East End

InfoInfo TalkTalk

P1000674.JPGView of Lower East End with the Sagamore luxury condos. SpotView.JPGCommercial and residential spaces in the Lower East End.

The East End is a neighborhood in downtown Rochester, known for restaurants, nightlife and theatres.
Begins right downtown at Main Street & travels along East Avenue
extends north to East Main Street
south to Broad Street
east to Alexander Street

Introducing the East End.png

    1. Introduction
    2. Divisions
    3. Establishments
      1. Barbershops and Salons
      2. Bars and Clubs
      3. Culture
      4. Festivals
      5. Hotels
      6. Restaurants
      7. Retail
      8. Services
      9. Other
      10. Nearby
    4. More Information


Rochester's East End was created in 1990 when the City of Rochester hired JP Associates, a local consulting firm led by Jane Plitt, to coordinate activities between restaurants, retailers and nightclubs in downtown Rochester. The project was called The Downtown Small Business Initiative and the goal was to create activations to promote the small businesses located downtown. Plitt assigned one of her team members, Robert Philips, to supervise the project.

A vigorous group of business owners was surrounding the landmark Eastman Theatre, and then included businesses such as restaurant/nightclub Jazzberry's, The Little Theatre, The Rochester Club Restaurant, The Brasserie (in the Eastman Place building), Richmond's, Java Joe's (now Java's), Arena's, Audet's and jeweler Laufer & Tweet. Philips (and Karol Bock, representing the City of Rochester) coordinated the businesses to vote on a name for the neighborhood, and they voted for the name the East End. The East End Business Association was born.

This naming was documented in the October 10, 1990 edition of the Rochester Times-Union. Jazzberry's owner Susan Plunkett had already booked jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie for an upcoming series of concerts, and she agreed to call his gigs the "East End Birthday Concert".

By Summer 1991, the first "East End Nightlife Festival" was launched, bringing live music, street food and entertainment to the area. Philips coordinated the effort between the City and the small businesses. The City closed the streets for a night, and Rochester came out to party. In an innovative twist, each restaurant and bar arranged their own entertainment and served their food on the street, rather than outsourcing to third parties (food trucks would join the event in later years). The "East End Festival" became a hit, and would run successfully for 25 years, drawing thousands into the streets several weekends each summer (the poster from 1994 is shown below).
Poster 1994.jpg

Subsequently, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s an entertainment scene exploded in the neighborhood, with a wide variety of dining cuisines and late-night music and entertainment venues pumping new life into the architecturally stunning buildings. Drawn to the increasingly 24/7 scene, new residents poured into the neighborhood, at first renting units in newly built and renovated buildings and, more recently, purchasing homes in "The Sagamore on East" and the adjacent, long-established Grove Place neighborhood. [[(Footnote [WWW]http://www.rochesterdowntown.com/wp_rddc/maps/east-endupper-east-end/RochesterDowntown.com)]

During the years, many new businesses arrived and played a significant role in the East End's growth. These included Milestones, The Downtown Athletic Club, Temple Bar & Grille, Spot Coffee, Tavern 58 at Gibbs, The Rochester Contemporary Art Center, The Sagamore on East and many others. The final "East End Festival" was in 2015, and then in 2016, an "East End City Celebration" was held.

A distinct sub-district of the East End is East And Alex, a downtown neighborhood so named because it is centered on East Avenue between Alexander and Main Street. The City recognized this in 2019. It is characterized by vibrant restaurants, bars, and sophisticated cultural attractions. East And Alex contains numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as art exhibits and musical performances of all sorts. As you can imagine, finding a parking spot in the area can be difficult on weekends.

Other popular neighborhoods within walking distance include Grove Place, Park Avenue, the Alexander Neighborhood, the Neighborhood of the Arts, and Monroe Village. The South Wedge is a very short bike ride. East of Alexander Street is, of course, the East Avenue Historic District, famous for its stately mansions.


East Main.JPGEast Main Street

The Inner Loop once divided the neighborhood into two sub-sections with their own distinct flavors. East of the old Loop is East And Alex, which contains bars, restaurants, and clubs. It overlaps with the Alexander Neighborhood, which links it to Monroe Village, another hot spot for bars and restaurants. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights find this area noisy and packed to overflowing. The top floors of its buildings are professional offices during weekdays. The Upper East End is home to such popular bars as Murphy's Law Irish Pub and The Old Toad.

The Lower East End, west of the old Loop, is more concentrated on culture and sit-down cafes and restaurants. It boasts many high-end apartments, townhouses, and condos, ranging from lofts to vintage (One Eleven on East) to new construction such as the Sagamore on East complex. The Eastman School of Music, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and Little Theatre are located here as well, along with the Eastman Historic District.


Barbershops and Salons

Bars and Clubs

P1000678.JPGView of the Upper East End; very quiet on a Sunday afternoon.

Alexander.JPGAlexander Street, near the intersection with East Avenue.









More Information


Note: You must be logged in to add comments

2015-03-08 21:33:50   The "Upper East End" around East & Alexander appears to be going downhill and cannot seem to hold itself together outside of being a nightlife district. Once the dive bars and terrible clubs close around 2:00 AM, the neighborhood turns into a ghost town. There is hardly anything to do and the entire block is completely cut in half by the former Inner Loop (which is now constant construction and road/sidewalk closures).

Businesses constantly seem to come and go like a revolving door around East & Alexander. Even just a few years ago we at least had some food options such as Pita Pit, Acanthus and Rubino's. Now your choices are Subway and two disgusting Rochester-style pizza joints with very poor customer service. This is not the 24/7 neighhborhood it claims to be. Half of the store fronts in this area are empty/abandoned. It's sad. A neighborhood like this should be much healthier.

And for the love of god, please let's do something about Huther-Doyle. I have nothing against a rehab facility, but this is NOT the location for one. Having Huther-Doyle at East & Alexander would be like opening up a homeless shelter at the corner of Park & Berkley. It does not belong. During the day there are usually dozens of panhandlers and other scummy looking people loitering outside of the building, smoking weed, harassing women who walk by and being an all around nuisance to pedestrians & business owners. Not cool.

With that being said, the East End within the (former) Inner Loop is a very beautiful area and is constantly improving at a tremendous rate. THAT is where you want to be. —sub619

2015-10-18 16:38:02   Note: The East End's website, as of October 2015, is years out of date. It includes businesses like The Pig and Acanthus Cafe that have been closed for quite some time. —EileenF

2023-07-21 19:48:46   Hi, it's Bob Philips, one of the founding members of the East End back in 1990. I'm working to update this page with the history of the East End and updates about what is happening today. Please reply here to suggest any information that should be shared. All the best. —RobertPhilips