A downtown bicycling destination that’s also a bar? Why not?
The ambitious project was envisioned by Sarah Schneider, co-owner of Merge Restaurant, who also bikes.
“I feel like biking gave me my first real taste of independence as a child, and I’ve found that as I’ve continued biking around cities I’ve lived in as an adult, biking has continued to provide a sense of independence from the traditional ebbs and flows of city transit,” Schneider said.
The unusual combination works. Even if you don’t bike, HandleBar welcomes guests to join in the celebration of the biker (the pedaling kind) culture. The unique space has tons of great wood and features eclectic décor from bike photography to real gears in the bar to bicycle chain light fixtures.
Drinks range from great local craft beers to specialty cocktails and everything in between. For fall, enjoy a Bourbon Fresca made with Temptation Bourbon, Aperol, Fresh Mango and Cilantro. Or sip down a last taste of summer with the Post Apolinary, made with Mephisto Absinthe, Amaro Nonino, Dry Vermouth and Weiss Farms Strawberry Jam. Specialty drinks run $9-$10. For those who don’t want to think, sip the daily $6 cocktail, designed on a whim by bartender Adam Rath.
There are a few bike-themed drinks, too, like the Sociable. Think, a side-by-side tandem bike that inspired a cocktail with a unique twist on the traditional Sidecar made from brandy, Chartreuse, Cointreau and lemon juice.
Local beers are all the rage, and HandleBar carries its fair share, like Hamburg Brew, Community Beer Works, Resurgence, Flying Bison and Big Ditch. They’re only $4 during happy hour.
The food menu is simple and focuses on healthy and fresh, with unique flatbread pizzas, salads and rice bowls. Smoothies, too, if you want.
So when you are on a Tour de Buffalo, make Handlebar a stop on your route. No matter what contraption you use to arrive (including your own two feet), Schneider promises a new adventure. “I want people to be able to relax and experience something new, whether it’s a new draft or cocktail, a new dish, a game or a even a chance meeting.”
HandleBar @ The Hub
149 Swan St. (259-9632, handlebarpub.com)
Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.
Happy Hour: Tuesday through Friday with local craft brews $4 from 4 to 6 p.m. Also, $6 daily cocktail specials.
Extras: Patio. Magnetic game tables. Pedal power charging station for electronic devices. Workingman’s Every Day Special $5: Shot of Black Velvet and Rolling Rock Split. Tuesday Arts & Crafts Night. Thursday Bring Your Own Vinyl. Friday Acoustic Music from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday DJ Soul & PBJ: Enjoy soul music and peanut butter, jelly and Wonderbread from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Coming: Absinthe menu.
BY THE NUMBERS:
BOTTLED/CAN BEERS: 12
13 BIKE BAR STOOLS
3 BIKE CHAIN LAMPS
1 T-REX RIDING BIKE (picture)