The Best Spots to Bike for a Bite or a Brew in the Old Neighborhood

City Guide, Drink, Things to Do


Written by Lauren Spoth

Published on April 24, 2022
View from River Fest Park
View from River Fest Park

There’s no denying that the bike culture in Buffalo is getting more and more popular by the day. Bike lanes are being added to streets, bars and restaurants are adding bike parking, and there are even ice bikes for all you winter bicyclists out there. But where should you go once you hop on your bike? Glad you asked.

The Old Neighborhood aka Old First Ward is a lot closer to all the action than you may think. Whether you’re coming from downtown, Canalside, South Buffalo, Lackawanna, or anywhere in between, next time you’re out biking around make the Old Neighborhood your final destination and we promise you: you won’t be bored…or hungry…or thirsty.

 Mazurek's Bakery
Pastry from Mazurek’s Bakery

Mazurek’s Bakery

543 South Park Ave / More Info

Mazurek’s Bakery is one of the oldest in the City with its opening day dating back to 1933. An old-time Polish bakery, you can find everything from cheesecake, placzek, poppy seed logs, fresh breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, and desserts made fresh in their 20×30-foot brick oven on their shelves. For a good time try an almond loaf and forget about your diet for the day, you’re biking off the calories anyways.


Old First Ward

Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern

555 South Park Avenue / More Info

Often called “the best kept secret in town”, we’re making sure this secret is officially out. Pop into this historic staple and enjoy the original wood bar, tin ceilings, and their phone booth that’s actually a bathroom. Beer and premium mixed drinks are usually around $3-5 a piece depending on what you order, but food menu is worth a stop alone.

Resurgence Brewing Co - Chicago Street
Resurgence Brewing Co – Chicago Street / Photo x Christopher Lestak for Step Out Buffalo

Resurgence Brewing Company

55 Chicago Street / More Info

Located on Chicago Street near the Buffalo River, the new Resurgence location may seem out of the way at first blush, but with two massive luxury condo buildings across the street and regular events at nearby River Fest Park, the new taproom is set in a popular residential and destination area. Call it the New First Ward.

Carbone's / Photo x Buffalo Pizza Blog
Carbone’s / Photo x Buffalo Pizza Blog


568 South Park Avenue / More Info

If you’re feeling hungry from all that biking, pop on in to Carbone’s to satisfy your craving for just about anything. Pizza, subs, chicken wings, French fries, salads, sandwiches, and even tacos, if you want it they’ve probably got it. Their pizza is one of our personal favorites, and you really can’t beat it.

Gene McCarthy’s

73 Hamburg Street / More Info

Ever since McCarthy’s opened their brewery it’s been a destination for locals and travelers alike. One of the most popular new additions is their outdoor patio, perfect for sipping on one of many signature or local beers on tap. They also have a pretty hefty food menu with traditional pub fare and then some, plus they have birch beer AND loganberry. I mean, this is a no-brainer.


Photo courtesy of Cook’s Bar & Grill

 Cook’s Bar & Grill

222 Katherine Street / More Info

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Cook’s is the place to go if you like good drinks, great company, and not waiting in line. If you’re looking for a low-key hangout that offers a quieter atmosphere, plenty of bar space, pub games, and a mean Reuben sandwich, make your way to the corner of Katherine and Republic streets and enjoy that down-home feeling that epitomizes Cook’s Bar & Grill.

Riverfest Park
River Fest Park

River Fest Park

249 Ohio Street / More Info

Opened in June 2011, River Fest Park was the beginning of the redevelopment along the shore of the Buffalo River. These days you can enjoy live music, trails, gardens, a boardwalk, water sports, and of course the view from this gorgeous three-acre public park. If you haven’t been here yet it’s well worth a pit stop on your biking adventure, and if you have been here before we don’t need to tell you twice.

Swannie House
Swannie House

Swannie House

170 Ohio Street / More Info

There’s something iconic about the Swannie House that makes it a renowned universal favorite. First opened in the 19th century, the Swannie House “has more history in its urinals than most bars have in four walls”. Make sure to snag a spot on their patio so you can take in the smell of Cheerios from the nearby General Mills factory, sip a cold beer, and order one of their famous fish fries the way the Swanerski’s would have wanted.


Silo City
Silo City

Silo City

200 Silo City Row / More Info

After you’ve ogled the silos from River Fest Park and Swannie House peddle on over and see them in all their glory up close and personal. We’re not exactly sure you’re technically allowed to just wander around on your own here, but there’s plenty of ways to get inside throughout the summer. Take a guided tour –grounded or vertical- with Explore Buffalo’s expert guides or check out several events being hosted among these historic grain elevators including the Silo Fleas on some Sunday afternoons in spring and summer, among others. No matter when you choose to go, you’ll be glad you did.

Tifft Nature Preserve

1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard / More Info

Spanning over 260 acres, Tifft Nature Preserve is a wildlife preserve and notable birding site with five miles of trails through marsh and forest. Animals from the entire region are known to take refuge here and once you’re at this urban sanctuary you’ll see why.

Train Mural / Photo by Lauren Spoth
Train Mural / Photo by Lauren Spoth
Old First Ward Mural / Photo by Lauren Spoth
Old First Ward Mural / Photo by Lauren Spoth

While you’re in the Neighborhood, get your outdoor public art fix by checking out all the street art that has gone up in South Buffalo!

This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Lauren Spoth</a>

Written by Lauren Spoth

Lauren is the Creative Marketing Director at Step Out Buffalo aka the person who posts all those memes on social. A lover of Buffalo, food, travel, and animals, she can usually be found trying different local restaurants while planning her next adventure and asking passersby if she can pet their dog. Follow her dog-petting adventures on Instagram @laurenspoth


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