All these activities reflect Buffalo’s Irish flair. Irish immigrants began arriving in Buffalo in about 1815. They came in large numbers to help build the Erie Canal. By 1855, after the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, it’s estimated there were more than 10,000 Irish in Buffalo. Today, Buffalo’s First Ward is an officially designated Irish Heritage District.
Of course, you don’t have to be Irish and it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy Buffalo’s favorite Irish pubs and restaurants. Here are a few local favorites.
Shannon Pub, 2250 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, gets high marks for its excellent selection of food, which includes Irish stew, bangers and mash, and potato chowder. You can enjoy a pint at the cozy pub, where Irish bands frequently play, and dinner in the dining room or on the patio when weather permits. Shannon Pub offers a full Irish breakfast every Saturday and Sunday. It’s a key spot for Irish music, and sponsors an annual trip to Ireland.
The Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub, 2134 Seneca St., Buffalo. The Blackthorn has been one of the most popular South Buffalo neighborhood pubs since 1977. The restaurant offers a full menu with Irish favorites like fish fry and Shepherd’s pie, as well as a wide range of entrees including Maryland crab cakes—a house specialty, Cajun seafood, pub sandwiches, soups and salads.
D’arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, 257 Franklin St., Buffalo. From the bar crafted by cabinetmakers in County Wexford, Ireland, to artifacts and antiques from the Auld Country, the Irish owners took great care to create an authentic atmosphere at this pub.
They’re proud of their Irish champ potatoes, a dish of mashed potatoes and spring onions cooked with milk and butter. Other Irish menu items are corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, Shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips.
Gene McCarthy’s and Old First Ward Brewing Company, 73 Hamburg St., Buffalo.
There’s a good selection of traditional pub food and Irish specialties here, including fish fry on Fridays. The brewery offers 10 or so lovingly crafted beers on tap daily. The pub hosts trivia nights and live music in an authentic Irish tavern atmosphere.
The Irishman Pub & Eatery, 5601 Main St., Williamsville. Here’s another place that strives to reproduce the friendly environment of a traditional Irish pub. It offers pub fare with an Irish flavor such as wings with Guinness barbecue sauce, potato soup, beef on weck, corned beef and cabbage, and bangers and mash, served up with entertainment including Irish sing-alongs, Irish dancers and whisky sampling events.
If you’re one of the residents at Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, soon to be Buffalo’s newest retirement living option, you’ll be close to the heart of the St. Patrick’s day action and great Irish pubs like these. For more information about this elegant and unique retirement community, please call 716-929-5811 or click here.