A new social club geared towards men, but open to everyone, has opened in Downtown Buffalo. Il Mulino Social Club is the brainchild of Jared White (That Barber & Co.) and Mark Nunziato (Zio & Co. Custom Clothiers). The two share a common thread when it comes to the art of pampering, style, and leisure.
If you’re not familiar with Il Mulino Social Club, you’re not alone. The social club flew under the radar for the most part, which is how White and Nunziato planned it. But once you discover the place, your outlook on the commercial and social possibilities in downtown Buffalo will forever be altered. That’s because, instead of embarking upon their own separate businesses, the two decided to team up and go for the gusto. Hence Il Mulino Social Club.
According to the business partners, Il Mulino Social Club is like nothing else out there, until you hit London or Calgary. There might be something like it in NYC, they told me, but to have all of the elements they have incorporated is very unique. It starts with bespoke clothing at Zio & Co. Custom Clothiers – Nunziato sells custom clothing (suits, shirts, etc.), and some off the rack clothing, including overcoats. He started with a mobile business, making calls to professionals looking to up their fashion game. Nunziato told me that his merchandise is the closest thing to a bench tailor, without the cost. He’s driven by his passion for clothing, and it shows.
Another service offered at Il Mulino Social Club is a shave and a cut by That Barber & Co. Currently, White is running a seven-chair barber shop, featuring seven master barbers. In a city where barbering is now all the rage, that’s a lot of master barbers to wrangle – each has his own specialties when it comes to cuts and styling. The shop offers classic men’s cuts, hot towel shaves, beardwork, longer style cuts, and everything in-between.
While the partnering between a master barber and a bespoke tailor is certainly significant, it’s the supplemental offerings that tie everything together. Il Mulino Social Club features a full bar (currently seeking liquor license) with a professional pool table. Nunziato and White said that the bar will be open to the public, but there will still be social club membership benefits such as discounts for products and services, networking events, as well as specials. So there is an element of exclusivity, without being obnoxious about it. The bar will be open all day, serving coffee in the morning (they are in conversations with Overwinter Coffee), before transitioning into a craft beer and cocktail atmosphere. The back of the bar has a brilliant floral mural (Instagram wall) that is inspired by the giant flowering mural on the side of their digs in the Sinclair Building. The Il Mulino Social Club logo also pays homage to that mural.
In order to pull off the desired look and feel of the space, the partners worked with Raelyn Woltz of West End Interiors. They have also retained the brand marketing services of Mr. Smith Agency, which is also located in the Sinclair Building. When I asked how much the shopfront dictated their vision for their brand, they said that the space was exactly what they had envisioned all along, with vaulting ceilings, lots of glass, and an open concept floor plan. “We’re going to be measuring and cutting while the bar is open,” they told me. “The name Il Mulino means “mill” – a place to cut (hair) and grind (coffee). There is also a reference to fabric mills. It’s all tied together.”
Nunziato and White are over the moon about their new joint venture, but they’re also planning for the future. The founders are currently working on creating custom house products, and down the road they want to build out a speakeasy. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting my hair cut, shopping for a new summer shirt, playing a game of pool, and sipping a cocktail in these stylish surroundings. What more could you ask for?
Il Mulino Social Club
465 Washington Street | Buffalo NY
Zio & Co. Custom Clothiers | 716392-8612
That Barber & Co. | 716-949-8259