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

Five “Underground” Art Galleries


Love a good Wes Anderson movie? Well, that pretty much sums up our local underground (art) gallery scene – which has an indie vibe with a touch of quirk. Buffalo is known for its rich art community that spans decades (ahem, Hallwalls), but what I love most about our creative culture is the love and support they have for young artists who are producing some ridiculously cool art.

While I love the Albright Knox and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, sometimes you want what’s off the beaten path. Buffalo’s overflowing with creative talent and if you’re like me you’re always down for an art-venture. It’s time to hit it up our city’s latest alternative art spaces. What better way to support our local artists than to attend a hip opening, filled with cocktails and conversation. Get ready to marvel at our artsy digs, here’s my top five underground art galleries!

1) Body of Trade & Commerce Gallery – BT&C

With Resurgence Brewery just next door, BT&C gallery is nestled inside a large warehouse on Niagara Street, just a stone’s throw from the city. This contemporary art gallery curates some of the freshest emerging artists in Buffalo and beyond. It’s my top pick, featuring artists, such as Julian Montague, Amanda Besl and Millie Chen.

Julian Montague, photo courtesy of BT&C’s website

2) CEPA Gallery

From photography to visual arts, CEPA Gallery is the space to discover the finest contemporary art in downtown Buffalo. The gallery, itself, is located in Buffalo’s historic Market Arcade Complex, showcasing artists such as Scott Gable and Milton Rogovin. The fun doesn’t end there; CEPA has about five other galleries sprinkled around Buffalo that are all worth checking out.

Brian Taylor, Our Thoughts Wander, photo courtesy of CEPA's website

Brian Taylor, Our Thoughts Wander, photo courtesy of CEPA’s website

3) Indigo Art

One of my favorite tucked-away spots in Buffalo’s Allentown, Indigo Art has a knack for pulling together some of the coolest artists and creative exhibitions. This gallery is known for pushing boundaries, showcasing artists from Anne Muntges to Nancy Belfer.

Felice Koenig and Kevin Kegler, photo courtesy of Indigo Art's facebook page

Felice Koenig and Kevin Kegler, photo courtesy of Indigo Art’s facebook page

4) Dreamland

I can definitely appreciate the link between art and avant-garde… Thankfully there’s a new art space, Dreamland, that’s taking risks in the Buffalo art scene and is the epitome of what I would call “underground” art galleries. Located on the corner of Franklin and Edward in Allentown, this space opens its doors to everyone and has an amazing attitude about equality. (Read more about Dreamland in The Public)


Photo courtesy of Dreamlands’ facebook page

One to Watch: Sugar City

Sugar City is an alternative art space and on my “one to watch” list! Art enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting their new location – 1239 Niagara Street, across from BT&C gallery.

Courtesy of Sugar City’s facebook page

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