No visit to East Aurora is complete without a stop at the 140-year-old Wallenwein Hotel – just don’t expect to sit at the bar after a day of exploring the village.
Wallenwein is one of the only taverns in the region that features a bar with no stools – a staple of German taverns dating back to the same time period. As far as owner Ben Holmes knows, this stool-less bar has been a fixture since the tavern opened in 1882 to offer food and lodging to horse-drawn travelers making their way to Buffalo from the Southern Tier. A turn-of-the-century photo behind the bar shows patrons enjoying the standing room much as they do today – save for the spittoons sitting on the floor.
There is, of course, an adjacent dining room with plenty of seating that offers classic tavern fare. Holmes is set on maintaining Wallenwein’s bar tradition, as the inviting standing room makes it easy for first-time customers to walk in, order a beer, and chat up the locals who have treasured this tavern for more than a century.