The Banshee Irish Pub is one of Buffalo’s most authentic Irish pub experiences. Opened by four partners in the former D’Arcy McGee’s, The Banshee is a welcome addition to the diverse numbers of bars and eateries in the Chippewa District.
Not only is this new Irish pub found in a wonderful old historic building, it also features truly authentic aesthetics from the motherland, or “old country.” The bar itself, along with much of the ornamentation, was all imported from Ireland (when it was D’Arcy McGee’s), giving the establishment a very authentic feel.
Along with the authentic nature of the pub, another impressive factor is the sheer size of the restaurant, as well as the compartmentalized cozy accommodations. There are plenty of little nooks to choose from, including some library-esque booth seating that boasts a blazing fireplace.
Of course the bar itself is the cat-sìth’s meow. There’s plenty of room to sit around the bar, drinking, singing, cheersing, or chatting with the professional bartenders.
As for the name, co-owner Conor Hawkins (also manages The Curtis Hotel, and self-professed lover of Liverpool FC, Cliftonville FC, and the Buffalo Bills) told me, “I sat around the table with my three other partners, and we talked about the catchy mythological name. Every Irish kid knows about the banshee… like Irish kids in Buffalo knew about being bad and getting sent to Father Baker. I’m from Belfast. My partners are Kevin Dargan (Dublin), Neil Coogan (Dublin), and James Corda (Buffalo). We wanted to create a place that we would want to go when we weren’t working, where Irish lads could eat authentic Irish food, watch futbol (soccer) on the TV, listen to good Irish music, and drink the best pint of Guinness beer in Buffalo. It’s what we wanted for all of Buffalo.”
In order to get the place back up and running in its refreshed capacity, some things needed to be updated. The floors were replaced, the walls were painted, the kitchen got a refresher with new equipment, stage lighting was added to the exterior of the building, the back bar coolers were replaced, 6 TVs were added (2 on the patio), and the draught system was replaced (to serve up a better pint, and colder beer).
As for being known as a destination soccer bar, Connor told me that he feels that Buffalo’s growing soccer fever now allows for a second soccer bar (The Banshee and Mès Que) to co-exist peacefully. There’s also plenty of room to serve up a tantalizing bangers and mash, or a Guinness stew – they are currently working their way towards offering a sensational full menu, with limited menu items in the meantime… until they catch the kitchen staff up to speed.
The second floor of the restaurant (formerly LiFT Nightclub) is being dedicated to private parties, events, etc. “We’re all older these days, and a little long in the tooth,” Conor said [laughing]. “The days of running a nightclub like that are over.”
And that’s good news for anyone who has been craving a one-of-a-kind Irish experience in a old world setting that rivals the best of them.