This Tuesday night, the Buffalo's Young Preservationists are holding their monthly Happy Hour at the Pan-American Grill and Brewery from 6-9PM.
Though not exclusive to preservationists, the "Happy Hour" does feature some of the biggest names in the Buffalo preservation "community," with professional preservationists from Preservation Buffalo Niagara and private companies mixing with some of the preeminent activist organizations in the city. The Campaign for Better Buffalo, the Clean Air Coalition, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), and Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo (ELAB) are all well represented in the group, and walking around the Pan-Am tomorrow, you're bound to run into more than a handful of the Buffalo Spree's "WNY Game Changers" during the Happy Hour.
Founded in 2011, BYP began with the goal to engage as many people as possible concerning Buffalo's preservation efforts. Though many preservation-related groups exist in Buffalo, there is still a very strong, and very vocal, anti-preservation contingent in Western New York, epitomized by Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski's recent comments concerning Bethlehem Steel and preservation efforts in general.
The "Happy Hour" originated as a way to create a positive atmosphere to introduce people, already "preservationists" or not, to different preservation issues around the city. The event's laid-back feeling draws all types of Buffalonians, creating a mixing-pot of urban planners, sustainability experts, lawyers, neurological researchers, architects, environmentalists, artists, and brewers. While part of the great atmosphere comes from the relaxed nature of the gatherings, the great locations are what really draw newcomers to the event.
The Pan-Am joins a growing list of the great bars already frequented by the BYP Happy Hour this year. In June, the group visited the Adam Mickiewicz Polish Library and Social Club, experiencing some of the finest European brews in Buffalo. The next month, they held the Happy Hour at Scharf's Schiller Park Restaurant, hoping to experience the great German beer and schnitzel before the bar's expected close at the end of July. The attention surrounding the bar increased business so dramatically, creating a sort of "Cash Mob" effect, that Sharf's is still open today. A visit to the Swannie House in the weeks leading up to City of Night, was followed "Preservation Plus After-Party" at the Century Grill at the end of September.
BYP selected the Pan-Am Grill to celebrate one of Buffalo's preservation successes. The Hotel Lafayette was one of downtown's biggest eyesores just a decade ago, unloved, and a shell of it's former glory. Rocco Termini's ambitious plan pumped $40million into the building's rehabilitation ($5 million of which was subsidized by Historic Tax Credits), and the result has been absolutely incredible. Since it's completion in May, the building has found tenants for the upstairs apartments, and has hosted dozens of weddings that utilize it's refurbished function halls and first-floor restaurants.
Be sure to stop by the Pan-Am Grill and Brewery tomorrow night to see the rehabilitation of one of Buffalo's treasures, and experience the welcoming and engaging atmosphere of the last BYP Happy Hour of 2012.