Lots of items get exchanged between neighbors, whether power tools, shrub suggestions or casual conversation. But sometimes, such abutting interaction can turn into something bigger—like turning an old auto parts store into a marquee craft beer store and bar.
Such is the case with Hamburg’s Hamm & Fattey’s Beer Company, started by two village neighbors intent on turning their backyard brewing banter into a community asset.
Now standing at the corner of Buffalo Street and Highland Avenue inside a renovated Napa Auto Parts outlet, Hamm and Fattey’s is the part-tavern, part-retailer brainchild of Southtowners Ben Hamm and Nik Fattey.
While idling at their respective fences on thoroughfares Union and Pleasant, the two passed hours considering their place within Buffalo’s recent craft beer boom—and not because they were in need of new careers. With Hamm a longtime educator and Fattey the vice president and director of hockey at downtown’s HarborCenter, the two were already booked.
But they both knew there was a need for a more expansive beverage operation in the Village of Hamburg, and they wanted to be the pair to deliver.
“Brewing beer would be cool, and there are a lot of talented local people doing that,” said co-owner Fattey. “But there are not a lot of places—especially in Hamburg—to buy all the cool beer currently out there. That’s kind of where the idea came from.”
Opened May 1, the flexible alehouse—which features eight rotating drafts, more than 400 different brands of bottles and cans, and the option to drink on site or carry out—is now a craft beer destination for both village denizens and visitors alike.
The locale’s prestigious Mug Club sold out its 150 memberships on its first day of operation, and comes with a 20-ounce ceramic vessel crafted by St. Paul, Minnesota’s Grey Fox Pottery, who Fattey discovered while previously working as a scout for the Buffalo Sabres. Now in the beer business, he offers the drinkware much closer to his own backyard.
Inside, customers will find a stylish décor emblematic of typically rustic craft beer-related backdrops, with shelves, tables and a bar handmade with the woodworking direction of Hamm.
Outside, drinkers can enjoy selections from nationally renowned brewers like Dark Horse, Evil Twin and Green Flash on front and side patios, with both looking out on the still-quaint suburban enclave that’s become a walkable bastion for foodies, beer geeks, and gaggles of young families.
Can the experience be more expensive than an evening at the nearby Pyramid Lounge? Possibly. It depends on your flavor or desired ABV octane, but costs are comparable to the current market.
Thankfully, there are options for the cost conscious via Hamm & Fattey’s Young Grandpa’s Beer Fridge, an old relic of Fattey’s that hosts beers—from brewers like Genesee, 21st Amendment and, yes, Hamm’s—that patrons can grab for $2 a piece.
This type of can-related thoughtfulness could be deemed considerate. Or neighborly—which seems appropriate for a place forged over a suburban property partition.
Address: 284 Buffalo St., Hamburg (427-4322)
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 3 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
Scene: Craft beer retailer and bar for those who’d like to shop, sip, or saddle up a barstool for an afternoon session.
Bottles and Cans: More than 400.
Parking: Back lot, along with plenty of street parking
Outdoor seating: Yes
Don’t forget to: Ask a Hamm & Fattey’s staffer for guidance on your possible purchases.