2006 Classic Tavern Award Winner! Click photo to visit Ulrich's history site.
Ulrich's Tavern has the distinction of being Buffalo's oldest documented tavern. Little has been done over the years to its interior which gives it an old-world atmosphere. The tavern is named after German Michael Ulrich who owned the tavern from 1906 to 1954. In 1954, Jim Daley from Buffalo's First Ward and his Bavarian wife Erika took over the business. In 2006, their son Jamie Daley runs the tavern and keeps the tradition alive with live music, a full German kitchen and a wonderful selection of premium imported and locally brewed beers.
Address: 674 Ellicott Street, Downtown Buffalo, New York
Food Service: Lunch & Dinner, Monday-Saturday.
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 8AM till close
I am proud to announce Ulrich's Tavern as the Biniasz.com Classic Tavern of the Year winner. Ulrich's ranks high in ALL classic tavern categories:
Curb Appeal & Location - 150 year old brick building that backs up to the former Phoenix Brewery. As Buffalo's oldest tavern, Ulrich's has weathered the storm from neighborhood tavern to workmen's lunch stop (next door to defunct Trico Plant.) Ulrich's has held its ground and now is center in the middle of Buffalo's medial research corridor.
Name - Tribute to former owner Michael Ulrich (1906-1954)
Atmosphere - A little Irish, A little German, A LOT of Buffalo! Owner Jamie Daley is always willing to share the tavern's history.
Layout - Classic tavern design. Bar and men's room upfront, tables for dinning in back. Small square tables fill the bar area.
Décor - The bar back at Ulrich's is a work of art and a lasting remnant from the late 1800s. The black cherry and stained glass bar was purchased in 1910 from the former Iroquois Hotel. Iroquois Beer paid to have logo included in stained glass during the 50s.
Entertainment - Features some of the best Irish and German music in the city on Friday and Saturday nights!
Food - Next to Scharf's Schiller Park Restaurant, Ulrich's has the best potato pancakes in Buffalo! Order the Beef on Weck for a TRUE taste of Buffalo. During Oktoberfest, try the sausage sampler.
Beverages - Large selection of German beers plus Irish Guinness. The city's largest server of locally brewed Flying Bison products. Ask to sample Hoops Lager if available, a beer named after Daley's father.
Glassware - German beer always served in appropriate, imported tall glasses.
If you have time for only one watering stop in Buffalo, Ulrich's Tavern located at 674 Ellicott Street is not to be missed. Pint by pint you will learn about the history of the city, its breweries and the region's great ethnic diversity that endures today. It is a celebration of the thousands of Irish and German immigrants who built Buffalo into one of the greatest cities in America.
At 138 years old, Ulrich's is the Buffalo's oldest documented tavern. Little has been done over the years to its interior which gives it an old-world atmosphere. The tavern's current name is a tribute to former owner Michael Ulrich who took over the saloon in 1906. Ulrich came to Buffalo from southern Germany and had been a beer wagon driver and a treasurer for the brewery workers union. For the next forty years, Ulrich's was a rendezvous for political bigwigs as well as the celebrated persons of the time in Buffalo. Mike Ulrich's Saloon quickly became the political and social center of Buffalo's German community.
Current ownership dates back to 1954 when Jim Daley, from Buffalo's old first ward and his Bavarian wife Erika, took over the business. Today's their son Jamie runs the tavern and keeps the traditions alive with live music, historical lectures and a full selection of premium imported and locally brewed beers.
The bar back at Ulrich's is a work of art and a lasting remnant from the late 1800's. The black cherry and stained glass bar was purchased in 1910 from the former Iroquois Hotel.
A full service kitchen is a lunchtime favorite and Friday Fish Fry Mecca known for its bigger than life potato pancakes, Kaiser Platter, beef on weck and a mile-high corned beef sandwich which is the best in the city north of the Buffalo River and South Park. Best times to visit Ulrich's? St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick's Day Parade Day, anytime when they have live music and during the tavern's Oktoberfest. Note to owner: The only thing missing is an Ulrich's Dyngus Day Party!
Beer of choose sampled during research visits: Warsteiner. Also on tap, Spaten, Guinness and Buffalo?s only local brew Flying Bison.
Ulrich's, Buffalo’s oldest bar enjoys new prosperity at Ellicott and Virginia
Ulrich’s Tavern thrives with growth of medical corridor
By Jay Rey BUFFALO NEWS 01/29/08
If you’re down on Buffalo, and convinced there’s no hope for the city, pull up a stool at Ulrich’s Tavern, where owner Jim Daley will be pouring the drinks. Daley is encouraged, not just for his bar — the oldest in the city — but for this slice of Buffalo that surrounds the tavern on the corner of Ellicott and Virginia streets.
Up the block, Roswell Park Cancer Institute has rebuilt and grown. Next door, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute opened. Across the street, the University at Buffalo moved into its new biomedical building.
Now, Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer is backing UB’s plans to expand here, along the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, while the state just awarded $4.5 million to renovate the old Trico building for start-up companies in the biotechnology industry — all in hopes this accumulation of innovation can stimulate the region’s economy.
“You can do all the Bass Pros you want, but this biomedicine is legitimate,” said Daley from behind the bar one recent afternoon. “You can feel it.” As this small corner of Buffalo makes a comeback, so, too, is Daley’s plucky little bar, which has survived everything from Prohibition to “urban renewal,” from the loss of its blue-collar base to the emergence of a new breed of barflies. In a way, Buffalo’s story is Ulrich’s story.
Daley’s parents, Jim and Erika, bought the bar in 1954. But it dates back to 1868, when it was a grocery store and saloon in a fast-growing German neighborhood home to Buffalo’s brewing industry.
The tavern changed owners several times before 1906, when a young beer-wagon driver named Michael Ulrich would take over for the next four decades. It was a favorite for politicians in the city’s German community. In fact, during Prohibition, the bar was made into a deli and restaurant, while the upstairs hotel became a private speakeasy for the pols.
By the time the Daleys took over, the bar was booming. The regulars from the neighborhood stopped by. Three shifts of workers poured in from Trico, the windshield wiper factory next door. It was a popular watering hole for reporters, office workers and pressmen at the Buffalo Courier-Express.
“My parents would open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 a.m.,” said Daley, who has been working behind the bar since he was 18. “And that didn’t mean they’d always close — they’d just turn out the lights.”
When urban renewal hit, the old neighborhood was leveled, and in the 1970s, the city took the building from the Daleys through eminent domain. The Daleys still ran the bar, paying the city rent, while the family fought City Hall in court for years, eventually winning their case in 1982. By this time, the Courier would fold, Trico slowly died, patrons moved to the suburbs, and the drinking culture had changed.
Once, Ulrich’s was one of 30 establishments in a four-block area. By the 1990s, it was the last one, and barely getting by. The family often thought about closing. “We said that a lot,” said Daley, 49. “But you’re so entrenched, and, at a certain point, what else are you going to do? You’re not going to get anything for it.”
Daley made some adjustments when he took over for his parents in 2000.
He pitched the business as the oldest continuous tavern in the city and played on its roots, serving up home-cooked German food with the atmosphere of an Irish pub.
But things really began to change a few years ago, when Hauptman-Woodward opened its new research center next door. Young researchers dropped by for a drink after work. Lab technicians stopped in for the knockwurst platter at lunch. Scientists came for Beakers ’n’ Beers, a monthly happy hour.
“We went from a mostly blue-collar bar,” Daley said, “to a white-collar bar.” Today, there are about 8,500 people working throughout the medical corridor. That means the future is bright again. “Last year was very good,” Daley said. “It’s the best year I had. We’re adding new people and not losing people.”
And while the clientele has changed, Ulrich’s hasn’t.
Step through the door of the long, narrow tavern, and there’s still the same cherry and stained-glass back bar Ulrich installed, while the restaurant’s tables and chairs are vintage 1920s. Daley is behind the bar, as the lunch crowd dwindles. “Jim, thank you,” says one customer, as he walks out the door. “Great lunch.” “Thanks, come again,” Daley says.
Daley often thinks of his father, “Hoops,” who died in 2002. “If he could see the bar now, it would validate his work,” Daley said. “I think he’d be happy about it.” A waitress walks up to give Daley a drink order. “Jim,” she says, “Absolut martini with olives.” A martini? What would Hoops say? Daley grins. “I don’t think he would have made martinis,” Daley says. “Back then, it was shots and beer.”
Current Owner - Jamie Daley
Ulrich's Tavern - Named after owner Micheal Ulrich 1906-1954
One of the best place to drink a beer and watch the world go by. From this window, Ulrich's has gone from neighborhood tavern to a blue collar workman's oasis to a survivor in Buffalo's new medical research campus. Small tavern tables rank high in classic tavern voting.