The recent craft beer boom has led to an explosion of new breweries opening, and it has also led to the rise of something else: the bottle shop.
Bottle shops are retail beer stores that specialize in unique beers in bottles, cans and on draft. Many of them have a tavern license, which means customers can drink the beer they buy on-premises. So, you can buy beer to-go like you might at Wegmans, or, you can drink a beer while you shop for beer. Or, you can simply hang out and drink beer.
Recently, downtown Buffalo got its first bottle shop in the form of Fattey Beer Co., and with more than 500 beers available, it’s got everything you might want. Barrel-aged stouts? Check. New England IPAs? Check. Fruited Sours? Yep. PBR? Okay…
“I think variety is the most important thing a bottle shop can have,” co-owner Nik Fattey recently told us. “A good mixture of local and non-local is also important.
“We always try to offer something different; so when you come in, it’s not the ‘same old’. That’s the way I like to drink and that’s the way a lot of people are drinking beer now.”
Besides having a solid magazine of beers, Fattey Beer Co. is also in a prime location. Right where Genesee runs into the 500 block of Main Street, right near Overwinter Coffee, Raclettes and Misuta Chows. Bottle shop customers are actually encouraged to grab takeout food from one of the nearby restaurants and bring it in for some beer pairings.
Fattey told us the location of his new bottle shop also offer one other big advantage, the chance to interact with beer drinkers who are in-town from other parts of the world.
“I always encourage our staff to engage with customers to learn more about beer,” he said. “One really fun thing about being downtown is how many people from out-of-town we see. We’ve met people from Japan, China, Holland, Italy, Brazil and Argentina; already after being open just a week. It’s really cool. They want to try our beers, and they’ll also suggest beers, or talk about beers they’ve tried.”
If you do decide to stop in for a drink and some beer chatter, there are a few seating options, inside the store, outside on the sidewalk patio and out back in a mini urban beer garden. For those looking to become regulars, there’s a Mug Club ($125 until 2021, $50 to renew) that includes $2.00 off all beers to go, an in-house 20 oz. mug, 20 oz. of beers for the 16 oz. price and other exclusive perks.
Like most bottle shops, it’s family friendly. It’s also dog friendly. But most importantly, its people friendly: Talking beer is encouraged, but maybe leave any beer snobbery at the door. Fattey said his staff is told to approach customers from a place of humility.
“We don’t have all the answers,” Fattey said. “We can’t tell you everything about beer, but we do have a great working knowledge of it. I always encourage our staff to engage with customers to learn more about beer from them.”
Fattey Beer Co.
5 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.