30 years on, Buffalo pub continues its tradition as Election Night afterparty

Nov 3, 2015

After all the votes are counted, winners are declared and speeches are delivered, many who spent the past few weeks working the campaign trail - as well as many who covered them - will head out for a post-election nightcap. While several local establishments will enjoy business, one downtown pub in particular has enjoyed a role as a semi-official stop for many.

For Michael Driscoll, owner of Founding Fathers Pub on Edward Street, the custom began in 1985 when, as he explained, employees of three local television stations met there for a post-election party. The politicians, he added, didn't come right away. But over the years, many have turned the place into one where those who were rivals just hours before can not only stay under the same roof but even enjoy it together.

"Even in defeat, I've seen the head of one party go over and shake hands with the head of the other party, buy him a drink, and put their arm around... I've actually seen some hugging," said Driscoll. "Everybody stops and looks and say 'are they going to fight?'. No, they're hugging! They've let off all their steam. For the last few months, everybody's worked very, very hard. Let's have a drink and relax, win or lose."

Politics frequently provide some ugly moments, but sharing Driscoll's sentiment about having a politically neutral place to gather - and Driscoll makes clear that the pub remains neutral - was former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who saw his share of tough races over the years.

"It's nice, given the polarization of politics at the national level, the local and state level, that there is a place to go where everybody gets along, everybody enjoys a beverage and a conversation about politics without slinging mud."