Translating directly to “pride” from French, Fierté is a relatively new club, just off the strip of Allen Street’s de facto gay quarter, on Virginia Place. The former Twilight Room boasts a new sleek industrial design that’s been woven into the standing wood to create an ambiance that reflects the duality of the bar’s character.
An ambitious endeavor from the start, Fierté set out to become the “one size fits all” Buffalo bar. The idea was, in short, to establish itself as a cocktail lounge serving a full menu of quirky comfort foods by day that transitioned to a thumping nightclub in the evening.
As time has passed, Fierté has leaned its mission statement, advertising an “alternative bar and nightclub” that leans much more heavily on the nightclub atmosphere, from my experience. It's affectionately called the "llama bar" by regulars referencing pictures of the animal throughout the bar.
Like "A Tale of Two Cities," I visited Fierté twice under vastly different circumstances. My visit at 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday was a world apart from Saturday at 1 a.m. Take a moment to anticipate the grand reveal of which experience I suggest you set out after.
In the evening during the work week, the crowd at Fierté was sparse to say the least. As the sole patron for the duration of my visit, it was hard to shake the feeling that I’d arrived at a party about six hours too early.
The dull thud of muted dance music that eked from the supercharged sound system kept an uncomfortable beat between the silence that I spent enjoying a few drinks bathed in the neon glow from the bar.
A cocktail lounge, this was not.
The libation selection at Fierté is fruit-forward, brightly colored and fun, tailored to the nightclub scene. Daiquiris, Mules, margaritas, Collins, mojito and sangrias come in mostly tropical flavors alongside the short-list of classics that includes the manhattan, old fashioned and negroni.
The food options at Fierté have changed since the original concept. Expect to see a New Orleans' style menu debut around Aug. 1 with Cajun and Creole choices including Andouille sausage gumbo. Food will be served from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. with a full dinner and late-night menu.
At my bartender’s suggestion I went for the Fraise Daisy (strawberry margarita) and passion fruit mojito, both of which were refreshing, bright and thoughtfully crafted considering the pace of business. I also took his next suggestion to come back later.
Though I never felt unwelcome, we shared an unspoken confusion over what the other was doing there at that hour.
Fierté is a different animal at late at night. The music is full force, the interior lights are erratic and cocktails turn to shots and bottle service at both the top and bottom bars. It’s a mostly gay crowd but certainly not exclusively so.
Fierté is worth the walk down Virginia Place for a fresh spot in a scene that’s remained unchanged for a few years. Though it may take some time and a few changes to draw in the after work happy hour crowd, for now it’s hitting its stride as a fast-paced nightclub with an upscale atmosphere.
Address: 26 Virginia Place (696-2553)
Hours: 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Scene: Upscale gay nightclub.
Drinks: A slew of fruit-forward cocktails with bottle service from $60-$350.
Food: A few mostly rotational small plates ranging from hors d'oeuvres to sliders. Look for a new menu in August.
Ask about: The DJ lineup for the week.
Don’t forget to: Check out the second full bar upstairs.