Whether it was for a birthday, a graduation or a funeral, if you grew up in Hamburg, you probably ended up going to the West End Inn.
Built in the middle of the 19th century, the West End Inn has only had a handful of owners in its existence, and for more than 150 years, the inn has served as a place for food, drink and lodging.
When the current owners Pat and Yvette O’Brien purchased the old West End Inn in August 2019, it had been sitting dormant for a few months, with only the spirits said to haunt the place left roaming its halls.
Over the course of the three years and one global pandemic, the O’Briens have breathed new life into the old inn by refreshing and repurposing the interior. The inside of the new West End includes a number of different concepts under one roof. There’s a smokehouse deli room where you can either get a sandwich or grab some goods to go. There’s a bar serving beer, wine and liquor. There’s an event space meant for weddings and other gatherings.
As the pandemic has receded, the O’Briens have been relaunching the West End in stages. First, they started booking the AirBnBs. Then, they started booking the event space. Now, they’re opening up the deli and bar spaces.
Recently, Yvette O’Brien told us they’re hoping to celebrate the building’s past while appealing to the contemporary tastes of today’s customers.
“This has been the place where the people of Hamburg have marked and celebrated all of life’s events, and so we want to carry on that tradition,” she said.
“We’ve spent the past two years working on the inside of this building, revitalizing it, bringing it back to life, bringing it back to its former glory,” said Allie O’Brien-Phillippi, Yvette and Pat’s daughter. “We’re slowly working on the outside. A couple people have said, ‘Oh it doesn’t look like anything’s going on at The West End.’ But we’ve got a nice beautiful parking lot now, and we’re slowly working on the rest of the outside.”
As work on the outside progresses, the entire downstairs feels refreshed but historically intact. It’s also a bit sprawling, with multiple entrances, and serious old-timey vibes. According to legend, the spirit of former owner Pearl Montgomery has been seen doing laundry in the basement. There are also stories of flying silverware, a disappearing man who sits on a chair outside and a ghost dog running and barking upstairs.
If you’re looking to have a ghostly encounter in the middle of the night, the upstairs rooms at the old inn have been completely refurbished and are for rent on AirBnB. Each of the five rooms and two suites has a different theme, from old school recreation to the Old West.
The building has been designated with historic status, and while this can raise the profile of a property, it’s also a double-edged sword..
“That means you gotta use period-specific paints and repairs,”said Allie. “But the village has been very easy to work with and very supportive of us. We really couldn’t have done all of this without their help and support.”
Hamburg has slowly been becoming a bit of a destination in recent years. Most of the development has centered around the main streets in the east side of the village, and now the focus of development is shifted to the quieter, more residential west side.
“Eight to ten years ago, there was nothing going on at Main and Buffalo streets,”said Allie. “So much has changed since then – and for the better. There are so many businesses popping up and expanding.”
Hours at Opening (subject to change): Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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