to mind, which is something that I can dig, yet frightens me. A place like this, I want to know that the music fits the aesthetic atmosphere. Giving one person the Godlike power to control the room is something that would make me nervous. We shall see. Other than that, I can’t wait to go back and try some of the food.
Once again, I’m glad to see Chippewa turning the corner, into a place where every age group feels comfortable, not just a select few.
Local Kitchen + Beer Bar | 88 West Chippewa Street | Buffalo, New York | (716) 849-1000 | Facebook