There was a time when Buffalo was loaded with lounges. If you ever go to a flea market and run across old matchbooks, you will discover countless lounges that once existed here. Unfortunately, the time of lounges ran its course, and today it can be tough to find one. One of the all time best lounges (in this day an age) was the King’s Court on Delaware. Unfortunately, the interior succumbed to the same fate as the rest of them when someone got a hold of the place for an instant (not the current occupants), and destroyed the interior. That place was awesome. Then there was The Royal Pheasant on Forest Avenue, which met its match only a short time ago (brings tears to the eyes). Today, The Elmwood Lounge is one of the only remaining lounges left in the city – there are a couple of lounges on the East Side, but for the most part the former home of Lance Diamond is still one of the last vestiges of what was considered commonplace in Buffalo.
Enter Joseph “Joey” Dallos, Jr., a real estate broker who knows a lot about lounges and bars in Buffalo. He once owned Fortunato’s in Riverside, and a member of his family owned The King’s Court. He was also intimately familiar with The Elmwood Lounge. You might say that Joey is a lounge lizard, or more like a lounge guru I suppose. After being away from the lounge scene for a while, he has suddenly found himself right back in it by opening Joey’s Place on Hertel Avenue. How did this happen? Well, after purchasing the building (the former Class Act) a couple of years back, he set out to find someone that would want to operate an establishment – one that they would build out. After two years of searching, he threw his hands up into the air and decided to do it himself… probably the best thing that ever could have happened to the place.
Today, Joey’s place is a super chill place that is reminiscent of a lounge. It might not accommodate a large crowd, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in heart. It’s the type of bar that most anyone would want at his or her corner. If you’re looking for the largest selection of craft beers around, or a trained mixologist that loves to shake, shake, shake, then this is not your place. If you’re looking for a cold PBR bottle, Barry White playing on the sound system, real candles (thank God!), and a bowl of chili, then this is the place for you.
Last night I stopped in to have a beer, and ended up shooting the s#@t with the bartender (Angela) for a couple of hours. I was not intending on staying that long, but a couple of guys that I knew from around town walked in and we all got hooked on the UFC fights that were on the boob tube. That’s what’s so great about Joey’s – if you’re sitting anywhere in the place, then you’re in close proximity to the rest of the patrons. You’re bound to start talking to someone, which is kind of what the lounge experience is all about.
The menu at Joey’s features a very limited offering of food. According to Joey, he does a couple of things great, and that’s all he wants to do. “The hand carved roast beef and the roast turkey are slow roasted and delicious,” he told me. “We also have a new England clam chowder and chili… that’s it. But what else do you really need? I’m concentrating on bringing the lounge atmosphere to North Buffalo.”
Joey’s Place | 1122 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14216 | (716) 322-6209 | Open for lunch and dinner daily