Inexplicably, “being Irish” was everywhere in the US during the 90s: from theme pubs in Williamsville to the Dropkick Murphys on the radio.
Until it closed, D’Arcy McGee’s was a holdover from that 90s Irish-American revolution, and while it was good for what it was, it didn’t exactly transport you to Ireland, or even South Buffalo for that matter. Sure you could get a shepherd’s pie and a pint of Guinness, but the music on the speakers was usually Tragically Hip and the TVs showed more college football from the SEC than football from the EPL.
All that recently changed when a group including Ireland-born owners took over the old D’Arcy McGees and reopened it as The Banshee. Instead of being an Irish backdrop for an American bar scene, The Banshee is more focused on bringing authentic Irish pub culture to Buffalo’s Theater District.
Co-owner Conor Hawkins recently told us that Irish food, music and sport are The Banshee’s three guiding lights. Having worked and managed D’Arcy McGees since the early 2000s, Hawkins said the old bar was probably a better fit for the old Chippewa Street.
“Chippewa has evolved over the last 20 years,” he said. “It’s gotten more restaurant-themed, and we’re looking to tap into that. D’Arcy’s didn’t really do any live Irish music and it didn’t show the soccer games. So the new concept is something we felt there’s a market for right now.
“It’s a bar that we wanted to see in Buffalo,” he added.
If you haven’t been paying attention, soccer (or “footy” as they call it on their social media updates) has gotten incredibly popular in the past 15 years. Before around 2005, you couldn’t just flip on a live game from England or Italy. But now, the sport is so popular, supporters groups often meet on weekend mornings to catch games at bars around Western New York, especially at Mes Que in North Buffalo.
The world keeps getting smaller, and not just the world of sports. The internet has opened up our minds to foods from around the world. Curry chips ($9) and Guinness beef stew ($18) may have been a culinary mystery to Chip Strip partiers in the early 2000s, but you’ve probably seen them on YouTube and they’re on the menu at The Banshee.
On recent weekend nights, the small stage area by the bar’s Franklin Street window comes alive with Irish folk music. Hawkins said performance times will be posted to social media.
The bar will also post kick-off times for live soccer games, and Hawkins said he plans for The Banshee to be a full-on soccer bar. With kick-off times in the UK and Europe usually on weekend mornings, the pints start flowing early.
“That means getting up earlier, but you know, me and my partners are older and we don’t like to be keeping the bars open too late and we like getting up earlier,” he said.
Hours at the time of publishing (Subject to change): Tuesday to Thursday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. – 1 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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