There’s something about cold weather that kicks a city’s dive bar inventory up a notch or two, the communal requirement to getting through the winter as good excuse as any to make sure corner neighborhood bars stay in business. In the case of Buffalo, a strong appreciation for sports and high motivation to maximize summer months certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Old Pink
is Buffalo’s unquestioned dive bar king, a mural disguised as a building frequently cited among the best dive bars in the country. Though the city of Buffalo forced a repainting that took away some of the charm of the green flames that once danced along the dive bar’s exterior, the interior remains untouched, down to the signature steak sandwich in the running for best meal in the city.
Downtown Buffalo’s Electric Avenue Café
may not feature The Old Pink’s colorful exterior but shares its divey sensibilities, opened in 1980 and so focused on community that weekday viewings of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are appointment events (and participatory at that). The unexpectedly cavernous space occasionally hosts live music and includes a futuristic cityscape mural painted by local artist Ramon Dennis.
Of course in a city like Buffalo, redevelopment is bound to catch up with a dive bar or two and such is the case of Del Denby Tavern
, now officially referred to as Del’s after its 2015 renovations. What was once a dusty, dingy, classic dive bar vibe is now something a bit more upscale with preserved elements like the bar’s tin roof and welcome new additions like an immaculate bar dismantled and freshly installed at Del’s.
Neighborhood-focus haunts can be found throughout the city, a testament to Buffalo’s ability to keep unique divey drinking spots afloat. Each carries its own merits in complementary fashion to some of the city’s heavyweight institutions like The Old Pink and others.