Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,837 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Thursday, June 20, 2024

#4901 - The Old Pink, Buffalo, NY - 11/15/2022

The Old Pink, Buffalo, NY 

On June 17, 2024, fire destroyed the bar in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood known as "The Old Pink." The joint was a cherished local institution, famous for its steak sandwich, often cited in lists of the top dive bars in the country, and among seven dive bars in the country cited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as worthy of preserving. The building was a total loss, with an emergency demolition ordered, even as saddened Buffalo residents rushed to claim bricks or other fragments.

The building hosting the bar was constructed in the 1860s, and appears to have first hosted a bar in 1942 when Jimmie Oates Grill opened. Over the following years it had several different bar incarnations, including the Allentown Cafe and Birdie's 19th hole in the 70s, the Buffalo Bar and Grill in 1980, the Lockeroom in '81, and then in 1983 under new owner Mark Supples, the Pink Flamingo.

The Old Pink, Buffalo, NY

The "Forgotten Buffalo" Facebook group published a 2018 quote from Supples explaining: “I wanted people to think it was a gay bar so the knuckleheads from Brick Bar wouldn’t come in." The group posts continues: 'Other early clientele included bikers, punk rockers, policemen, judges, neighborhood people, retirees, and drug dealers. On the first day the bar opened, it didn’t look much different than the bar does today, Supples says. “Except it was painted much cooler in the front, and the bathrooms were considerably cleaner.”' In 1991 Supples sold the business to the Brinkworth family, and opened up a newer, larger "New Pinks" on Main Street. It was then that locals got in the habit of referring to "the Old Pink."

When I visited the bar in November of 2022, it was, as it had been for many years, a happily dark and buzzing place. I didn't know about the steak sandwiches at the time, so unfortunately I never sample these. But it was a comfortable, divey, hangout, in a neighborhood that has several nice -- if a bit less venerated -- bars. The exterior had been retouched earlier in the year, removing much of the stars and flames from the front portion of the building to satisfy a city of Buffalo "graffiti" ordinance. The actual graffiti was inside the bar, amidst the paintings on the walls, and the years of stickers and genial weathering that marks the best dives.

It was a sad day for dive bar lovers, but I am happy I got to see it before it was gone.

Jimmie Oates Pub, Buffalo, NY
For this and other images of bars in 
the Old Pink space, see the
Forgotten Buffalo Facebook group.

223 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201 - (716) 884-4338
Est. 1983 - Building constructed: 1860s
Previous bars in this location: Jimmie Oates' Pub, Birdie's 19th Hole, Allentown Cafe, The Lockeroom, Buffalo Bar and Grill, The Blackstone
Web site: facebookfacebook - instagram 
Reviews: scoundrelsfieldguide - reddit - yelp - tripadvisor

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