Club ListingsWhat's This?
Along with Mohawk Place and the Showplace Theater, Buffalo music fans consider Nietzsche's one of the best venues for local bands. It's not a very big bar, but it has hosted some popular bands including Phish and 10,000 Maniacs. Drinks are a little more expensive than other bars, except on Saturday afternoons, when Nietzsche's offers $2 pints of Guinness and $1.50 mixed drinks.
Both Quote and the clubbier Red Room a few doors down have become popular spots on Chippewa in the last few years. Both establishments have spacious, popular dance floors and cater to a younger crowd. Some purists find Quote and the Red Room to be too flashy and gimmicky for their tastes, but they're good places to party if you like top 40 music and you want to let loose. There are a lot of contests (often in conjunction with local radio stations), and you're likely to meet some campus celebrities. Quote is very popular with campus sororities, including the chapter featured on Sorority Life 2.
This relatively big "club for everybody" is the first stop on Chippewa for many younger people in Buffalo's club crowd. It's got big, powerful speakers that send out a pulse-pounding bass, compelling everyone to dance (whether they're any good or not). Now that Cloud 9 in the Heights has closed, Utopia is the most popular destination for UB freshmen and sophomores; but some students complain about dull music, long lines, and the steep $10 under-21 cover charge.
While Marcella is known around town as a gay club, it draws a few straight guys (and more than a few straight girls who come when they want to dance with people who really know how). It's pricey by Buffalo standards, but it offers a truly big-city atmosphere. Marcella's is a great scene, but it's not for everyone. Patrons should have an open mind and be willing to expect anything.
If most Chippewa clubs hang with the popular crowd, the Continental is the Strip's ill-tempered and unapologetic gothic little brother. Nearly everyone acknowledges its legendary status. Johnny Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls honed their style here in the `80s. The Continental is still known as a good live-music establishment, particularly for local punk bands and college bands on tour. If you're tempted by the underworld, and you've figured out how to dance to industrial rock, then the Continental is for you.
212 Franklin St.
Mohawk Place advertises itself as Buffalo's best live music club. This intimate little joint is just off the beaten path in downtown Buffalo. Local indie fans get excited about many of the bands that are booked here, though few register on the average college student's radar.
Bar ListingsWhat's This?
Though it is located on the West Side close to Buff State, Goodbar is surprisingly popular with UB students. It's older than the Heights bars, and while nobody likes to admit it, it's more sophisticated, too. Goodbar draws an older crowd and offers a diverse entertainment lineup that ranges from rock to improv comedy. Most everyone agrees it's a good time, especially if you catch it on a busy night. Drink specials: $5 pitchers and $2.25 bottles of Labatt Blue on Wednesdays
1110 Elmwood Ave.
While Molly's might look modest from the exterior, this friendly two-level bar is packed to the gills on Thursday night, when they offer 25-cent drafts and $2.50 pitchers. On the other nights, it's quieter and more laid-back than the other Heights bars. Recently, the Friday night live music schedule featured popular local rock band More Than Me.
3199 Main St.
The Shaker Lounge
This stylish, upscale bar is the only martini bar on the Chippewa Strip, and it's a classy departure from the run-down joints in the Heights. Located in the lobby of a pricey downtown hotel, Shaker Lounge attracts high-roller students who prefer quality over quantity when it comes to their drinks. Its signature drinks are the fruit-flavored martinis such as the Appletini (with sour apple vodka) and the Chocolate Covered Banana Martini. Shaker Lounge has a rotating specials menu from month to month.
220 Delaware Ave.
Once ranked one of the top college bars in the country, Third Base has calmed down in recent years and is now known as the Heights' "chill bar." There's a patio in the back and a nice pool table and dart boards in the front. Except for drunks who don't know any better, there's not much dancing. This is a great place to come on an off night with friends or on a night when you want to have fun without getting wasted.
3264 Main St.
Flaming tiki torches on the patio draw hundreds of students to the Steer on weekend nights. While each Heights bar has its fervent backers, the Steer-your average all-American college bar-is probably the most popular. It's the biggest and often the most crowded. Some criticize its clientele as frat kids and the "Abercrombie crowd," and the drinks are more expensive than the other Heights bars, but it's a good all-around place to go with your friends, whether you want to chill out or meet some guys or girls.
3151 Main St.
This bar has the worst name in Buffalo. And while it's not outstanding in any way, McMonkeez is still a Chip Strip staple. Like many of the other downtown bars, McMonkeez has a great no-cover happy hour. It's also a little more laid-back than your average downtown meat market/bar, and it has a diverse clientele. The handsome and comfortable bar Barristers and the dance club Level are adjacent to McMonkeez.
Allen Street Hardware Café
A unique and eclectic bar, on nights featuring live music Hardware can provide a laid-back, relaxing environment. At the same time, Saturday nights can get crazy thanks to its fully stocked bar and a DJ spinning old school hip-hop.
245 Allen St.
Allen Street Grill (a.k.a. the Old Pink, Two-Two-Three Allen, or the Pink Flamingo)
The Old Pink is nestled in Allentown among tall trees, brownstones, art galleries, and used bookstores. It's got a unique scene that has earned it many "Buffalo's Best Kept Secret" honors (to the point that it's not much of a secret anymore). The décor is shabby and the floors are uneven, but it's an intimate, honest place; a good bar where you can spend quality time with your best friends. Real DJ's spin what many call Buffalo's best bar music. If you think the Heights is too played, Chippewa's too glitzy, Elmwood's too old, and Canada's irrelevant because you're 21, then you'll probably feel at home at the Pink.
223 Allen St.
Most of the watering holes around North Campus are strictly neighborhood bars, and because students don't live in the real neighborhoods, they're not interested. But this inventive little tavern amid strip malls on Sheridan Drive attracts a younger crowd with its truly delicious homemade beers, including the popular Hazelnut Lager. One telling fact about Alternative Brews is you can't get pitchers. They're not in business to get people wasted. Because it's technically a cigar bar, Alternative Brews allows smoking (if you don't like the smell, you should stay away). Drink Specials: Two-for-one well drinks during happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays)
D'Arcy's is part of a four-level entertainment complex on Franklin Street near the Chippewa Strip. It attracts an older, downtown crowd, particularly with its well-priced happy hour specials. The thickly-paneled first floor bar is surprisingly intimate, given its size. Bands play on the large patio through the winter. The D'Arcy's building also features Rhino Room, a mellow cigar bar on the second floor, and Skybar, a rooftop bar with a nice view of Chippewa's neon signs and madding crowds.
Broadway Joe Bar
What more can you say about a place that was ranked the ninth best dive bar in the United States? Broadway Joe's in the Heights offers the strip's best live music practically every night of the week, including the popular Thursday night Baby Steps hip hop series. Indie Mondays feature upcoming rock bands that sometimes go on to dominate the regional scene. If you have a band and you're any good, there's a chance you can get your start at Broadway Joe's.
What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?
The Wild Mushroom
It's still tacky in a classic Niagara Falls way, but for many of the mellower types in UB's Canada crowd, the Mushroom is a nice departure from the abject glitz on the rest of Clifton Hill. There's a pool table, a dart board (dangerously close to the door), and many large television screens that always seem to be playing hockey highlights. The drinks are good but generally more expensive than in the Heights, even considering that they are in Canadian dollars.
5633 Victoria Ave.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Many younger students go where the drinking age is 19: bars and strip clubs in Canada. Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls is the Las Vegas of the North. It's a neon-lit tourist trap, complete with a wax museum and a popular casino. Often students will drive up there, go to the casino, get trashed in the bars, and then spend the night at a cheap Clifton Hill hotel. The best Niagara Falls bars and clubs are listed below. If you want to stay local and legal, many clubs are 18-and-over all the time; you just have to be 21 to drink. Try Utopia, Club Marcella, or the Continental downtown.
The Daily Planet
Located in a residential neighborhood five minutes from the Clifton Hill district, Daily Planet is the biggest and nicest bar in Niagara Falls. It has several rooms, including a VIP level. The bar is spacious and well-lit, the brews are always ice cold, and there are big, inviting booths. Don't forget, though, that the Niagara Falls bars close at 2 a.m., a full two hours earlier than Buffalo bars.
4573 Queen St.
Niagara Falls, Canada
This Canadian dance club rivals or surpasses the Chippewa Street clubs. It's a great place to go in the summer when it's open a full seven days a week. Rumours (spelled with a "u," the Canadian way) is situated right in the middle of the neon-splashed Clifton Hill strip. Laser effects light up the spacious main room, which has a huge dance floor.
4960 Clifton Hill
Niagara Falls, Canada