Best Dive Bars in Buffalo & WNY 

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Founding Fathers / Step Out Buffalo

Authors: Adrianne Salmon (@buffalobrunch) & Natalie Brown (@diveintobuffalo)

The first question we asked ourselves when we were asked to write this article was: How does Buffalo define a dive bar? In a town where the bars run deep and the lines are blurred between social and physical comfort, friendliness, bang for your buck, and overall cleanliness, it’s hard to really pinpoint what the average Buffalonian is willing to determine is a dive bar. Being a couple gals, albeit wild, we had to take it upon ourselves to really DIVE in (chuckle) and let Buffalo know what’s up. 

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Allow us to elaborate. One of the first things we had to do is figure out our WNY boundaries. Right there, we had to make the cut: real dive bars simply do not exist in towns like East Aurora, Williamsville, and Lewiston. Sorry to burst y’alls bubbles, but they don’t. I can definitely admit that Wallenwein Hotel and Dave’s Last Chance Saloon are really riding the line, but one trip to Brandy’s Pub will definitely sway your definition. I mean, guys – if you Google “dive bars Williamsville NY,” Moor Pat, The Irishman, and Eagle House Restaurant populate the results. Nope. 

 

The List

 

CITY OF BUFFALO

Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern

555 South Park Ave, Buffalo

 

Arty’s 

508 Peckham St, Buffalo

 

Avenue Pub

2113 South Park Ave, Buffalo 

 

Bases Loaded 

3355 Lake Shore Rd, Buffalo

 

Brandy’s Pub

805 Elk St, Buffalo

 

The Buffalo Bar & Grill

307 Louisiana St, Buffalo 

 

Buffalo Tap House

85 W Chippewa St, Buffalo

 

Dalmatia Hotel 

1187 Tonawanda St, Buffalo

 

Daly Tavern

2423 Seneca St, Buffalo

 

Daren’s Tavern

514 Howard St, Buffalo 

 

Eddie Brady’s

97 Genesee St, Buffalo

 

Essex St. Pub

530 Rhode Island St, Buffalo

 

Electric Ave

300 Ellicott St, Buffalo

 

Founding Fathers

75 Edward St, Buffalo

 

Frizzy’s 

140 Allen St, Buffalo

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Gene McCarthy’s

73 Hamburg St, Buffalo

 

Gordy’s Inn Too

3220 Seneca St, Buffalo 

 

Gray’s Place 

3682 Delaware Ave, Buffalo

 

Griffin’s Irish Pub

81 Abbott Rd, Buffalo

 

Hopper’s Rush Inn

2104 Seneca St, Buffalo 

 

Jolly Jug 

797 Niagara Falls Blvd, Buffalo

 

Jordan’s Ale House

107 Abbott Rd, Buffalo

 

JP’s Checker’s

1854 Hertel Ave, Buffalo

 

Kelly’s Korner

2526 Delaware Ave, Buffalo

 

Macky’s Shamrock Room

1634 Bailey Ave, Buffalo 

 

McGarrets

946 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

 

Molly’s Bar

1803 South Park Ave, Buffalo

 

Mr. Goodbar 

1110 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

 

Molly Maguire’s

834 Abbott Rd, Buffalo 

 

Nine-Eleven Tavern

11 Bloomfield Ave, Buffalo

 

Schupper House

2115 Seneca St, Buffalo

 

Swannie House

170 Ohio St, Buffalo 

 

Talty’s Tavern 

2056 South Park Ave, Buffalo

 

The Old Pink

223 Allen St, Buffalo

 

Tudor Lounge

335 Franklin St, Buffalo

 

Washington Square 

295 Washington St, Buffalo 

 

Wiechec’s Lounge

1748 Clinton St, Buffalo

 

OUTSIDE CITY OF BUFFALO

Betty’s Grill

215 Main St, North Tonawanda 

 

Broadway Hotel 

158 Main St, North Tonawanda

 

Cagneys Too 

1254 Electric Ave, Lackawanna

 

Caputi’s Sheridan Pub 

2351 Sheridan Dr, Tonawanda

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Devlin’s Deuce 

2335 Sheridan Dr, Tonawanda

 

Kaz’s 

113 Lake Ave, Blasdell

 

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Klimeks’ Tavern 

685 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda

 

Pour House

23 S Buffalo St, Hamburg 

 

Pyramid Lounge

187 Buffalo St, Hamburg

 

Ryan’s 

1186 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda

 

Sneaker’s 

205 Martin Ave, Blasdell

 

The Village Inn

869 Oliver St, North Tonawanda

 

Witter’s Sports Bar & Grill 

300 Oliver St, North Tonawanda 

 

Summary:

So you have scanned our list and you might be asking yourself, what makes these millennial gals the experts on dive bars? Well, we’d like to think we’ve spent enough time in them in order to create the following list.  

 

How we define a WNY dive bar:

  • When you walk in the door, everyone turns to see who walked in. 
  • The bathroom is questionable due to a lack of cleanliness, quirky decorations or smell. 
  • Speaking of smells, dive bars often have a “unique” smell that only the true dive bar lovers appreciate. 
  • Good music is playing or is available via jukebox.   
  • If you’re lucky, frosty cold mugs are offered for beer (the best thing since sliced bread).
  • Paying with cash is always preferred and many times the only acceptable payment. 
  • Some sort of salty snack, wings or fried food is offered – amazing fish fries are a plus! 
  • You will no doubt meet a cast of lively characters both working behind the pine and in the bar stools next to you. People like “Wolfman” from Dalmatia Hotel, Hoover and Buntsy from The Pink, and Patty from Broadway Hotel are standard names and people you will get to know, buy shots for, and overtip because hey, they deserve it!
  • A round of shots and beers costs less than $30 and everyone at the bar buys them for each other throughout the night. 
  • Bar games are offered on a partly broken or very worn out dart board or pool table (with missing darts, pool balls and broken sticks). The hours will go by quickly as you play game after game. 
  • Sticky floors. 
  • No frill drinks – stick to beer or cocktails that involve alcohol + one mixer. 
  • Walls are adorned with framed photos from a million years ago, covered in dust. Some newer dive bars are covering their walls with chalk art and paintings (Dalmatia Hotel art by MJ Myers). 
  • Every dive bar has its own unique vibe based on the regulars who visit the establishment and people stopping by for their first time. You should feel comforted by the crazy, tipsy within an hour of being there and full of gratitude that these magical little places still exist in a city that is transforming in front of our eyes.

And with that, we conclude: Cheers to many more cheap thrills and good times!

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