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It’s no secret that the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party nights of the year — especially here in Buffalo.

An abundance of bars in walkable areas, college students home from school reuniting with friends, bars open until 4 a.m. and a few days off from work creates a perfect storm, making Thanksgiving Eve one of the most popular nights to hit the town and go bar-hopping.

Around Buffalo, there’s an abundance of live music, great food and parties to enjoy before you wake up and do the Turkey Trot or spend the day cooking on Thursday.

How Thanksgiving Eve Became “Blackout Wednesday”

While Buffalo’s festivities are notable, Thanksgiving Eve, sometimes referred to as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving,” is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year throughout the country.

According to the Star Tribune, “Drinksgiving” has likely been around for decades, but it didn’t get much recognition until around 2007, when the term was coined. In 2016 the “holiday” was immortalized when a movie, “Drinksgiving,” was created in its honor.

It’s also one of the biggest days for local restaurants and bars to make money, with many offering specials to entice patrons to bring groups into their establishments. According to Womply, a small business consulting firm, the day accounted for 167 percent of normal daily revenue in local restaurants and bars last year.

coles buffalo crowd
With so many people home for the holidays, the night before Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to reunite with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. [Image: Coles Facebook]
One of the main reasons going out the night before Thanksgiving is so common is that it gives locals (especially younger people) the opportunity to reconnect with friends they may not have seen since high school. College students are home from break, and graduates who have moved away from Buffalo are home to spend time with family, so Thanksgiving Eve serves as a reunion of sorts — with local bars playing host.

Most people also don’t have to work Thursday or Friday, and this may be the longest vacation they’ve had all year, which helps culminate in a night of revelry on Wednesday that even surpasses New Year’s Eve.

Where To Go Out In Buffalo

If you’re looking for a good time on Thanksgiving Eve, you’ll find the biggest and rowdiest crowds in Buffalo’s eclectic neighborhoods. This is where you can find the largest congregation of bars within walking distance of each other.

For those looking for a club scene, Chippewa is the best spot, boasting an array of nightclubs, including Bottoms Up, VENU and 67 West.

bottoms up club buffalo
You can always count on a good time and a rowdy, large crowd at Bottoms Up on Chippewa. [Image: Bottoms Up Facebook]
If you’re looking for something a little more subdued, check out the busy taverns on Allen Street. Local favorites include Brick Bar, Allen Street Hardware and The Old Pink.

Another more laid back option is Hertel Ave. in North Buffalo. There are a variety of bars to enjoy, from high-end restaurants to cozy dive bars. Our favorites include Mès Que, SidebarThe Little Club, Sterling Tavern and The Burning Buffalo.

And don’t forget to hit Elmwood Ave. before you head home for the night. Popular Thanksgiving Eve meetup spots include Cole’s, McGarret’s, Thin Man Brewery and Mr. Goodbar. There are also plenty of late-night greasy food options to satisfy all of your cravings, including Jim’s Steak Out, Elmwood Tacos & Subs and Louie’s Texas Red Hots. We’d also recommend stopping by Lloyd for a taco and a margarita.

Want to spend the night watching live music? The Buffalo News put together a great list of free and low-cost concerts happening around Buffalo on Wednesday night. Live bands will perform at McGarret’s, Mr. Goodbar, 42 North Brewing Company and Town Ballroom, among other venues.

lazlo hollyfeld musician
There are a ton of places to watch live music in Buffalo on Thanksgiving Eve. Lazlo Hollyfeld, above, will perform live at McGarret’s on Elmwood Ave. [Image: Lazlo Hollyfeld]
Don’t love partying or large crowds? As they’ve done in past years, the Buffalo Sabres play a home game on Wednesday night, facing the Calgary Flames. A hockey game is always a fun way to reconnect with friends home for the holidays, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to have a low key night.

Stay Safe On Thanksgiving Eve

A study by The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety found that alcohol and drug DUI crashes are more than 25 percent higher during Thanksgiving week compared to the rest of the year.

And with all of the parties happening on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve tends to be the worst night of all for drunk or impaired driving. Local police will be on high alert Wednesday night to keep Buffalo streets safe.

To help reduce impaired driving in Western New York this Thanksgiving Eve, Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have teamed up to offer free Uber rides on Wednesday night.

Uber is offering a promo code that’s good for a free ride up to $10 starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday night and ending 3 a.m. Thursday morning. Riders can enter the promo code “SAFERIDENY19” into the Uber app by tapping “Payment” and then “Add Promo” to receive this free ride. It can be used for rides throughout New York, with the exception of New York City.

Between Uber, Lyft and the various local taxi companies, there’s no excuse not to get a safe ride home on Wednesday night. Drink responsibly and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.

Celebrating Thanksgiving Eve in Buffalo

We’re lucky to have so many options for Thanksgiving Eve festivities here in Buffalo and Western New York.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving Eve tradition? Which local bars will you be visiting? Let us know in the comments below.

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