Steampunk Saloon, the West Sixth bar inspired by the 1880s and punk rock, has closed. Rising from its steam-powered ashes is Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden, which promises beers and games.
Steampunk Saloon took over the huge space on West 6th Street, which was formerly the original Opal Divine’s, in 2015. According to co-owner Clay Woody, he and the rest of the group thought it was an "interesting name that not too many people know about or understand,” and that "it was a good fit for the design," as he told Eater.
The first part turned out to be untrue. Steampunk’s opening process was made challenging after the internet got wind of the bar’s theme and proceeded to mercilessly troll its Facebook page. Despite the shaky start, the bar had a solid food truck program, even attracting East Side King’s Thai Kun, albeit for only a few months.
Per Woody, the negative feedback from steampunk purists (who thought, for example, the bar shouldn’t have televisions for the sake of authenticity) eventually spurred a strategic rebrand. The bar group, which is also behind the nearby The Ranch and Micheladas Cafe Y Cantina on Second Street, decided on the nondescript beer garden name after researching the original building. Woody notes it was “a bittersweet decision.”
The new name comes from Reverend Buford Jackson Smith, who bought the property in 1851 and built three of the limestone walls that still make up the building. The bar touts 15 massive televisions (primed for watching sports), a large selection of bar games (including Mario Kart and skee-ball), frozen daiquiris, and a diverse beer selection.
Buford’s is still undergoing some changes, like putting the finishing touches on a roof for the backyard in hopes to incorporate live music shows in the future.