Lafayette Tap Room – JW Jones
“Stop it, you’re giving me the blues.” I don’t remember the story that goes with that Dick Shawn punch line but I do know even if you’re not a devotee of the blues (which I am not) visiting the Lafayette Tap Room in Buffalo, New York is a fun way to wind up a Saturday night.
I actually found the Lafayette Tap Room because I was looking for sweet potato pie. Mmmm, pie. When it turned out to have not just pie but blues (which my Buffalo guide likes) and was open late enough to fit well into our schedule, we decided to take a look. When 11 p.m. Saturday night rolled around we almost blew it off. We were tired, one of us had worn inappropriate shoes and – since the other of us had insisted on a long walk from the delightful and interesting Allen Street to the almost equally delightful and interesting Elmwood – blisters had ensued. Despite the blisters we decided to stop by, stay for a song or so and return to the hotel. Two hours and more later as the band packed up their instruments, we were leaving.
Lafayette Tap Room
391 Washington Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
Since one of us was walking impaired we took a cab. From the address and our excursions around the city earlier in the day, there was a little concern about the neighborhood; there needn’t have been. The Tap Room is located next to the Lafayette Hotel. The hotel is a residential hotel which for many brings to mind all sorts of seedy characters but a quick inspection proved it to be both well maintained and architecturally interesting. I thought I had pictures of its interior murals but alas, such appears not to be the case.
The Lafayette Tap Room is anything but seedy. When we arrived several motorcycles were parked out front – true to its “Blues, Bikes & BBQ” motto. JW Jones – the name of the lead guitarist and vocalist but apparently also used to refer to the entirety of whomever is playing with him – was already well into a very loud set when we made our entrance. The inventory of sweet potato pie had already run out (probably means it was pretty good pie) so I settled for a slice of southern pecan which was good except for the fact that I don’t eat pecans. Love that sweet goo underneath though.
Our fifteen minutes and we’re out of here game plan soon evaporated in the face of the friendly venue and the great music. The crowd was far too sparse for the quality of the music being played. I don’t know if it hadn’t been advertised well enough or if there was something else going on in Buffalo that night. (Buffalo – in addition to being a great place for Frank Lloyd Wright and other architecture – has a lively music, bar and restaurant scene.) Lack of an audience didn’t diminish the energy of the musicians. They gave it their all through two, long lively sets. We purchased a CD and I highly recommend both the music and the venue, particularly for those like me who are kind of “blues-frightened”. I enjoyed every minute of the evening and would go out of my way to see JWJ again and when (not if) I’m in downtown Buffalo again late some weekend night I’ll be back at the Tap Room in search of sweet potato pie. Mmmmm, pie.