Buffalo's Neighborhoods

Black Rock

Live local music at Sportsmens Tavern in Buffalo, NY

Distinctive Charm

In its early years, Black Rock was its own village just north of Buffalo, rivaling its southern neighbor for economic prominence. It wasn’t until 1853 that Buffalo annexed Black Rock; over 150 years later, this neighborhood still retains its own distinct charm. From classic taverns and diners to a religious artifacts museum, innovative restaurants and the “honkiest tonkiest beer joint in town,” the businesses of Black Rock reflect its unique character and history.

Black Rock

Black Rock

Distinctive Charm

Start your day in Black Rock with brunch at a neighborhood classic – Sophia’s Diner. This cozy, family-owned joint has been featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives;” Buffalonians from far and wide converge on this establishment for its corned beef hash.

Next, stop by the Buffalo Religious Arts Center. Dozens of steeples dot Buffalo’s skyline, symbols of an earlier era when churches were the gathering place for Buffalo’s German, Italian, Polish and Irish immigrant enclaves.  Some of those houses of worship have closed in recent decades, but the Buffalo RAC (itself a former church) has collected much of the beautiful artwork from them. (Appointment only)

Time for dinner! Sun Authentic Burmese and Thai Cuisines has established itself as the go-to place for dinner in this corner of Buffalo. The kitchen serves authentic Asian flavors on Niagara Street. For another international experience, try Lucy Ethiopian Cuisine nearby.

Then, sit back and relax with a couple of cold ones at the “honkiest tonkiest beer joint in town,” Sportsmen’s Tavern – one of the best live music spots in Buffalo. Over 30 years, Sportsmen’s has transformed a former house in Black Rock into a two-floor venue featuring a second floor balcony overlooking a first floor stage. With bluegrass, country, folk and rock acts playing seven nights a week, Sportsmen’s will end any day in Black Rock – or greater Buffalo, for that matter – on the right note.

— Brian Hayden

5 Stops for an Amherst Street Bar Crawl


You probably know all about Buffalo’s most popular destinations for knocking back cocktails.  There’s Chippewa – the original entertainment district – if you’re looking for a dance party, the Elmwood Village if you need something a little more low-key, and Allentown if you want to hang out with the hippest crowd in town.  Look, there’s no wrong answer here.  Pick any one of these hot spots and you’re going to have a good time.  But if you’re looking to change-it up a little bit, there are plenty of other crawl worthy strips, streets and avenues to suds it up here in the Queen City.  

One of the best might be Amherst Street.  This runway of fun (funway?) stretches from Elmwood Avenue all the way to Military Road.  It’s peppered with bars and restaurants up and down both sides of the street. On a recent Sunday, I grabbed a couple friends and did the hard work of figuring out exactly how to tackle this boulevard of boisterousness.  Here now is your roadmap to success:

Photo courtesy of Hot Mama’s Canteen

Hot Mama’s Canteen, 12 Military Rd. (at Amherst):
Start at this former speakeasy that’s doing everything it can to live up to its name and its history including hosting a monthly burlesque show and sprinkling cayenne and red pepper on the complimentary popcorn.  This place is oozing with character.  There’s real dart boards, a shuffle board, a ghost in the basement, and throw a party to celebrate the end of Prohibition.

Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St.:
If Amherst Street has an anchor, this is it.  Sportsmen’s Tavern is well known among the locals for its live music.  Touring artists and bands from all over the country swing through to play a show on the Sportsmen’s stage.  Climb the stairs to the second floor for a bird’s eye view of the nightly performances.

Photo courtesy of Dapper Goose

The Dapper Goose, 491 Amherst St.:
If you’re more “craft cocktail” than “shot and a beer,” the Dapper Goose is the spot for you.  It hits all the millennial high notes with a killer brunch menu, farm-to-table dishes, locally sourced booze, and a patio that rivals the best in the city.

Photo courtesy of Rohall’s Corner

Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst St.:
Rohall’s is an old school bar tucked neatly into the Black Rock neighborhood.  The interior features a glass block wall in the entry way and a retro collection of branded barware and signs including a Utica Club neon in the front window.  There’s a long list of European beers on tap and in half liter bottles.  You’ll find beers from the Ukraine and Croatia on the list as well as local and regional favorites.

#TravelBUF photo by @beautifulbflo (Casey William Milbrand)

Voelker’s, 686 Amherst St.:
You know how a lot of bowling alleys have bars in them?  We’ll I’m pretty sure Voelker’s is a bar with a bowling alley in it.  This place is a rite of passage for locals.  You haven’t lived until you’ve rolled a few games and downed a few drinks under the glowing green neon at the corner of Elmwood and Amherst.  If you’re not a bowler, pull a stool up to the bar for dirt cheap drinks.  Voelker’s is the kind of place where one drink turns into a day-long affair.  So, clear your schedule and be prepared to Uber it home at the end of the night.

So, there you have it.  Next time you’re in need of new scenery head to Amherst Street, where there’s a watering hole for everyone.   


Map TK