One of the reasons that people love Buffalo is that it’s authentic. At a time when we are desperately trying to reclaim as much of our historic authenticity as possible, we have to give credit to some of the unsung heroes that have proven that it’s not only possible to salvage and restore at-risk buildings, it’s also profitable. It’s one of the reasons that I’m so fascinated with the work of Steve Bystran, is that he’s restored the architectural integrity of a historic barrel factory located in the Old First Ward. He’s also infused much of the building’s original identity into the décor.
Today is the second part of a two-part series. Back in November, I spotlighted the refreshed in-house restaurant component that Bystan rolled out on the building’s lower floors. Today, we’re heading to the top floor, where many of the functions take place, such as corporate events, weddings, and various other celebrations.
I figured that with spring right around the corner, it was the perfect time to spotlight the unique and “turnkey” event venue. Unlike other venues, The Barrel Factory is considered a one-stop-shop for all sorts of functions. For weddings, there are limitless décor options to choose from. Literally, there are side rooms filled to the brim with accent pieces, including linens, candles, vases… the list goes on and on. Another little hidden gem is the bridal room, which is the perfect spot to primp before and after a wedding. It’s these special arrangements that make the venue so convenient and special.
While weddings are a frequent occasion at The Barrel Factory, Bystan told me that they are just one important aspect of the venue.
“What we offer is well beyond the basics,” he explained. “The authentic setting is one thing. The endless amenities are another. There is nothing cookie cutter here. We ensure that no matter the event, we can accommodate the planner’s needs. We host a lot of successful corporate events here, because there’s nothing else like it in Buffalo. There’s a ton of room to work with. There are indoor and outdoor elements – we have numerous patios, a tasting room, an outdoor cigar patio, lounge areas, signature cocktails that incorporate spirits from the resident distillery… and now we are making all of the food in-house to ensure the utmost in catering quality control. The venue feels warm and inviting, organic, and so darn Buffalo. We spent a lot of time creating these authentic spaces within the building, so that people would have plenty of options to choose from. No event is the same. We try to make it easy and enjoyable for people to challenge themselves to come up with unique and fun ideas.”
The Barrel Factory’s rustic palette and daylight factory natural lighting elements offer the perfect building blocks for event organizers to work with. The endless amenities mean that there’s no need to search for additional resources.
“It’s what sets us apart,” Bystran explained. “We can accommodate everything. We ensure that there are no hassles. We make it easy and versatile. In 2022, we hosted 54 weddings, which says something for the venue. It’s due to the setting, our in-house approach, and the various accommodations and offerings, from fairy lights and chalk signs to AV/projection and private patios.”
I’m a fan of the authenticity, but I’m also a fan of Bystran’s ethos and ethics.
“We try to avoid disposables whenever possible,” he told me. “If someone must use disposables then we ensure that everything is compostable… like palm leaf plates and cups made from corn. Upcycling, recycling, and repurposing is a key company ethic.”
The ethical nature of the business is the icing on the cake for me. It’s just another reason to support a business that goes out of its way to make sure that everyone and everything is taken care of, even the planet.