Although it could just be massive amounts of tree pollen, there is a buzz in the air right now and we suspect that buzz actually is coming from an area being dubbed “Chandlerville”.
A low-slung, slightly-out-of-the-way stretch of old industrial buildings along Chandler Street in Black Rock is currently a hive of builders and local tourists. Earlier this year, Blackbird Cider opened the doors to a cider hall here, and now a second location of the Thin Man Brewery has added heft to the area as a destination. The new location for local fermentarium Barrel + Brine is expected to open soon, as is a culinary incubator, a brewery hub and a ‘pool club’ by developer Rocco Termini has been announced for an opening next summer.
The new Thin Man shares a lot of the same DNA as the original location, but it’s still a very different animal. The biggest difference is the presence of a wood-fired pizza oven and kitchen operated by Tappo. Given that Termini has a stake in both Tappo and Thin Man, the hybrid makes a lot of sense from a synergy standpoint. It also makes sense to pair WNYers two favorite food items: beer and pizza. (There’s also wings, because, come on.)
While the original Thin Man location feels like a conventional sit-down restaurant, the new Chandler Street location takes on a bit of a loft party vibe, thanks to an open layout, tall ceilings, graffiti murals, skee-ball, dart boards and a shit-ton of natural light. It’s the kind of vibe that is perfect for beer bros looking to crush the latest IPA release, or families looking for an afternoon out of the house.
The decor is industrial: wood, metal and cement. Seating options include table, the bar, and elevated seating areas and an outdoor patio. Orders for Tappo food are placed at a counter and your phone number is taken. When your order is up, you receive a text alert. Beers are ordered at the bar.
“The vibe that we’re going for (on Chandler Street) is completely different; a little bit more free, a little bit more relaxed,” general manager Josh Mullin recently told me in a phone interview. “You get your pizza and you have your beer. We’re trying to keep things as simple as possible.”
On our recent lunchtime visit, we saw several toddlers scampering around as the scents of wood burning and dough charing occasionally mixed with the unmistakable smell of Frank’s Red Hot wafting off of freshly-fried chicken wings. The sound of personal conversations rumbled underneath indie rock being piped in overhead, and cool fresh air pulled sunlight through opened garage doors facing Chandler Street.
While the Tappo menu featured salads and entrees, we had to sample two of the six-slice, Neapolitan-style pies. Topped with meatballs, cherry peppers and whipped ricotta, the El Padrino shipped pepper and spice that cut through creamy cheese, while the Traditional Margherita offered classic tomato, basil and mozzarella flavors on springy dough with a yeasty tang.
About a dozen of Thin Man’s core beers and current collaborations were available on our visit. With on-site beer production expected to ramp up at the end of April, there will be an even bigger selection available, including some location-exclusive brews.
Food and beer won’t be the only draw to the new Thin Man. The original location regularly has live music and general manager Mullin said to expect the same at Chandler Street. He added that shutting down the street for events will be much easier at the new location, so expect Thin Man street parties to be held there.
Although sports weren’t playing on TVs during our visit, Mullin assured me that the new Thin Man will be a great place to watch a game.
“We have no issue with putting sports on TVs, especially Buffalo sports,” he said. “As everybody knows, we make Pils Mafia, so we’re all huge Bills fans.”
It’s not hard to imagine fans regularly packing into Thin Man this fall, watching the Bills play while pizzas cook, beer flows and a cool breeze filters in from Chandler Street.
166 Chandler Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
Hours: Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. – 12 a.m., Saturday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.