A Black Rock institution is on the market. Casey’s Tavern is being sold by owners Jo Peñalvert and Shawn “Dad” Donovan. The two purchased Casey’s 14 years ago, but the tavern’s history (as Casey’s) dates back 50+ years.
I recently met up with Jo to talk about her desire to see the establishment end up in the right hands. “Everyone knows Casey’s,” she told me. “It’s the type of place where a customer walks in through the door and kicks off the work boots, or loosens the tie. The bar is like a big family – Shawn and I are hoping that whoever buys it keeps the name Casey’s, because the people that come here are like a big happy family… it’s a neighborhood tavern.”
Casey’s is a neighborhood tavern, there is no doubt. At the same time, this quintessential Black Rock tavern is located in a “changing” neighborhood. Amherst Street is “on the rise”. Ashker’s recently opened, Dapper Goose is nearby, and Wegmans is down the street. There are also other longstanding businesses such as Spar’s and Voelkers. It will be interesting what the next chapter of Casey’s beholds. Jo acknowledges that whoever buys it will want to conduct a few upgrades. At the same time, there are some great bones to work with.
Jo has many mixed emotions about letting the tavern go. “Shawn recently retired from his other job,” she said. “And I’m ready to move on too. I’ve got places that I want to go, and I feel that we have been good stewards of Casey’s over the year. The place is like Cheers – everyone knows each other. At the same time, a random person can walk through the door, and the next minute he’s at the bar singing “Piano Man”. All I can say is ‘thank goodness for Uber, because people tend to stay for a few drinks.'”
Casey’s is the type of place where you can get good reliable bar food, and cheap drinks. There’s a great fish fry (Wednesday through Friday) year round, with the same recipes being passed down since the place first opened. There’s also a late night menu, with wings.
Jo told me that she is willing to stay on for a while to help with the transition. She also said that the day manager, “Grandma Ethel”, is willing to stay on – she’s been working at Casey’s for 20 years.
As for the tavern’s amenities, there’s a large dining room in back that is great for parties (diaper parties, wedding showers, paint nights, birthday parties, etc.). The establishment also has a bowling machine (bowling leagues are popular). There’s a large basement for storage, with a beer cooler, space for a liquor room, and a huge walk-in beer cooler (the bar has 7 taps). If someone wanted to put in a patio, there is a decent space between the parking lot and the building that would be perfect for cooking grilled and steamed clams. “It’s something that we always wanted to do, but never go around to it,” said Jo.
The tavern building has two “apartments” upstairs. One has an office with 2 bedrooms and a bath. The other has three bedrooms, with kitchen and bath. Casey’s also incredibly comes with a substantial 29 car parking lot, although it would be great to see someone build on it, to create more commercial density on the street.
What we’re looking at here is an awesome opportunity to be an integral part of the history, and the future, of Black Rock. “It’s a great place, and we love it, but we’re heading in different directions,” said Jo. “We’ve been loyal to our customers for 13 years. Casey’s feels like home. It’s going to be very sad to go. I’ve been struggling with this for years. The time has come.”
Casey’s is for sale for $324,900. It’s essentially a turnkey operation (inventory sold separately). The bar currently has a full liquor license.
Casey’s Tavern| 484 Amherst Street | Buffalo, NY – New York 14207
Real estate agent – Lindsay Rodgers | Keller Williams Realty | See listing