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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

"Nietzsche's Is Still a Haven for Performers, Music Lovers"


At the end of the bar, on the wall next to perhaps the oldest pair of ruby red slippers in Buffalo, reads the sign, "There's no place like home."

For many local musicians and artists, Dorothy's sentiment couldn't ring any more true. Nietzsche's is a haven where artistic expression, originality and creativity are met with open arms . and a pint of Guinness.

There's only one bar in Buffalo that features an endless variety of live music seven nights a week, hand-carved wooden sculptures for sale and enough room to house a few hundred people, an establishment of infinite character and characters: the one and only Nietzsche's.

Nestled in the heart of Buffalo's Allentown district at 248 Allen St., Nietzsche's has garnered a reputation as one of the city's premiere live music clubs, hosting everything from mega-rock shows and open-mic nights to fundraising benefits and spoken-word poetry.

Now in its twentieth year of business, Nietzsche's main stage has been trampled upon and had its ceiling autographed by a variety of world-renowned musicians. The Tragically Hip, Phish, Joan Osborne, Suzanne Vega, Matchbox 20 and local boys The Goo Goo Dolls have played (and signed) at Nietzsche's and Buffalo's own Ani Difranco once ran an open-mic at Nietzsche's. Adult supervision was necessary for the artist, since she was only 14 at the time.

"Just as the cold and gray winters of Russia have brought great writers, the cold and gray winters of Buffalo have brought great music," said Joe Robino, owner of Nietzsche's. "We [Buffalo] have an abundance of local musicians playing great original, diverse music."

Nietzsche's has a unique setup, with a long, rectangular shaped room and a small stage directly to the right of the front door. The main stage is elevated in the back with balconies and tables on each side. The bar is located immediately to the left upon walking through the entrance.

For Tom Fenton, a regular performer at Nietzsche's since 1990, part of the appeal is the lack of a divide between audience and performer, fostered by the club's communal atmosphere.

"For me, as a guy who writes music, it's a place where I play and people in the audience will listen and respond," said Fenton.

"Musically, Nietzsche's is very complex, and socially there is a great community of musicians, artists and poets involved there. It's quite a special place," said Tim Baldwin, who has been performing at Nietzsche's regularly for the past eight years.

Most cover charges are free or range from three to five dollars, although for the more established national acts, cover can hike up to $15, with all money from the door going to the musicians. Beers on tap include Bass, Guinness, Rolling Rock, Beck's and Killian's Irish Red. During concerts, well drinks and bottles are priced at $2.75.

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Opened in 1982 by Robino, Nietzsche's was formerly the Jamestown Grill, a bar owned by two brothers for more than 40 years. Upon purchasing the building, Robino turned the storage space into the main stage area for the larger concerts.

A listing of all events at Nietzsche's can be found at www.nietzsches.com.




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