Great Venues to Watch Local Bands in Buffalo, NY


Buffalo has given birth to its share of nationally-known bands (even if you dislike the happy pop of the Goo Goo Dolls, you might be a huge Cannibal Corpse fan), and like almost every band in the world, they honed their sound in at least hometown bar. Today, there are plenty of places where you might just discover the next big thing, or at least down a cocktail and some grub while the sound washes over you. Here's just a handful located in the downtown area.

1. Waiting Room
Not only do the locals like to perform at the Waiting Room, plenty of out-of-towners do shows here as well. One of the city's newer venues, there are two places to catch live music: a larger "main" room on the first floor, and a smaller room upstairs called The Studio, which is about half the size of the main room and open only for events and as a bar on Thursdays and Fridays. Whether you want to see a trio of touring acts or attend Live Band Karaoke every Thursday, you'll find a decent amount of free parking after 5:00 p.m. (always a plus in the city) and great bar service. The only minus? You can't buy event tickets onsite – only via their website (which you can print out), Ticketfly, and the After Dark Entertainment/Tour City box office.

2. Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar
Located in the ultra-hip Allentown area, Duke's claims to have booked some "legendary" acts, such as Rob Base and the Spin Doctors' Chris Barron – and they also make smoked chicken wings boasting the same label. Called DBGB by its regulars, there's almost always live music or a party going on. It's also a great place to see everything from hip hop to burlesque, paired with some relatively gourmet food to come out of a dive-looking bar. Be warned: you will probably be charged a cover, even if you come just to eat, so you might as well stick around for the entertainment.

3. PAUSA art house
If you want some art with your music, this is the place to go in Buffalo. Grab some wine or beer to pair with tapas or a sandwich, then enjoy both visual art and musical displays. Anyone who enjoys strings, piano, and great vocals (for starters) may want to make this their favorite spot to unwind after a long week. PAUSA also sets up pre- and post-concert receptions, so you can mingle with local musicians and artists. You can even rent this lovely, intimate space for a happy hour or gathering of your own, thus proving to your inner circle that you're a person of substance and class.

4. The 9th Ward
Buffalo is a city with some breathtaking architecture. When local music hero Ani DiFranco discovered a 19th-century Gothic-style church slated for demolition, she and her manager Scot Fisher rescued it and turned it into the wondrous Babeville. Within its reconstructed walls are a recording studio and larger concert venue; there's also The 9th Ward, the small basement bar that holds all of 150 patrons. If you've ever dreamed of seeing a band play in a cozy, European-style venue (think the Beatles performing at Liverpool's Cavern Club), you'll find it right here in Western New York.

Kimberly Mintz is a freelance writer and voice actor who lives in the Buffalo area. Follow her ramblings on Twitter and check out her professional profile on LinkedIn.