The bar: Allen Burger Venture (ABV)
The breakdown: Of all the bars to pop up across Buffalo over the past 12 months, there might not be one more indicative of the city’s trending vibe than Allen Burger Venture (ABV).
From the outside, the alcohol-by-volume-inspired Allen Street addition to owner Mike Shatzel’s impressive dossier of craft beer bastions appears as a nondescript address among its neighborhood’s eclectic composition.
Inside, its beer, bourbon and burgers have simply raised the district’s standards for eating and ambiance.
What was once a bakery is now a must-stop on any bar-related adventure through Buffalo, with hard-to-find drafts and high-end Texas spirits, as well as the city’s only bar wall boasting album artwork from both Springsteen and Loverboy.
Throw it all in a cocktail shaker and you’ll find a locale that’s emblematic of the Queen City’s ongoing metamorphosis.
The beer: Ommegang Lovely, Dark and Deep Stout
The breakdown: The dark beers of winter aren’t for everyone. Coffee notes swimming in froth and malts are not the ideal order for every drinker, and that’s fine. Ommegang seems to have suspected as much with its seasonal stout. Though it looks like its heady brethren, it’s actually void of an overabundance of the aforementioned flavors typically found in comparable stylemates.
But for those who pledge allegiance to the Cooperstown brewery’s fleet of Belgian selections, there’s lots to like, whether its combo of Bravo and Styrian Golding hops, signature Ommegang yeast or relatively low booze thrust (at 5.3 percent).
Dive into Five: There are plenty of reasons to stop at ABV, but any visit could seem incomplete without a face full of the bar’s Jiffy-accented burger.
Ordered by simply asking for “Five,” customers can team their beer or bourbon order with some grass-fed Angus beef, pickled jalapenos, bacon and white cheddar, all congealed together with jelly’s usual bedfellow. Sound disgusting? It’s not. Is “transcendent” too strong a description? Possibly — but not by much.
Wallpaper is a wasted opportunity: Sure, Shatzel and Co. could have decorated its Allentown walls with simple wallpaper or more of the colorful artwork that dons some of the bar’s blank space.
Instead, they dug through some bins at yard sales, Record Theatre or their own attics and unleashed a better motif: album covers, both prominent and obscure. U2’s “October” hangs with the Beatles’ “Help,” James Brown’s “Live at the Garden” and multiple Steve Martin comedy efforts. You’ll enjoy scanning the variety and, with at least a few selections, remembering pieces of your past rotation.
When to go: Opens every day at 11:30 a.m. Its full menu is available until 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Stop in for time inside one of the city’s best beer and bourbon bars; to feast on burgers slathered with peanut butter; or to simply scan mounted vinyl sleeves until you find Huey Lewis and the News’s iconic “Sports.”
Info: Allen Burger Venture, 175 Allen St. (768-0386)