Flat Iron Cafe

InfoInfo MapMap
561 State Street, Rochester, NY 14608 [Directions]
Hours (as of January 2023)
Thursday: 10:00PM to 1:00AM
Weekend hours as determined
585 802-7634
Wheelchair Accessible

The Flat Iron Cafe is a bar, club located at the confluence of Lyell, Lake, State, and Smith streets in Brown Square. Best known for it's Thursday Night Salsa dance instruction by the one and only, Frances Hare. Flat Iron also has free wireless Internet access.


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2007-04-15 17:46:18   This is one of the best coffee houses in Rochester — an open, tiered space with exposed brick walls and thematic art; complimentary wifi with plenty of sitting space and access to outlets; a good selection of drinks (the usual espresso varieties and non-caffeinated beverages plus a modest selection of beer and wine) and food that, though limited, is quite tasty; consistently good music, live and otherwise (mostly jazz—which is a good thing); and a friendly, casual feel that is missing in so many other Rochester coffee houses. It is, therefore, a shame that it is frequently so empty—especially on weekends when parking is never a problem. Yes, this area has an "interesting" past, but it's places like this that offer a better future for Rochester. Stop by and see what it has to offer. And visit Win Fa Market across the street—one of the better Asian markets in Rochester and definitely the most pristine. —EternalStudent

2007-04-15 22:53:25   This is a very interesting building. Perhaps someone can phost a photo? —GrahamSaathoff

2007-04-22 15:32:33   Went here with some friends who were putting on a combination art/music show. Really nice layout, owner was really friendly with everyone ordering drinks and was asking me about the style of music that was being played (it was a noise band). I had a glass of wine and no coffee, so I can't speak for the quality of the coffee, but it's definitely a place I'd check out again if I'm over on that side of the city at night again! —AdrienneDahler

2007-05-22 22:38:39   Not your typical cafe... the glass front looks out onto the city's busiest, most culturally diverse intersection where there's always something to look at. The Chinese own Win Fa Market, Greeks own Rochester Auto Glass, Jamacians own the purple building that noone seems to no what's going on with. The Puerto Rican owned Rochester Pawn Brokers is next to the Indian owned ABC Driving School and Nextel who are neighbors to the Mexican owned Village. On this same block you will find businesses owned and operated by Vietnamese. There's even a country bar behind the cafe. Where else in Rochester do you find such a culturally diverse collection of businesses. The story on the Cafe is worth stopping in and asking about. You'll hear of how the infamous Lake and Lyell corner and Porn Shop co-existed for years before the Renaissance. If you like to root for the underdog, if you like mega-metro energy comparable to NYC, then you'll fall hard for Flat Iron Cafe! —ThomasLaBue

2007-06-16 01:03:12   The After the Afterhours Jam Session has put Flat Iron Cafe on the map as Rochester's hottest venue. The cafe is destined for fame after the allstar list of Jazz Greats that include Wycliffe Gordon, Gray Mayfield, Marcus Printup, Lincoln Center Orchestra, David Kikoski, Mamadou Diabate, Robin Eubanks, Ryan Shaw and Bonerama left their marks across the 9 day marathon of after hours wrapping up around 4-5am each morning. This maybe unprecidented in a city where most call it a night at 2am. The famous Pythodd left some big shoes to fill; the Flat Iron Cafe is in that same bloodline. Two nights left. Who'll be the next star to grace the place? Where will you be when it happens? -Tommy LaBue —ThomasLaBue

2007-07-18 16:40:55   What an experience! Latin Jazz at it's very best with Freddy Colon and his Latin Jazz Trio this past Saturday night. The sights & sounds in this one of a kind venue were incredible. Freddy and his group are returning Saturday August 4th don't miss them! —AlfredBurgos

2007-08-14 09:41:20   Had a blast there last night - the owner's a cool guy who ended up chatting with us about the area, the coffee was surprisingly good (and quite strong), and there was some decent (but not overwhelming) jazz. For a Monday night, that's fantastic. We'll definitely be back, and having tried all of the other coffee shops in town (and gotten tired of everything else but Java's), I highly recommend Flat Iron. —PaulArdis

2007-08-14 16:46:18   The owner is a terrific guy—I worked with him long ago in another lifetime.. —PeteB

2007-08-17 10:43:26   Solid place. More about the music than most other cafes - even [[Javas]]. Small / intimate, nice outdoor seating, good use of space. Coffee was good, owner was nice. Charming place. Will be back.

Oh, and the best place to park is across Lyell. Parking's easy at night, since the surrounding businesses are closed, but can be tough during the day. —RossMessing

2007-08-21 15:53:26   I've been here twice. The coffee is okay. And the cake (when they have any) is great. The place has music performances every evening. But it's not oppressively loud like most other cafes (I stopped going to [WWW]Boulder's - the barista couldn't hear my order even after the 10th shout). You can carry on a conversation while listening to the music. If you like to dance, you can. I don't - I have two left feet. The owner is very friendly - ask him about the history of the place. The story has sex, murder and cultural diversity. The only problem I see with the place - is its location near urban sewage, which might make outdoor seating unpleasant at times.—SukanyaBasu

2007-10-15 08:24:29   When I arrived at Flat Iron on a Wednesday night, there was Bueno Vista style latin music playing in the background (cd) at the perfect level for maintaining a conversation. We purchased generously filled glasses of wine and Heiniken in bottles and ordered two of the "famous Panini's" which were excellent. Later on the owner was working alone and had to cater to a priate salsa lesson group of 15 yet still managed to find time to make it to our table to chat between making 15 panini's. We sat outside for a few minutes, but it was chilly and we quickly moved indoors. Hooked up to the wifi while we sat and it worked flawlessly. Finished the evening off with lattes and hot chocolate both of which we very good (esp the hot chocolate!). Great atmosphere, great owner, looking forward to another evening there and will pick a night with live music next time. —DeniseElliott

2007-12-09 16:08:20   I actually followed the advice from fellow Wikiers and visited this place last night for some wine and dessert. It was a real cool place- the environment outside is a bit dark, yes, but the music and the service in the inside is great. The owner is real nice as well- first chance I was able to strike a conversation with an owner in a cafe/restaurant. The live jazz was done that night by Eastman students, but many other famous musicians come by as well. All in all a great place- would def. come back! —SamShin

2008-01-20 13:14:11   The Flat Iron Cafe is wonderful addition to the artistic community of Rochester. Where else in the city of Rochester one can go to swing dance to a live band weekly?!? The Flat Iron is also another venue of choice to go out and hear Latin music and Salsa dance. Ever since I've been playing at the Flat Iron, my weeks have been filled with Jazz and Latin music! This is truly a blessing for me as I have a place to express myself, dance, and meet wonderful people on a weekly basis. I implore everyone who likes to go out, have a great time, drink coffee (and other choice drinks), eat tasty paninis, dance, and hear great live music to give the Flat Iron Cafe a chance. You won't be disappointed! —QuinnLawrence

2009-02-12 17:22:40   I've just recently started going to the Flat Iron Cafe after a recommendation from a friend- what a great call! Great people... I regularly stop by for salsa dancing Tuesdays at 9:00pm, a free lesson is included for those in need of a refresher or looking to learn. Great experience, prefect for a first date! —JeremyTurner

2009-02-13 10:55:38   Cool little place with a VERY urban feel to it. I had a great smoothie here about a year ago. The owner is a nice guy and should be applauded to try to bring a respectable establishment to the neighborhood. While the surroundings are a little rough around the edges, this is a nice eclectic addition to Lake Ave. Try it out! —MrRochester