A home for history and tunes
New venue Buffalo Iron Works aims to become consistent entertainment presence
Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 22:12
Almost every night at Buffalo Iron Works, live music rings throughout its historical, industrial interior.
Buffalo Iron Works, located on 49 Illinois St., is a new music venue in the Cobblestone District next to the First Niagara Center. The venue is determined to become a place Buffalo locals can rely on for good, live local music and touring acts while keeping the area’s history by using the old building.
Sam Savarino, a UB alum and one of the owners of Buffalo Iron Works, wanted to make sure there would be a beneficial use to the historic building. A music venue in the area seemed to fit as “another piece of the puzzle.”
The establishment is open Monday through Saturday, with live music acts on Tuesday through Saturday. Whether it is for a post-Sabres game hangout or a night out for live music, Buffalo Iron Works will be “consistent and open.”
“We’re a little different from other performance venues in town who are only open when they have an act,” Savarino said. “We’re open night in and night out as a club, and even if there’s not a touring act or a big name group, we … usually have local entertainers that really deserve a chance to be heard.”
The project was a historical renovation that will place the building on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, there were limitations as to how much change could occur to the building. This gave the venue its current look of vintage industrial décor.
“It looks pretty funky on the inside, but when you’re in there, you’re in a historical building and it [was] left the way it was,” Savarino said.
The name “Iron Works” is homage to the businesses that used to be in the district, according to Savarino.
Boiling and iron works filled Buffalo’s former manufacturing region. The site that Buffalo Iron Works resides was originally a stove works company that mainly dealt with iron works.
Elise Stevens, the live music coordinator, said she was honored to be part of the building’s transition to becoming a music venue.
“We jazzed it up, but we left it as best we could to history and how the building originally was,” Stevens said.
Though the venue has had success since its opening on Nov. 14, Stevens feels there is a lot of learning going on about the space and how to deal with artists. The place has a lot of opportunities but, being new to the area, the establishment needs time to come into its own identity.
“The way we continue to identify ourselves is to just to be a constant [establishment] and grow into whatever we become through our experiences,” Stevens said.
Aside from the physical building, the kitchen is worthy of note as well.
Savarino describes the menu as “stuff you wouldn’t normally think is gourmet food but is prepared in a gourmet fashion.” The staff works to keep fresh ingredients and even smokes its own meats for dishes of poutine, hotdogs and Pittsburgh sandwiches.
The grand opening featured The Ragbirds, a live touring act, and helped fundraise for Buffalo’s Old First Ward Community Centeraddress the community’s needs including housing and human services and economic redevelopment.
Savarino noted that, being a UB alum, it is possible he may offer college discounts in the future. The location is not too far from a metro station, so it is accessible for students without transportation.
Buffalo Iron Works is planning to host a New Year’s Eve party featuring The Slyboots Circus – the premier resident ensemble at the Slyboots School of Music, Art and Dance – and the Saakumu Dance Troupe of Ghana, West Africa.
“It’s just a good place to come in – night in and night out – and know you’re going to get good live music,” Savarino said.
While every night may not have special ticketed events, Buffalo Iron Works has entertainment for anyone looking to enjoy music, and it hopes to achieve a permanent spot in the music scene of Buffalo.