The second oldest bar in Buffalo is popular among the locals and even some from beyond the grave.
The History: The Swannie House has been a staple in the local Buffalo watering hole scene for over 100 years now. The building dates to 1892 and was owned by the Swanerski Family, however, tensions between the Irish and Polish in the First Ward at this time, caused the family to change their name to Swannie. It has always been a tavern of some sort with the upper floors acting as a boarding house for sailors over the years. In 1983, the Swannie House was saved from the wrecking ball by Tim Wiles and over the last few years with the growth of downtown Buffalo, the Swannie House has seen a rebirth.
The Haunting: The Swannie House is one of the lesser known haunted locations in Western New York, but with it being the second oldest bar in Buffalo, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has a ghost story or two. The current owner is fairly confident that the ghost of Bob Nowak (affectionately known as Swannie House Bob) haunts his bar and is even looking out for its success. According to the stories, Bob was a bit of a partier–he liked to drink and smoke–and after his shift at the Swannie House, he sadly died in a car accident. Shortly after Tim Wiles purchased the building, Bob’s mother gave him a photo of the young man. While the photo hung at the end of the bar, spooky things were happening throughout the bar… so much so, that Tim’s ex-wife took down the photo and hid it. One employee of the bar was convinced he saw an intruder down in the basement, and when he described the stranger, Tim realized he had seen Bob. Eventually, Tim found the photo and hung it back up at the end of the bar and since then the Swannie House has experienced nothing but success.
Swannie House isn’t particularly spooky, nor do they advertise the fact that they’re supposedly haunted. However, Tim Wiles is a master storyteller and was full of tales of murder and ghosts (seriously, if you see him sitting in the corner by the window, ask him to share some stories). The claims of a full-bodied apparition cannot be ignored, especially when he appears to be the young Bob Nowak in the photo above the bar. Tim Wiles is convinced that there is something supernatural at work at the Swannie House that chose him to be the owner and to keep it moving forward into the 21st Century.
The Swannie House is the sort of place you visit to get an idea of what traditional Buffalo comfort food is. Chili, beef on weck, chicken wings, stuffed banana peppers… so many things that define Buffalo cuisine as well as burgers, wraps, cold beer, and Buffalo’s official best fish fry. Prices are not too bad with the most expensive thing being $19.95 for a double order of BBQ wings. They offer a twist on one of my favorite dishes–stuffed banana peppers–where they beer batter them and deep fry them. The chicken wings are some of the best I’ve had (and coming from Buffalo that means something), being crispy and drizzled in “Swannie Sauce” (aka: hot sauce). My only warning is that it is a cash-only establishment, so come prepared or be ready to pay the ATM fee.
Type of Experience: Restaurant and Bar
Dining Style: Casual
Price Range: $3.25-19.95
Address: 170 Ohio St, Buffalo, NY 14203
Phone Number: (716) 847-2898
Hours of Operation:
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