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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Thursday, June 06, 2024

#5790 - Ulrich's 1868 Tavern, Buffalo, NY - 5/31/2024

Ulrich's 1868 Tavern, Buffalo, NY

Ulrich's is currently open only Wednesday through Friday afternoons, and I was unable to make it in previous trips to Buffalo, NY, but it was worth the wait. As the name implies, the bar is located in a space that has at least included a saloon since the fall of 1868, when young German immigrant Fredrick Schrerie opened a grocery-saloon in the same brick bar space that stands today. This includes the prohibition years, when Hasenpheffer Club speakeasy operated on the second floor, with Canada conveniently close, and with the aid of a mechanical lift that remains in the building to this day. (The speakeasy was raided at least once, on May 8, 1926.)

Ulrich's 1868 Tavern, Buffalo, NY


The buffalonet.org site provides some context for the days of the bar's founding:

'At the time, the neighborhood surrounding the saloon was fast becoming both a fashionable German enclave and the center of Buffalo's brewing industry.

Five major breweries were within a few blocks of Ulrichs; Buffalo Co-Op at High at Michigan, Empire at Main and Burton, German-America at Main and High, Christian Weyand at Main and Goddell, and the Ziegele Brewing at Main and Virginia. The first Lager Beer in Buffalo was brewed about 100 yards from Ulrichs by Albert Ziegele, at Main and Virginia streets in the early 1850's.

Buffalo was an exciting post Civil War boom town, fed by German immigrants that settled Buffalo's East Side. The book "A Pictorial History of Buffalo and Erie County; Second Look", describes the neighborhood and places like Ulrichs. "As bootmakers, tinsmiths, clockmakers, bakers, brewers and stonecutters, working class Germans lived a relatively prosperous and settled life. Not a few were grocers who also kept a back room grog shop. These emerged as the centers of neighborliness. This was the kind of patient business that, while not wildly profitable, yielded a lifetime of respectable income."

Imagine a tree lined, young bustling neighborhood, filled with a constant smell of the damp sweetness of malt and the bitter edge of hops, the endless horse drawn beer wagons and the constant chatter of German being spoken. You stand a better chance of someone understanding English in Munich, Germany today, than at the corner of Ellicott and Virginia streets in Buffalo in 1868. Ulrichs' brick bar room stood then, as it does today, along with 1/3 of the dining room.

It was a place where one could buy anything from soap to sausage, where local beer, be it Ziegele's Lager or Weyand's Munich dark, was served in house or taken home in a pail.'


In 1883, the grocery half of the business was dropped, and the apartments upstairs became hotel rooms. The name "Ulrich's" dates back to 1906, when beer wagon driver Michael Ulrich took over the place. In 1910 he purchased the saloon outright from the Ziegele Brewery and named it "Ulrich's Sample Room." During his ownership the saloon would become a common meeting place for "political bigwigs as well as the literati and celebrated persons of the time." Ulrich would go on to run the bar for 41 years, and while I am not certain of this, but it seems like it may (?) have consistently retained the "Ulrich's" name ever since. 

Since that time Ulrich's has had a series of owners, with more than one losing the business to bankruptcy and at least one having to overcome city plans for its demolition. Thankfully in early 2014 it was obtained by preservation-minded local criminal defense attorney Tom Eoannou, who leased the operation to local bar owner Salvatore Buscaglia. Sal and his team invested four months into renovating the bar, preserving vintage elements and adding historical photos. But the star of the show is the beautiful black cherry and stained glass bar that was acquired from the Iroquois Hotel in 1910.

The bar's web site and local historical sites have provided some really nice lists of owners and milestones, some of which I have replicated below for reference, with more available at the links below. The beer, liquor and food were upgraded as well, which makes this a nice stop for dinner, as well as a must visit for any bar and/or history buffs. 





Ulrich's Tavern Historical Milestones 

1868 - Fredrick Schrerier, a young German immigrant, opened a grocery-saloon
1883 - The grocery part of the operation would be dropped
Became a "tied house" owned by 2 different breweries until 1910 - Christian Weyand Brewery and the Ziegele Brewing Company
1880s-1919 - George Fromholtz ran a barber shop win what is now the beer storeroom
1896 - New York State Raines Law prohibited saloons from serving drinks on Sunday, but allowed hotels with 10+ rooms to do so. The upstairs portion of the building was converted into a hotel.
1906 - A 30-year-old man named Michael Ulrich took over the saloon
1910 - Michael Ulrich bought the saloon from the Ziegele Brewery, renaming it Michael Ulrich's Sample Room
1920-1933 - Prohibition. The downstairs became a delicatessen and restaurant. The barbershop and upstairs hotel were closed and the second floor became a private speakeasy
1946 - Michael Ulrich sells the bar to its first non-German owner, French born William Levea, who ran the bar for 3 years.
1949 - Nichlos Riesz purchased and ran the bar for 5 years.
1954 - Jim Daley and his wife Erika took over the business
1970 - The City took the building through eminent domain as part of an urban renewal program. The Daleys stayed open and paid the City rent while they fought it.
1982 - The Daleys won a 12 year court fight to keep the bar standing as an urban renewal program swept through, leveling much of the neighborhood
2000 - The Daley's son Jim Jr. took over the bar
August 2012 - The bar is briefly closed due to back taxes and Jim Daley Jr. files for bankruptcy
October 2013 - The bar is closed again after failing to keep up with payments under its bankruptcy plan
February 2014 - Tom Eoannou purchased the building and Salvatore G. Buscagli becomes sole proprietor of soon to be re-opened "Ulrich's 1868 Tavern"
June 2014 - Ulrich's re-opens

Source:  preservationready.org  


List of Ulrich's owners with historical source notes

ULRICH'S SALOON KEEPERS HONOR ROLE
1868-1870 FREDRICK SCHMUERER 1895-1896 JOHN THEUER
1871-1880 JACOB MILLER         1896-1905 GEORGE DOBMEIER
1881-1882 CHARLES MAYSER 1905-1946 MICHAEL ULRICH
1883-1889 GEORGE MARTZLUFFT 1946-1949 WILLIAM LEVEA
1890-1892 JOSEPH SCHUHMAN 1949-1954 NICHOLAS RIESZ
1892-1895 GEORGE FISHER 1954-PRESENT ERIKA & JIM DALEY

SPECIAL NOTE: ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN LISTED ABOVE RAN THE BUSINESS,
SOME ALSO OWNED THE BUILDING, OTHERS LEASED THE BUILDING.

A: ULRICHSS WAS FIRST LISTED AS A BUSINESS IN THE 1869 CITY 
DIRECTORY, UNDER THE HEADING OF GROCERY-SALOON. ON PAGE 528, COLUMN 2, 
LINE 9.
CITY DIRECTOIES OF THE TIME WERE PUBLISHED IN EARLY PART OF 
THE YEAR ISSUED, WITH THE INFORMATION BEING GATHERED IN THE LATER PART OF
PREVIOUS YEAR.

B: STREET NUMBERS ON ELLICOTT CHANGED IN 1900.
BEFORE 1900 ULRICH'S ADDRESS WAS 614 ELLICOTT ST.
IN 1900 AND AFTER ULRICH'S ADDRESS IS 674 ELLICOTT 5T3

C: ULRICH'S WAS LISTED AS A GROCERY-SALOON FROM 1868 TILL 1883.
"MANY GERMANS WERE GROCERS WHO AL50 KEPT A BACK ROOM GROG SHOP.
THESE EMERGED A THE CENTER OF NEIGHBORLINES. THIS WAS THE KIND OF 
PATIENT BUSINESS THAT WHILE NOT WILDLY PROFITABLE, YIELDED A LIFETIME 
OF RESPECTABLE INCOME" SECOND LOOK A PICTORAL HISTORY OF BUFFALO AND ERIE
COUNTY.

Source:  buffalonet.org 























674 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
Est. 1906 (as Ulrich's), 1868 as bar/saloon - Building constructed: 1868
Previous bars in this location: Dobmeier Hotel
Web site: ulrichs1868tavern.com - facebook 
Articles Ranked: ulrich.buffalonet.org - preservationready.org - buffalorising- buffalorising - jesse cook (prohibition raid) - onlyinyourstateforgottenbuffalo -  buffalospree - stepoutbuffalo - chowhound (Anthony Boudain favorites) - buffalodrinkswyrk - unveganediblereflections -  afar - 3rdarm 













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