Handlebar is a new kind of Biker Bar
October 15, 2014 - Picnic Time
“MAXIMUM INDOOR COMFORT. MAXIMUM OUTDOOR EXCITEMENT. RESERVE YOUR SIDELINE CLUB SEATS FOR THE ’99 SEASON.”
This Buffalo Bills-related ad duplicate resided over section off a dilemma of Elm and Swan streets for a final 15 years. Faded and weathered, it was not usually a consistent sign of a Bills’ final playoff team, though also stood as a vivid instance of a city’s frozen-in-time genius toward progress.
So maybe it’s suitable that a barbarous ad finally left in late August, only weeks after a new neighbor non-stop their doors to one of a many on-going bars in new Buffalo memory. Goodbye, 1999. Hello, Handlebar, a Nickel City’s new bicycle-themed qualification drink dilemma – and latest instance of downtown’s approaching rebranding.
As it’s been remarkable in this Bar Tab space over a past year, it used to be adequate to find a Buffalo storefront, fill coolers with Genesee and clear a doors. Those days are dead, and Handlebar is a latest reason why. Joining a impetus led by such locales as Blue Monk, The Lodge and Resurgence Brewery, a Swan Street oasis offers a business a gentle amicable outpost, as good as one that’s demonstrative of a creativity pulsing by a new Buffalo.
This was a thought when Merge co-owner Sarah Schneider and internal guitarist Evan Thompson non-stop Handlebar as partial of a Apartments during a Hub development, that converted dual run-down properties into one- and two-bedroom apartments, exercise-focused Hub Fit Studio and a Bike Shop, a one-stop refuge for critical cyclists. Schneider wanted to element these surrounding entities with Buffalo’s initial pedaler pub, one glowing with sum not seen inside decades of Western New York cookie-cutter bars. Ever.
Its maple bartop, high tops and countertop are arrayed with rejected cranksets. Chandeliers done of used bike bondage hang in front of vast brook windows, and float over hand-painted benches. Customers can sequence rounds of Smuttynose Robust Porter ($5) atop unicycle-replicated barstools, or simply obstacle a southwestern BBQ flatbread pizza ($9.50) and conduct out to a bar’s side patio, finish with steel cruise tables and a perspective of steel artist Sarah Fonzi’s neat 28-foot-high Handlebar-inspired sculpture (dubbed “The Spirit of Transportation”) off a patio’s entrance.
And if you’re lucky, we might be means to conflict Schneider during one of a bar’s 3 fiberglass-encased tabletop diversion boards, that is how we spent partial of my new Tuesday night visit.
With a Community Beer Works Rutherford B. Haze in hand, we assimilated a Lakeview local during a back list to play tic-tac-toe with lax Kronenberg 1664 bottle caps, manipulated underneath their protecting potion by magnets and positioned between repurposed bicycle chains. We took turns restraint spaces or positioning, personification an innovative, tavern-centric chronicle of a diversion initial schooled with bits of paper. It was morality updated – and it was over quick. Schneider defeated me in reduction than dual minutes, that gave me some-more time to ramble amid Handlebar’s ambiance and cruise a newest impression in Buffalo’s quip story.
It’s a overwhelming further inside a formerly exhausted storefront. It’s an innovative open residence whose craftsmanship, courtesy to fact and daub list will say a complicated turn approaching from stirring downtown restaurateurs. It’s a pub desirous by Buffalo’s delayed – though approaching – transition to a walkable, bikeable city. And it’s a certain glance of swell only stairs divided from a wall where time seemed to stop.
Thanks to places like Handlebar, we’re finally rolling brazen – and that should move limit comfort and fad to all of us.