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Michael Farrell

Buffalo News contributor Michael Farrell is the author of two novels--Running with Buffalo (2007) and When the Lights Go Out (2015)--and has had work featured in several publications, including Buffalo Spree, WNY Craft Beer Magazine and The Boston Herald, where he worked as a reporter from 2004 to 2011. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University (B.A., Journalism) and Pine Manor College (M.F.A., Creative Writing), he enjoys dark beers and corner bars; and owns multiple copies of Bruce Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love."


Food and Drink

The intrigue of the unknown can be a solid selling point. It works in film, literature and theater, with lingering questions building suspense until the dramatic payoff. But does the same shroud of mystery work with inconspicuous bars lit only with the flickering neon of advertised beer brands? Ask a resident of the Village of Hamburg familiar with the Pyramid Lounge—if…

Food and Drink

According to any real estate chatter or local reporting, Hertel Avenue and its bordering streets make up the hottest neighborhood in Buffalo, with few empty storefronts or available single-family homes to be found. Newly opened shops, grocery stores and forthcoming food halls provide everything a walkable urban swath needs—and the fervor over its ongoing metamorphosis i…

Food and Drink

The traditional picture of the suburbs is painted with subdivisions. It’s cul-de-sacs and strip malls, grocery store parking lots and big-box retailers. It’s not colored with the walkable commercial centers or condensed streets of concentrated city neighborhoods; and it’s not accentuated with vibrant social lairs reserved for downtown bar districts. But the modern subur…

Food and Drink

The parades are over. Green accentuates are back in the drawer; the hunger for corned beef and The Clancy Brothers has dissipated; and the seemingly omnipresent celebration of Irish heritage has receded for another year. This is the way the St. Patrick's Day season peaks and perishes for some. But for others, being surrounded by Celtic imagery—whether genuine or manufac…

Art

Buffalo’s four seasons have a fairly subjective hierarchy. Fall has its fans, with its changing leaves and football Sundays. Winter is cherished by the ski and oversized sweater-clad community. Summer is the region’s reward for dealing with particular harsh iterations of the other seasons. But spring rarely makes its way to the top of the rankings. Whether because of…

Food and Drink

The derogatory tag of Rust Belt is a term in transition. Attached to Great Lakes-bordering cities hobbled by industrial job losses, it’s now a label proudly repurposed across member cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The designation has a fighter’s edge to it, so it’s expected to identify businesses and brands with their own personalized serving of blue-coll…

Gusto

If you’d like to enjoy a genuine Irish celebration this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, you’ll need to find some barroom-hosted music emblematic of the holiday’s historical spirit. This doesn’t mean settling for the work of Ireland-bred rock bands or the rhyming of Irish stereotypes, so stash tracks off “The Joshua Tree” or House of Pain hits for another evening. Traditional…

Food and Drink

Is the start of March too early to begin celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? That depends. Are you passionately connected to your Irish heritage? Were you raised to cherish Ireland’s culture, history and heartbreak? Do you read Samuel Beckett in the summer, spin The Chieftains in the fall and appreciate the enduring on-screen beauty of Maureen O’Hara all the days between? …

Food and Drink

In the 1996 Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn film, “Swingers,” Favreau’s struggling character Mike describes one of the benefits of knowing about a hidden bar is, “It’s like you’re in on some kind of secret.” Downtown workers and wedding guests who have discovered Statler City’s Lobby Bar likely feel the same way. Tucked off Delaware Avenue with no street signage or obvious…

Buffalo Magazine: BufFYI

Akron native Patrick Winney works behind a bar on Buffalo’s Hertel Avenue. He makes complicated drinks for lines of patrons, exchanges money with customers, and exhales friendly banter between orders under the jamming hum of a Phish soundtrack. One would think that tipping a busy man like Winney is a given. But it isn’t — because he serves coffee, not cocktails. Such…

Food and Drink

The northern stretch of Kenmore’s Delaware Avenue is more highway than condensed thoroughfare, home to Chevrolet dealerships, funeral homes and a Pizza Hut. The wide-open expanse might not be the first place you would scan for a expertly cultivated neighborhood bar. So if you’re not paying attention, you might cruise past Fletcher’s Bar without even a twitch of your nec…

Food and Drink

Whether with new bars, restaurants or renovated living spaces, intermittent blocks of downtown Buffalo stand emblematic of the city’s ongoing revival. But among them all, Ellicott Street’s emergence as a go-to dining and drinking stretch may be a surprising development—especially to one of the neighborhood’s longtime cornerstones. “Bizarre. Bizarre, to say the least,…

Food and Drink

The same surname doesn’t stay above the entrance of a modest tavern for more than 100 years by chance. Ask one of the co-owners of cherished Eggertsville outpost Brunner’s and he’ll cite lots of reasons for his family business’s endurance on Main Street. Menu items are consistently among the region’s best in their class. Domestic beer-drinking patrons have laughter a…

Gusto

Last year, G. Love & Special Sauce’s “Yeah, It’s That Easy” turned 20 years old. Its follow-up “Philadelphonic” turns the same age next year, and the band’s earliest recordings celebrate their 25th birthday this year. But spin any of these albums today and watch the Philly trio’s infectious blend of rock, soul and blues groove a room like the material hasn’t aged a …

Gusto

Scan through the annals of Buffalo-born bands and it’s hard to find one that’s generated more fervor, loyalty and fury than '90s hardcore heroes, Snapcase. Conceived in a West Seneca basement, galvanized by wild gigs inside now defunct clubs like Mercury and Showplace theaters, and popularized by seemingly omnipresent skateboard and window decals scooped inside Home of …