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This Week in Buffalo: Biggest party night of the year

For many in Buffalo, the opportunity to sleep in (or nap after the Turkey Trot) and the promise of a hearty meal Thursday means a chance to let loose Wednesday night.

That fact is not lost on bars, restaurants and clubs; Thanksgiving Eve is, as usual, absolutely loaded with parties, live music and general holiday revelry.

Expats in town for the week have a lot to consider, too, in addition to the enticing new venues that have joined the food and music scenes in the last year.

Philosofest IV, noon to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 12 Gates Brewing Co. (80 Earhart Drive, East Amherst). No cost.

How can you resist an event based on a legend involving the Philosopher's Stone? 12 Gates' name comes from Sir George Ripley's "Compound of Alchymy," and alchemists long searched for the mythical stone said to grant immortality and turn regular metals into gold. No word on whether the stone will make an appearance at the event.

But really, this is ultimately a brewery taproom party with beer releases (with outstanding names), live music and extended hours. Dirty Dangles double IPA packs a wallop at 8.6% ABV, while the Danger Zone stout was brewed with brandy-soaked oak chips (sounds fairly fascinating).

Tiny Music, a Stone Temple Pilots cover band, plays 8 to 11 p.m., following Mike & Mandy Music from 4-7.

[Photos: Smiles at Rock the Gates 2019 | Explore craft beer at 12 Gates]


Lowest of the Low, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $32 in advance.

The inevitable: A Ron Hawkins holiday show (but it keeps happening because Lowest of the Low draws so well). The Canadian frontman and his bandmates tangle in Town Ballroom Wednesday, joining forces with Wolf Tickets and Ace of Wands. Word is that this show is already approaching capacity, too.

Lowest of the Low has been profiled so many times in The News it's hard to know what to focus on – this Q&A by Tim O'Shei in 2017 and this Jeff Miers' review from 2012 are two good places to start.


Flip Hunger the Bird, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the Cave (71 Military Road). Cost is $15 general admission, or $10 with the donation of a nonperishable food item.

One of Miers' suggestions for expats home for the holidays is a trip to the Cave, a short walk from the Sportsmen's Tavern in Black Rock and a key component of the Halls family's expansion project. This fundraiser on Thanksgiving Eve is a prime opportunity to take the critic's advice while supporting the Food Bank of WNY.

The Donny Frauenhofer Band, Farrow and Saranaide – more different than they are similar in their musical approaches – give listeners a refreshing variety.


The Night Before Thanksgiving featuring Folkfaces, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 42 North Brewing (25 Pine St., East Aurora). Admission is a canned good or winter clothing for Friends of the Night People.

The 42 North footprint is expanding in East Aurora, with four new Airbnbs, additional brewing space, a canning line with clean branding and lofty goals of becoming a major player in regional craft beer distribution; co-founder John Cimperman told The News' Scott Scanlon he's "in the business of selling an experience."

Folkfaces, a local Americana/roots band lauded by News contributor Mac McGuire, will perform on Thanksgiving Eve, just a few months after releasing wonderfully named album "Fat Ol' Rat."


Lazlo Hollyfeld, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at McGarret's (946 Elmwood Ave.). Cost is $7 at the door.

Respect tradition. Sonny Baker and friends have a mix of music planned for their annual Thanksgiving Eve show in "the bar that has no name" (but it does have a name, it's McGarret's).

Hollyfeld's history of covering bands they love – in this case, the Talking Heads. again – continues, while they'll also play "the music of themselves," (or original music, but we like how they put it). The band had a tune-up of its Talking Heads set roughly two weeks ago when they played Hydraulic Hearth's fifth anniversary.


Marquee Grand, 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27 at Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave.). No admission cost listed.

For a variety of reasons, Goodbar is a popular stomping grounds on Thanksgiving Eve and whenever expats return to Buffalo. A great beer list, cheap live music, underrated wings and unpretentious atmosphere are at the heart of its appeal, which were elaborated upon when the bar celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Marquee Grand is a four-piece rock band from Buffalo, also with new music on the way after a strong gig at the Alternative Buffalo Birthday Show. The group will release a single, "Maybe," on Dec. 6.


Beach Slang, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). Cost is $20 in advance.

New music is right around the corner for Philadelphia punk band Beach Slang, so Mohawk Place concertgoers could be in for a treat. The coming album title, "Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City," is the work of James Alex, the band's only stable presence over the course of its five-year history.

Local opener Mom Said No. has generated plenty of buzz this year, as well as some praise from Miers, who thinks they could be the next band to break out of Buffalo.


One-Eyed Cat Brewing holiday pop-up, 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Moor Pat (78 E. Spring St., Williamsville). No cost to attend.

One-Eyed Cat Brewing has done things the right way in starting its brewery, building industry relationships by staging pop-ups around the area before settling on their main taproom location, inside an old church at 10678 Main St. in Clarence Hollow.

Another chance to try their beer comes Tuesday at craft beer-crazed Moor Pat, a short jaunt from their eventual location. OECB will have three brews to sample: a New England IPA, a Russian Imperial Pumpkin Stout and the house imperial stout. More details on these beers at the event page.


More options for Thanksgiving Eve

Jive Turkey Celebration at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar
Thanksgiving Eve Bash at the Cove with Hit-N-Run
Thanksgiving Eve party at Becker Farms/Vizcarra Vineyards
Stoutsgiving 2019 at Big Ditch Brewing Co.
Strictly Hip at Tralf Music Hall


Continued: "The Irishman" at Dipson Amherst, North Park Theater. Read the review and the feature on Buffalo-born actor Patrick Gallo.


Sold out: Turkey Trot on Thursday in downtown Buffalo, but look back at last year's Smiles for good measure.


3 quick-hitters for this week

Thanksgiving Night party at New York Beer Project
Opening of Lewiston Family Ice Rink
Pints for Progress No. 7 at Taylor Theater


5 events to look forward to this weekend

Hotel Henry holiday market begins
Jingle Falls USA in Niagara Falls
Christmas in Ellicottville
Handel's "Messiah" with BPO at OLV Basilica
"The Nutcracker" at Shea's Buffalo

[Sold out for this weekend: World's Largest Disco; As I Lay Dying]


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