Classic Taverns

Gallery Above
Clockwise from left

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Gene McCarthy's Tavern

Founding Fathers Pub

Ulrich's 1868 Tavern

Not all of Buffalo’s nightlife is found in flashy nightclubs. In fact, the city is filled with old-school watering holes that reflect Buffalo’s working-class and ethnic roots. These are the kinds of quirky, family-run bars you hear tales of. Like Arty’s Grill, where patrons can reinforce their claims of having spent a Sunday afternoon worshipping by picking up a church bulletin on their way out the door. Or the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle that hides a private bar filled with one of the nation’s largest selections of Polish beers.

Ulrich’s Tavern and the Swannie House, Buffalo’s two oldest taverns, have been serving their neighborhoods for well over a century, while Cole’s has been whetting the Elmwood Village’s whistle for over 80 years. Gene McCarthy’s, a favorite spot near the grain elevators in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, brews its own beer, while South Buffalo’s Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub earned a spot on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives.” No classic pub tour of Buffalo would be complete without a visit to Founding Fathers, featuring free popcorn and nachos and presidential memorabilia covering the walls. Esquire named Founding Fathers one of the 18 Best Bars in America!

Check out the listings below for some of the city’s best-kept secrets!

— Christa Glennie-Seychew