New cocktail shop to open in North Buffalo
When Vera opened its doors a few years ago, there was no way to know that it would not only pioneer Buffalo’s craft cocktail scene, but also serve as an incubator of sorts.
Jon Karel’s move to Rochester’s Revelry last spring was the first sign of such, as it took no time for him to woo the Flour City with his drink slinging ways. Other Vera formers have gone on to shake their shakers in other local watering holes, improving cocktail programs from downtown to the ‘burbs. A few even followed Karel to Rochester, acting as ambassadors of Buffalo’s passionate drinking culture and high tolerance to alcohol. Karel’s departure did more than spread the love eastward, however, because it also left a space to be filled, and Kerry Quaile, a former barista who had worked her way up to the frontline at Buffalo's busiest cocktail bar, stepped to the plate, lending a distinctly even-handed flair to Vera’s offerings. (We profiled her in January 2014 issue of Spree.) Now that Karel is returning to run the soon-to-open Blood & Sand, we approach another moment where Buffalo’s modern drinking tale takes a turn.
Where is this going, you may ask. Well, now that I've caught you up, I can tell you that it's leading us to the point where Karel, Quaile, and Zack Mikida (one of Karel’s Buffalo-to-Rochester acolytes) determine that Buffalo needs a small business that caters to craft bartenders and the many home cocktail aficionados that the craft trend has created.
Welcome to Queen City Shaken & Stirred. Opening on Hertel Avenue sometime in July, the specialty shop will offer vintage glassware, a variety of tools and books used by professional bartenders, an array of bitters, and classes, among other things.
“Buffalo really needs this,” says Quaile, the shop’s operating partner. “There are so many new places [opening], and they don’t have an easily accessible place to buy and test equipment that is staffed with people who really know what they are talking about. We will sell things we enjoy using, tools that are well made, really functional, and beautiful. We are working to bring in as much locally made stuff as we can, but we’ve all experienced the disappointment of buying something online and when it arrives it’s just not what you wanted. So this is our answer to that.”
In order to cater to bartenders, Queen City Stirred and Shaken will be open on the weekends and into the early evening, in addition to traditional business hours. Delivery will also be an option. Hobbyists will benefit from educated and experienced staffers, and from the classes that will be available. Additionally, out-of-town bartenders will come in and share techniques and other cocktail-specific knowledge before taking a guest shift at a local bar, a trend we see more and more of these days.
“We’ve done our research, and we are trying to make it possible for people who have home bars to make drinks that come as close to the pros as possible. You can be the person who makes a really bad ass punch for your holiday shindig or summer patio bash. We’re looking forward to showing people all the tricks,” says Quaile.
Look for Queen City Shaken and Stirred to open sometime in July. It will be located at 1455 Hertel Avenue. (Image courtesy of Google Maps.)
Christa Glennie Seychew is Spree's senior editor.