The Front Bar is a true time capsule, a space that has aged gracefully and is an essential part of the Buffalo Olde Brewery complex. We preserved the bar's original, distinctive features, while modernizing it with unconventional drink offerings.
Gustavo Fernandez has 15 years of hospitality experience in New York City which began when he was just 17 years old. He initially began working in the hospitality industry to fund his musical pursuits, but he soon found his passion was crafting exceptional cocktails.
Gustavo was born in Mexico City, and he grew up in Harlem where he was immersed in the rich culinary traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico thanks to his parents' heritage. Oaxaca, renowned for its food and ingredients, holds a special place Gustavo since it is the home of Mezcal, a spirit he deeply appreciates.
Gustavo has worked in a variety of establishments throughout his long career. Notable favorites include The Breslin, a Michelin-starred restaurant within the Ace Hotel, and Peels, a hotspot frequented by celebrities.
Gustavo finds introducing people to the art of cocktails the most rewarding aspect of his career. He loves exploring new creative possibilities and uncovering the history behind each libation. Among his favorites cocktails is the Jungle Bird, a drink he admires for its juicy bitterness, oddly reminiscent of pancakes when expertly prepared.
For Gustavo, the simplicity and honesty of his work are a source of deep satisfaction, as well as connecting people through the timeless art of crafting exceptional cocktails.
In addition to Tom’s spectacular beer, our Front Bar offers various wines, bubbles, and cocktails, with a few select international items. Savour one of our specialty drinks, served in classic Nick & Nora martini glasses. And ask about our Smootch drinks!
Dating back to 1910, this bar served as a pillar for the Lovejoy community for about 85 years. The tin ceiling, terrazzo floor, copper awning, wood bar, and wood wall panels are all original, as shown in the picture, provided by the Iron Island Museum. We added a 1920s crystal and brass basket chandelier from the Plaza Hotel in New York City and installed an onyx background to lend a modern look.
Similar to many other drinking establishments in Lovejoy, the bar served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. In fact, we found a newspaper article detailing when the establishment was raided. Given its proximity to Canada, western New York was a hub for bootlegging during Prohibition.
When Buffalo's economy deteriorated toward the end of the 20th century, the Lovejoy area was not spared. Most of the local bars and restaurants closed, while surviving businesses suffered marked declines. During the economic downturn, rumors of illicit activity swirled around this establishment.
In 2019, we began a full restoration of the entire building. Given the building was originally built in 1890, age, and a lack of maintenance, construction proved more extensive than planned and took longer than expected. However, since the project was likely the most significant private investment in Lovejoy in 50 years, it had to succeed. For several years, Vince Anderson spearheaded the herculean venture and is the creative genius behind the reopening.
While renovating the bar, we found several documents signed by Mark Twain. However, they disappeared soon thereafter. Despite vigorous efforts to recover them, it was for naught. We obtained a first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, signed by Mark Twain, so that this moment in history wouldn’t be lost.
Prior to becoming part of Buffalo Olde Brewery, 1215 E. Lovejoy Street was the site of a small, 800-square-foot building constructed in 1906. For almost 50 years, Bob, as he was known by the community, operated a simple barber shop in the quaint building, adorned with his signature “Bob’s Barber Shop” sign.
Today, the revitalized bar is a modern, upscale lounge that showcases many of the original features, preserved as a tribute to the storied history and spirit of Lovejoy. We invite you to experience a unique piece of Buffalo's history at Buffalo Olde Brewery and participate in Lovejoy’s resurgence.