BUFFALO, N.Y. - It's a hard little place to find, but worth the trip.
The Swannie House at the corner of Michigan and Ohio (right by the Michigan Lift Bridge) in Buffalo's Old First Ward combines a friendly atmosphere with a small but tasty menu- and that's not even mentioning its storied history.
It's the second-oldest bar in Buffalo, behind Ulrich's Tavern, and Swannie's owner Tim Wiles jokes that it was the oldest when Ulrich's had to shut down for a few weeks last year. Wiles also told us the history of the place.
It first opened up as a bar under partners Williams and Swanerski, and when Williams died, his children sold their stake to Swanerski's son. The Williams used that money as the seed for Women and Children's Hospital.
As the local legend has it, Swanerski Jr. wanted to add a second and third story to the building, but tensions were high at the time between Eastern Europeans and the Irish- who controlled city hall. They blocked the permit, so Swanerski's father, who owned a big liquor distributor, cut Irish businesses off from liquor.
After 3 or 4 weeks (and again, this is local legend and can't really be verified), the Irish agreed to the expansion, and the liquor flowed freely again. As part of the deal, Swanerski changed the name from the "Swanerski House" to the more Irish-sounding "Swannie House."
The bar is known for its Swannie Wings, a recipe imported from the west coast, one of Western New York's most popular fish fries (with all the sides included), and deep-fried cheese-and-bacon-stuffed hot peppers (not for the faint of artery).
It's open from 11am-4am every day but Saturday, when it closes at midnight.
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