Brews on Tues: A Pint-Sized Pub

Brews on Tues: A Pint-Sized Pub

By Caitlin Meives – Young Urban Preservationists (Rochester, NY)

The neighborhood bar. Is there any place more comforting, more welcoming, more a fixture of the urban lifestyle? It’s a place where you can go for a much-needed decompression drink after a long day at work, a place to lazily while away a hot Sunday afternoon, a place to spend quality time catching up with your best friends.

Rochester’s city neighborhoods have their fair share of neighborhood bars, some longtime, divey fixtures; some more polished and hipster-(or bro) serving. Though I tend to prefer those on the divier end of the spectrum, one of my favorite neighborhood watering holes is shiny and relatively new. And, while it could pass, I’ll confess that it’s not actually in a historic building. The oddball single story structure is actually a reconstruction, an exact replica of the historic building that stood there until a few years ago.

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It’s called, for obvious reasons, the Half Pint Pub. And it’s adorable.

In Rochester, we have to maximize summer outdoor fun times. So it’s important to do all your summer drinking and dining outdoors. Aside from its adorably small size, the Half Pint provides plenty of sidewalk seating for my dogs and me.

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It’s a perfect spot to sit for hours, observing the comings and goings of Park Ave. If you’ve been sucked into Pokemon Go, it also just so happens to be adjacent to a popular Pokestop, so you can sit, drink a beer, and collect a bunch of Pokemon without getting off your butt.

And one of my favorite–albeit gimicky–features of the place is that you can get two half-pints of beer instead of a traditional full pint. Ingenious! But seriously, there’s something appealing about drinking beer out of a half pint mug.

 

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Brews on Tues: Crawling through the Wedge

Brews on Tues: Crawling through the Wedge

 

By Clare Farnung – Young Urban Preservationists (Rochester, NY)

pic1About a month ago you read a little about the Rochester YUPs’ WHERE THE #$@& AM I? Coaster Project. We’ve all been in a building at some point and thought “I wonder what this building used to be?” This is where our coaster project comes in–we research and talk to the owners of bars and restaurants housed in old spaces and create a website that can be accessed by a QR code, which we then print on bar coasters and give to the bar to spark their patrons’ interest in the space and to get people thinking about their city’s history. In May, to celebrate the addition of 4 bars and restaurants to our project we held a bar crawl through the South Wedge neighborhood of Rochester.

We started the crawl at Tap and Mallet, a bar known for its impressive, frequently changing draft list, pub food and a laid back vibe. With 30 draft lines and a cask ale, it’s not hard to find something you’ll enjoy. Built in 1899, the building has a pretty boozy history, it was originally a saloon and at one point it was home to a grocery store. The last few decades it’s gone back to its roots, housing several bars and restaurants.

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Despite, or maybe because of, Rochester’s tendency towards long, cold, snowy winters, Rochesterians live for their outdoor eating areas. And Tap and Mallet’s doesn’t disappoint with tables set up on the sidewalk in the summer and a patio in the back complete with overhanging trees, brick walls, and a mural.

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Our second stop, just down the street, is tucked into the basement of the Historic German House. The German House was built in 1908 by St. Boniface Church, a Catholic church just across the street, to serve as their parish hall. In 1924 they sold it to the United German-American Societies of Rochester, hence the name. The German House is one of those places that’s been around for so long and housed so many things, everyone has been there at some point. Fun fact: Rohrbach Brewing Company, which was mentioned in Rochester’s last Brews on Tues post got its start in the German House. And since 2014, ButaPub has been a part of that almost 100 year history.

pic4On our bar crawl, we were lucky enough to have the owner give us a backstage look at the building, literally. Most of the German House is taken up by the concert hall where the owners are working on uncovering and restoring some of the unique features of the building, including the original tin ceiling. After the tour it was back down to ButaPub’s swanky bar for drinks and a little relaxation before moving on.

After enjoying ButaPub’s lounge, it was just a quick stroll around the corner to Harry G’s, the youngest bar so far to be a part of our WHERE THE #&@% AM I? Project. Most Rochestarians know Harry G’s as a deli, which opened in 2012. When the space next door to them became available the owners decided to expand and opened a bar earlier this year. Harry G’s has some beautiful original brick walls, an emphasis on New York State beers and wine, and an entire deli just next door. If that doesn’t say great neighborhood bar, I don’t know what does.

Our final bar on the crawl, a few doors down from Harry G’s, was Lux Lounge. Lux is THE bar of the neighborhood, it’s a self-proclaimed dive bar that is so Lux it’s honestly hard to explain. In the summers the backyard is full of people and dogs alike and on Wednesdays you might be lucky enough to find your favorite cult classic playing. Your first visit to Lux isn’t complete until you’ve had their cheeseburger shot: a shot each of tequila, tomato juice, and pickle juice. On any night you might walk into craft night, free PB&J night or a DIY bloody mary bar. Lux has been a longtime focal point for us YUPs (serving as the HQ for our first two Bikes, Beer, & Buildings scavenger hunts) so it was only natural that we make them the grand finale to our WHERE THE #&@% AM I? Bar crawl. In the 1980s the building was home to the Snake Sisters Cafe, a lesbian bar, where Lux owner Karrie first happened upon the place and said that someday the space would be hers.

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Although these four bars and restaurants serve different drinks, different food, and have very different atmospheres, the one thing they have in common is their love of their community. The South Wedge neighborhood they all call home is known for being slightly off kilter, a little gritty but dedicated to its inhabitants. And these four establishments are no different. Each of these places want their patrons to be comfortable in their space, to keep coming back until it’s the regular hangout. Whether they know it or not, using these old spaces jumpstarts that comfortable feeling. Walking in, you know a thousand feet have crossed that threshold before you and a thousand more will cross it after you. You’re not surprised to find a healthy selection of local beers on their draft list because these places all resonate with the love they have for their city and neighborhood. Those feelings can’t be mass produced, they can’t be bought. They only come from time and a lot of love. And the YUPs will always raise a glass to that.

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#LoveYourHD: Rochester’s Park Ave.

#LoveYourHD: Rochester’s Park Ave.

By Nick Delahanty – Young Urban Preservationists

Many Rochesterians and visitors spend a great deal of their leisure time and dollars in our city’s historic districts.The diversity of retail, quality housing, and picturesque streetscapes draw people in and, whether they know it or not, they are appreciating and supporting the preservation of these areas. You might even call them closet preservationists (see Caitlin Meives’ TEDx Flour City talk below for more about this). The historic buildings, parks, and public spaces that make up the fabric of our city are critical to a healthy neighborhood. For me though, it’s the pedestrian-centric design and the human scale of our historic districts–created before America became infatuated with the automobile–that are the underpinning for the success of our historic districts.

ParkAve-Rochester-2016_08I live in one of Rochester’s best preserved and most popular neighborhoods, just south of the East Avenue National Register Historic District (also a locally designated City Preservation District). Park Avenue runs along the southern edge of the East Ave. district and is the commercial and social spine of the neighborhood. Radiating from this street of bars and restaurants overflowing onto the sidewalks with dogs and people is a tightly woven grid of small apartment buildings and turn of the century homes. The sidewalks, lined with mature trees and welcoming front porches, boast a diverse, ever-changing cast of characters–from overindulgent college students, to retirees and their noble dogs, to visitors from the suburbs and an ever-growing armada of strollers.

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Although we’re just a few blocks south of Park Ave., those of us in the heart of the Park Ave. neighborhood (a large swathe of thousands of properties) are left out of the district and therefore left out of the NYS Homeowners Tax Credit program. Our section of the neighborhood has been officially eligible for listing since the 1980s but no one has ever taken the initiative to pursue a district. New census data has revealed that Park Ave. (admittedly one of the wealthier neighborhoods in the city) is now in a census tract that qualifies for the NYS tax credit programs. That was the motivation that we, as homeowners who are spending an inordinate amount of income on old house repairs, needed to begin the daunting task of getting a nearly 2000 property district listed.

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With my partner and YUP co-founder, Caitlin, leading the charge, we’ve begun the long process of getting our neighborhood listed as a historic district. We are starting by getting estimates from consultants and reaching out to homeowners (both in the existing East Ave district and the potential Park Ave district) to inform them about tax credits and the National Register listing process. Rochester has so many amazing neighborhoods, and I believe the impetus is on us, the citizens,to be good stewards of the amazing neighborhoods and spaces our city has to offer for future generations.

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Brews on Tues: Keeping it local in the ROC

Brews on Tues: Keeping it local in the ROC

By Sara Jenks – Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs)

In a new office park in the Rochester suburb of Victor, NY, sits one of the world’s largest beverage companies, in fact, the largest wine producer in the world. Historically, the Rochester drink scene has been dominated by its famed ice wines and prize winning rieslings from the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes Region. But like the Rust Belt young preservationists who have come Tuesdays prior and those who will come Tuesdays next, we Rochesterians have decided that we want our booze local, urban, and found in old buildings.

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In 2014 the Young Urban Preservationists of The Landmark Society of Western New York (YUPs, for short) unveiled our WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ historic pub/bar coaster project. The Rohrbach Brewing Company Beer Hall and Black Button Distilling were in the coaster project’s inaugural class. These two establishments are located on Railroad St. in a factory building built for the Bantleon Brothers’ millwork door company in 1906. Since the door company, this building has housed a telephone warehouse, an auto parts company, and a flea market.

Jason Barret named his distillery Black Button to honor his family’s history of manufacturing buttons that “have closed suits worn by presidents, popes, kings, and businessmen the world over.” Colorblind, Jason grew up thinking every button was black. Black Button was Rochester’s first urban distillery since prohibition, and Rohrbach’s is deemed Rochester’s original craft brewery.

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As the mid 20th century fades into the past, we YUPs can now embrace its architectural fruits. Swiftwater and ROC Brewing Company are modern in their decor and flavor. Located in a former car repair garage across from the Genesee River, Swiftwater stays true to theme with kayaks hanging on the walls. It’s a partcularly gratifying place to drink a beer after a subzero heart-bombing event.

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At ROC Brewing, whether playing shuffleboard or Wednesday night trivia, you can enjoy unique brews like the jalapeno-tinted saison “Sassypants” or my favorite, the citrusy “WHOOPASS” imperial/double IPA. And you can usually catch a pretty fantastic sunset over the downtown skyline, with our lovely Inner Loop project in the foreground (a sunken highway/moat around downtown that’s currently being filled in to re-create a normal urban street…yay for undoing urban renewal!).

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We are looking forward to the development of Split Batch Brewing, a combination coffee shop, craft brewery in one of downtown Rochester’s newest repurposed buildings, The Hive @ 155. Split Batch won the inaugural Retailent Rochester competition last year, offering free rent for a year and start-up assistance. Isn’t it the best when our two favorite activities of historic preservation and drinking local brews can go hand-in-hand?

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YUP 2016: Report from the Flower City

YUP 2016: Report from the Flower City

By Caitlin Meives and Laura Smith, YUP co-founders

Now in our third year, the Young Urban Preservationists (or YUPs!) continue to celebrate all things Rochester, NY. We started off 2016 with a subzero heart bombing event for the former B’nai Israel synagogue. Braving the coldest day of the year with a group of YUPs and school-aged kids from the surrounding neighborhood, we showed some love to this almost 90-year-old building that was abandoned in 2004.

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Before creating the heart bombs, one of our YUPs (who also happens to be a city school teacher) taught the kids about preservation, what’s cool about these vacant old buildings, and what can be done to re-purpose them so that they benefit their neighborhood. It was really touching to see the kids almost instantly grasp these concepts and jump onto our bandwagon.

We also heart bombed a vacant and deteriorating former brewery:

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Since February, we’ve been hard at work expanding The Landmark Society of Western New York’s (our parent organization) WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ coaster project. WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ is a project that connects people to places. QR codes on the coasters direct bar patrons to a website that provides before/after photos and a few factoids about the building. As I like to say: It’s not a history lesson; it’s a random amalgamation of titillating tidbits; a series of snippets; a window onto the power of change.

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We’re reaching out to our favorite local bars and restaurants in Rochester to become a part of this network but ultimately we want to expand throughout western New York (and beyond! Interested in joining our network? Contact Caitlin for more information). On May 21st, we’ll be celebrating the recent expansion of our coaster sites with a WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ bar crawl in the historic South Wedge Neighborhood.

We also continue to build on some recurring events we’ve established over the past few years. In May, we’re holding the next installment of our Old House Hacks, a series of one-off classes on restoring, preserving, and maintaining historic homes. In July, we’ll host our third annual Bikes, Beers & Buildings, a biking scavenger hunt that highlights some hidden gems of our fair city. We’re also working on a number of behind-the-scenes tours and pop-up events to highlight preservation projects and historic buildings that still need some love and attention.

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Find out more about the YUPs and sign up for our enewsletter here.

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