Center City: the Best Places to Check Out Around the Liberty Pole

Landmark Society |  Website

Landmark Society | Website

Rochester's Downtown scene is in a period of rebirth. With new developments (Tower280), renovations (Legacy Tower, The Metropolitan, & The Sibley Building), and existing residential areas (The Temple Building Lofts), you can't deny it's changing - and growing - for the better.

With the Liberty Pole being an iconic landmark of our city, and at what some would argue to be our city's true center, we want you to know what is available. Whether you are a visitor at one of our city's best hotels (Radisson, the Hyatt, and the Hilton Garden Inn), you are a long-time church goer at Grace Road Church located in the Temple Building, a student at the Eastman School of Music, or if you are a newly minted resident in one of the cool lofts, here are the best places to check out when you are around the Pole.

Abilene Bar & Lounge

Reconnect Rochester |  Website

Reconnect Rochester | Website

Map It: 153 Liberty Pole Way

A quaint little neighborhood bar/live music venue serving up great drinks from a friendly staff. On warmer days enjoy the patio and definitely check it out during Jazz Fest!

Connect with Abilene: website, facebook, twitter

Bar Bantam

Bar-Bantam.jpg

Map It: 1 South Clinton Ave

Located on the first floor of The Metropolitan, Bar Bantam is open for Breakfast and Lunch (Monday-Friday) as well as Dinner and Drinks (Wednesday-Saturday). Menus change seasonally and you’ll find plenty of gluten-free and vegan options.

Connect with Bar Bantam: website, facebook, instagram

Branca Midtown

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Map It: 280 E. Broad Street

This new restaurant located at Tower280 not only offers authentic Italian Cuisine, but a full Italian Coffee Bar. Pop in for lunch, dinner, cocktails, or even just an espresso.

Connect with Branca: website, facebook, instagram

Center City Terrace + Lounge

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Map It: 125 E. Main Street

If you're looking for your new favorite summer night spot, check out the Center City Terrace + Lounge on the 4th floor of the Hyatt Regency Rochester. Grab a drink, order off their Pub Plates menu and enjoy a beautiful and unique space in downtown Rochester.

Connect with CCT+L: website, facebook, instagram

Drifters L.B.

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Map It: 155 E. Main Street

Steps inside the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown you'll find Drifters Lounge & Bar. Yes, it might be a restaurant in a hotel, but that doesn't matter. For a peek inside check out our post from September, Drifters LB: not your Average Hotel Kitchen.

Connect with Drifters: website, facebook, instagram, twitter

Java's Cafe

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Map It: 16 Gibbs St.

A long time Rochester favorite, this cafe serves up your favorite lattes and drinks but also great sandwiches, baked goods, granola and more. It's always busy, it's always good.

And while you're at it, check out the calendar for the Eastman School of Music - you never know what free concert might be happening just next door. Or in the warmer weather pop over to Yogen Fruz just across the street.

Connect with Java's: website, facebook, instagram

RIT City Art Space

RIT-City-Space.jpg

Map It: 280 E. Main Street

New to the City Center neighborhood is the RIT City Art Space that opened on the ground floor of Sibley Square. The gallery is open Thursday-Sunday from 1-5pm and will feature new exhibitions monthly!

Connect with RIT City Art Space: website, facebook, instagram, twitter

Stromboli's Restaurant

Stromboli's |  Facebook

Stromboli's | Facebook

Map It: 130 East Ave

From their Breakfast Stromboli, to pizza, salad, pasta and more, Stromboli's on East Ave has so many options you won't be able to decide, they even have vegan options.

Connect with Stromboli's: website, facebook

Unter Biergarten

Map It: 120 East Ave

In the former home of Victoire, you'll now find Unter Biergarten. Having just opened in February and serving up their Bavarican Cuisine (that is Bavarian/New American), Unter Biergarten has already become a Rochester favorite. Check them out for lunch or dinner and don't miss their selection of Wurst from Swan Market, the Loaded Bavarian Tots, and well, everything else on the menu.

Connect with Unter Biergarten: website, facebook, instagram


Other Areas to Explore

Rochester Parks |  Website

Rochester Parks | Website

St. Joseph's Park

Just North West of the Pole you'll stumble upon some Rochester History at St. Joseph's Park. This former Catholic Church almost burnt down entirely in 1974 and thankfully the Landmark Society along with the City of Rochester and some other groups and organizations worked hard to restore and preserve what remains. This is perfect for a picnic or an afternoon of exploring.

Map It: Pleasant St & N. Clinton

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Grove Place Neighborhood

Tucked behind the YMCA on E. Main and Press Coffee you'll find Grove Place. If you're looking to "step out" of the city and wander, this is the perfect place. This neighborhood is said to be "the oldest continually occupied residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester" and we think you'll love it's charm, art, and architecture.

P.S. all of the places listed are around a quarter mile or less from the Liberty Pole - that is definitely walking distance!

Post was originally written in 2017 and has been updated since!


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ROC City Guide: Best Places to Get a Coffee

image courtesy: pexels

image courtesy: pexels

As much as Rochester is a beer town, we're also a caffeinated city. Everybody needs to know where to get their coffee. This is a FACT. 

It's probably the reason we can go out late and enjoy a great beer or two, and be up and at 'em the next morning. Luckily, we have plenty of options. 

Here are the Best Places to Get a Coffee in this city. 

1872 Cafe

Mayor's Heights

the rochesteriat

the rochesteriat

431 W. Main Street
Rochester, NY 14608

Website

 


Boulder Coffee

South Wedge & Public Market

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

100 Alexander Street
Rochester, NY 14620

Website

 


Cafe Sasso

Park Ave

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

739 Park Ave
Rochester, NY 14607

Facebook

 

 

 


Fifth Frame Brewing

St. Paul Quarter

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

155 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14604

Website


Fuego Coffee Roasters

Center City & Public Market

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

1 Woodbury Blvd
Rochester, NY 14607

280 Union St. N (Public Market)
Rochester, NY 14609

Website

 


Glen Edith Coffee Roasters

Park Ave & NOTA

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

23 Somerton Street
Rochester, NY 14607

44 Elton Street
Rochester, NY 14607

Website

 


Java's Cafe

Eastman Theatre + multiple locations

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Downtown Location:
16 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY 14604

Website

 


Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

NOTA

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

1344 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607

Website

 

 


New City Cafe

Beechwood

New City Cafe

New City Cafe

441 Parsells Ave
Rochester, NY 14609

Facebook


Spot Coffee

East End + multiple locations

200 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604

Website

 

 


Starry Nites Cafe

NOTA & Center City

NOTA
696 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607

Website


Soul Coffee & Jazz

NOTA/Village Gate

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

274 N. Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14607

Facebook

 

 

 


Ugly Duck

Center City

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

89 Charlotte Street
Rochester, NY 14607

Website
Video


Village Bakery & Cafe

Culver Armory + multiple locations

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

145 Culver Road
Rochester, NY 14620

Website

 

 

 


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#7 - In a Food Truck

For those new to this monthly installment, Conversation with A Stranger  is a regular series from local photographer Stephen S. Reardon. This quick post captures a local stranger and only gives a tiny bit of background – but not much else. We’ll let the photo speak for itself. Have you met any strangers lately?

Conversation With A Stranger #7

Pictured: Frances Katsampes - AKA - Frankie, Operator/Mgr., Barista, coffee maker, truck driver, social media promoter, secretary, events booking and phonetographer!
Location: Java's Coffee Truck
Food Truck Mural Artists: Sarah Rutherford & Mr. Prvrt

Notice the city around you:
"I was walking around the Memorial Art Gallery grounds photographing the artist setting-up tents for this year's Clothesline Festival. I started thinking about coffee and soon after on the horizon I saw her. Not Frankie, but Java's Coffee Truck! I met Frankie while I was circling my pray and she was good enough to let me have some cold brew while they were still setting-up. Oh, and she let me take her portrait!" – S. Reardon.

See previous Conversations with a Stranger:
#6 - Motorcycle Makers
#5 - In a Museum
#4 - On a '57 Bus
#3 - No Longer a Stranger
#2 - An Artist at the Market
#1 - A Luthier on East

See more Strangers: here


Stephen Reardon, a photographer for over twenty years, has gained much of his professional experience living in Denver & NYC, but these days can be found in Rochester happily creating iconic portraits for the commercial & editorial industry. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

More Tips to Enjoy the Clothesline Festival

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Inspired by our friend Mary Chao's recent D&C post about 5 Insider Tips for the Clothesline Festival, we decided to keep the love pointed at the MAG this weekend for its annual, biggest fundraiser.

Being in its 59th year running, you can be sure that they know how to throw a good party. Here's how you can take advantage of it yourself this weekend.

Enjoy the Gallery on the CHEAP

This is a fundraiser, and it should come at no surprise that there's going to be a cost to help support the Memorial Art Gallery and all of its programs. But only $5 - for the entire day - and this includes Gallery admission. Considering that regular admission for an adult is $14, that's quite the bargain.

Rain or Shine - Hot or Cold - It's Happening

Yes it rains. And some years it can be cold in mid September, especially if it rains. Just be prepared. If this is the case (weekend forecast), you might want to know that the Java's truck and the Pour Coffee booth will be at either side of the Gallery grounds just waiting to keep you warm with their delicious, caffeinated (or decaf!) brews.

Parking - Walk to the MAG or take a FREE Shuttle

Parking is always on people's minds. "Where do I park? How far will it be? Is it free?" You can either park in the Gleason Works parking lots for free, with a free shuttle bus ride to the MAG, you can park for a fee at the East End Garage, or you can park on a side street near the MAG and walk - a few steps won't hurt you. Be mindful of which side of the road to park on though as alternate side parking rules are in effect every day.

Take time to Enjoy the Grounds

Sure there will be bargains, workshops, entertainment, food, drink, and of course, over 400 artists and their artworks on display. Not to mention the permanent collection of over 12,000 pieces of art inside the gallery.

But make sure to take time to get to know the MAG grounds, more specifically the 14-acre campus that is called Centennial Sculpture Park. Four local and internationally recognized artists were commissioned to put their stamp on this park that now serves as an anchor to the Neighborhood of the Arts.

More Information:
Website
5 Insider Tips for the Clothesline Festival


The Clothesline Festival has become an institution in and of itself in our city. Get outdoors while you can still and enjoy the fall-like weather this weekend. Check out more @theRochesteriat or Facebook.

Our Dreams For These 6 Spaces...

WaterFire1.jpg

the Rochesteriat Here's a FUN exercise we like to do quite often: City DREAMING.

When all this snow melts, and it IS currently melting away, we have dreams of uncovering a brand new Rochester - a city that is lively, bright, and bursting with energy. And while the warmer weather will certainly bring a more energized feel to all of us, without question, here we are talking about uncovering changes in the physical landscape of the city.

Here are 6 ideas that we're dreaming about for our city, areas that could use a little TLC and creative expression. And keep in mind that while we liken them to other areas in our country that are similar, we know that our city - the good 'ol people of Rochester - has the talent, ability, and creativity to do our own special thing with them. Projects and ideas that are unique and different - not just copycat renditions of the projects that have already been done. So take these "dreams" with a grain of salt, and let us know what you think.

1. Roundabout near MLK Jr. Park

the Rochesteriat

Have you driven around the new roundabout near the MLK Jr. Memorial Park lately? It's seems a little bit unfinished and we're hoping that the city has more plans for it. Seating, trees, shrubbery - that's what we'd like to see with this space. Make it a sort of small public park. Could it be possible to add fountains that blast shots of water around the outer ring?

What about this?...

the Rochesteriat

…this is part of the Dutch Kills Green park in Queens Plaza, New York City. With its mixture of foliage and shards of concrete, this former parking lot space that you've seen in Mafia movies portraying the 70's and 80's is now an inviting urban oasis drowning out all the noise of the traffic in the city. And we can bet that no crazy driver will be taking a short cut anytime soon or doing a "lawn job".

2. Gibbs Street near Java's

the Rochesteriat

What if, during the long summer days, on-street parking was actually closed off on Gibbs Street from East Ave to Main Steet? When most of us want to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather while it's here, at peak times, the amount of Java's outdoor seating fails us. To have an entire section of outdoor seating in the middle of road would provide a spacious getaway, even a place where artists both fine art and musicians alike, could come and intermingle with the general public.

Could Gibbs Street become something that looks like this during the summer?...

Open City Projects

Minus the glitz and glamour of the Times Square billboards and millions of people, we think Gibbs Street would be a hub of creativity and cultural activity during the beautiful summer months. And the traffic or parking? New York City has proven that the automobile traffic will simply find another way.

We don't even have to think too far outside the box for this one, since the annual Jazz Fest closes off this section in June and we get to preview what this would look like.

the Rochesteriat

3. Xerox Tower's In-Ground Space

the Rochesteriat

For decades, the in-ground space at the Xerox Tower in downtown has been under private authority. Used by Xerox employees as a lunch area during beautiful weather, this space has so much more potential, and we're sure it was meant for more when the company originally built it for their headquarters in the late 60's. Now that Buckingham Properties has purchased the building in conjunction with neighboring assets (Bausch & Lomb Building, The Tower at Midtown), would it be feasible to open the area up to the public?

Could the space look something like this?...

NewYork.com

Ok, it may not be as popular as Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink, but every time I walk by this area I can't help but think how amazing it could be. And why would we need it as another ice skating rink? We already have the MLK Jr. Memorial Ice Skating Rink a block away. But what it could be is an area of indoor/outdoor restaurants, entertainment space, outdoor movie space, or even just a cool urban park/greenspace with the largest skyscrapers hanging overhead.

4. The Genesee River between the Court Street Bridge and Broad Street Aqueduct 

the Rochesteriat

Those of us who have spent anytime at all in this city know that our River is one asset that is sorely underutilized. Is it a part of our daily experience here? At this point, I doubt it. Is there something that can be done with the Genesee within Center City?

Could it possibly be an attraction like this?...

WaterFire.org

This is Providence, Rhode Island's answer to invigorating the experience between their city, residents, and visitors alike. "WaterFire Providence® is an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy."

5. High Falls Park

the Rochesteriat

And speaking of the Genesee, are there any other opportunities to develop this Riverfront to its fullest here in Rochester? Of course there are, and one is in the High Falls neighborhood. With the backdrop of not only the beautiful city skyline but also a gorgeous 96-foot tall waterfall, we're thinking that the area of land at the base of the falls...

...could look something like this...

Meg, Paper, Scissors

…of course that would mean convincing RG&E to give up control of their land at the base of the Falls. We did say we're dreaming, right? But hold on, GardenAerial may be on the right track with its 3 Phase Project that will transform the High Falls area into a word-class retreat of urban trailways, parks, and even public access to the river. Kudos to the Greentopia Crew - if you like this idea, find out more about them and their visions for our city next week during the Greentopia Film Fest.

6. The Broad Street Aqueduct

the Rochesteriat

Ahhhhhh…one of our personal favorites here at the Rochesteriat. Some of us have been lucky enough to tour this popular space given at open public tours in the fall during River Romance Weekend. Others, have simply taken tours without any permission at all and you can even take a virtual tour of the site, compliments of Google Maps. Either way, this former engineering marvel once carried the Erie Canal over the Genesee River, and more recently until 1956 served as a small portion of Rochester's Subway.

Does it have the potential to look like this?...

PJD's Blog

This is a part of Montreal's Underground City, with its interconnected tunnels above and below ground of shops, walkways, offices, banks, transit stations, and much more. Toronto has an amazing underground urban network as well with its PATH, and it makes sense - these northern cities keep activity going year-round by sheltering the public from the harsh elements.

While this idea has been kicked around for many years here in Rochester, currently there is another group called the Broad Street Underground that has revived talks of doing something, anything, with the Aqueduct space. The RBJ recently ran an article on the progress of BSU, and if you're interested in lending some expertise to the team, write in to us, we'd be happy to guide you to the proper BSU contacts.


Jason2Jason is co-Founder and Editor of the Rochesteriat. All of these areas represent an opportunity to make our city better here in Rochester. Get involved and help us! Check out more @JaySchwingle or Facebook