Buffalo Cider Hall is days away from becoming Buffalo’s first cider-focused drinking establishment.
Barker-based BlackBird Cider Works currently has its products distributed in seven states, but relatively few customers have made it north to its taproom, practically an apple’s throw from the Lake Ontario shore.
In Buffalo, at 155 Chandler St., BlackBird’s ciders will anchor a bar devoted to local beverages and the work that makes them possible.
“We’re going to try to keep it a nice higher-end experience so people can come and just hang out,” said owner Scott Donovan. “We’ll have some things for people to do, and some fire pits out there at some point in time.”
Buffalo Cider Hall should be open to the public Oct. 13, Donovan said.
A space behind the bar room will hold the kitchen and has room for a pilot cider program. The area is bubbling with fermentation businesses. Across the street, Thin Man Brewery’s production facility is under construction. Elsewhere in the building, Barrel + Brine is working on a new site for its pickles, kimchi and kombucha making.
The repurposed industrial space – in the former Linde Air building – has a bar on two sides. Tap handles are a welcome organic touch amid the cement, the apple wood “cut especially for this out of our orchard,” said Donovan.
Of the 24 taps, as many as half will carry ciders at any given time, like BlackBird’s Buffalo Bluegrass, craft cider finished in whiskey casks. The rest will be local craft beers, available by the glass and in growlers. Its coolers have room for a hundred bottles and cans. The bar can sell hard liquor from farm distilleries, Donovan said, so there will be mixed drinks.
Garage doors open up to a vast lawn behind the building, which will be home to BlackBird’s bocce ball courts. There will be two television screens inside for people who would rather watch a game.
A light bar menu will include pickles and cheese plates, hummus and panini sandwiches. A brussels sprouts salad with apple, pistachios and lemon is an elaborate as it gets.
Murals devoted to Buffalo’s transportation and trade in agricultural processes are in the works, including one of a grain freighter being unloaded, and another of the cider-making process.
INFO: BlackBird Cider Works, 155 Chandler St. Hours: 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday. Phone: 240-9689.
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