Buffalo in August!
Staying at downtown hotel, will not have a car. Will be there two nights and two lunches. Never been to this wonderful (so I hear) city before. Thoughts on local, distinctive, unique places to eat and drink (I like to drink). Preferences (not exclusive): dive bars, fine wine, French over Italian, local character and above all distinctiveness and uniqueness. Don't want to travel to burbs. Fairly daring when it comes to neighborhoods. Anywhere near Albright-Knox Art Gallery for lunch welcome. Thanks!!!!
There are many, many fine establishments that I will not mention, because you requested downtown only, and no car. You may get many people recommending places in the Elmwood village, (like doug's Juniper suggestion) but for that you will need to navigate the bus system. If you are at the Art Gallery, you are at the northern most part of the Elmwood village, so travel south from there. There are many fine eateries on Elmwood, including the very popular Pano's, and Cole's restaurant, with a good selection of beer.
I will limit my recommendations to places within easy travel of City Hall, and easily accessible by the Main St metro-rail, the easiest way to get up and down Main Street.
Check out Google Maps to plan your trip.
For this discussion, I would like to define three areas.
Downtown - anywhere you can walk from City Hall (WALK)
Allentown / Medical Campus - Allentown is slightly bohemian, with quirky establishments, and best reached by taking the Main St metro-rail train to the Allen/Medical Campus Station (AMCS) and walking west.
Chippewa Street - a bar and entertainment district, very popular and busy on weekends. Best reached by walking north from downtown or taking the metrorail to the Fountain Plaza station (FP) and then walking west.
Recommendations off the top of my head...:
For local flavor, I would recommend...
Anchor Bar. Birthplace of the chicken wing. Most locals agree, this is not Buffalo's best wing, but it is good, the original, and downtown. AMCS
Ulrich's tavern. Buffalo's oldest continuously operating tavern. Irish tavern, German food - serves lunch. Since 1868. Some growing pains in the kitchen since the tavern was featured on No Reservations. Walk or AMCS
You like to drink? Buffalonians like to drink - You will feel right at home here!
Just Vino - walk or AMCS
Bacchus - FP
Ulrich's, did I mention Ulrich’s?
Colter Bay - good selection of microbrews, food is nothing great - AMCS
Gabriel’s Gate - comfy place, decent food - AMCS
Allen Street Hardware - excellent gastro-pub, very short, but excellent wine and craft beer list- AMCS
Nietche’s - live entertainment - also featured on No Reservations. AMCS
Pearl Street Grill - house brewed beer from extract, food is just OK - walk
Sample - small plate restaurant with inventive craft cocktail bar - AMCS
Rue Franklin - best French in Buffalo - FP or Theatre District station
Tempo - best restaurant in Buffalo - AMCS
Mothers - good menu, very populay bar, nice patio in summer - AMCS
Allen Street Hardware - excellent dishes, AMCS
Laughlin's Beef & Barrel - cajun fish sandwich, beer list, FP or Theatre Station
Papaya - southeast asian and cocktails - FP
SeaBar - inventive sushi , newly remodeled - Walk
Towne - Greek diner - AMCS
Cafe 59 - home-y food - AMCS
Anchor Bar - wings - AMCS
Ulrich’s - german plates, sausage, potato pancakes - walk
Chocolate Bar - dessert, sweet novelty cocktails - FP
674 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
1047 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14209
186 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201
581 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202
33 Virginia Pl, Buffalo, NY 14202
Gabriels Gate Restaurant
145 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201
242 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201
Allen St Hardware Cafe
245 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201
248 Allen St, Buffalo, NY
Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant
54 West Chippewa, Buffalo, NY 14202
Rue Franklin Restaurant
341 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202
Colter Bay Grill
344 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
1081 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
Pearl Street Grill and Brewery
76 Pearl St, Buffalo, NY 14202
1104 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
810 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
846 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14202
jerry thanks so much. I am transit-friendly and will be on buses, etc,. for sightseeing but you seem to have covered the field so well.
I like wings -- sounds like the Anchor Bar is Buffalo's version of Philadelphia's Pat's Steaks -- not the best cheesesteak but good and a "destination:" So that's OK. Where is the best wing (or is that an argumenyt not worth starting).
Thanks esp. for bar recommendations. What time is closing time in Buffalo?
If you are able to get around on bus, that will give you many more dining options.
If you are using the metro rail, and will go as far as the University Station, I personally recommend Shango for it's cajun-inspired cooking, and Lake Effect Diner for breakfast/lunch. Lake Effect cures their own meats, ham, bacon, etc, and uses local meat and produce.
Best wings? Yes, you're right - this is not the thread to get going on that...
But quickly, the local consensus seems to be Duff's in Amherst,
while chowhounds prefer BarBill in East Aurora, and Elmo's in Amherst.
Closing time in Buffalo is 4AM. (Yes, this is a drinking town)
If you are near Allentown, The Towne restaurant closes at 5:30AM (to clean) and re-opens at 7:00 AM, so it is a popular place for early AM breakfast after drinking.
Also, Jim's Steakout is a popular after-drinking destination for sloppy sorta-steak sandwiches. If you are from Phili, you may find comparison amusing, or not.
If you have not already searched this board, here are some good threads...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/699954 must try in Buffalo
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691356 fried clams, larger discussion
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/682201 diners in Buffalo
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/649649 where to eat in Buffalo
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/668048 buffalo style pizza
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711598 local places, no chains
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/608204 BBQ & breakfast
938 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
3260 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214
Lake Effect Diner
3165 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214
Jerry has pretty much nailed everything - his recommendations are outstanding. I just wanted to add a note for your night out drinking. You could do a great bar crawl on either Chippewa or in Allentown, but they are pretty different when it comes to the scene.
Chippewa (which I assume to be very close to where you are staying based on the "downtown hotel" description) is a strip of generally slick bars that all seem rather similar. The crowd tends to be suburban kids and frat-types, with a couple of notable exceptions (like Bacchus). It's sort of like Adams Morgan in DC, or Glenwood South in Raleigh.
Allentown, which is an easy walk on a nice summer night, has more of a Buffalo-ish, neighborhood feel, and a plethora of bars to tuck in and out of, including those Jerry has mentioned, plus "dives" like Founding Fathers, the Ol' Pink (THE definition of a dive), Fat Bob's (fantastic patio) and Frizzy's (complete with bubble hockey), and more upscale places like Mother's, Scarlet, and Stillwater.
As Jerry mentioned, Buffalonians love to drink and reach out to visitors, so I'm sure you'll have a great time.
481 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
52 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561
Yes, I forgot to mention Founding Fathers, which is close to the Chippewa scene.
But, I wouldn't call FF a "dive," - not at all.
It's just a decent pub. They make a pretty good burger. If they installed a deep-fryer, something the owner is strongly against, I would probably be in there all the time.
The Old Pink? Yes, I know the original poster mentioned "dives' in the post, but I don't recommend that place to anyone.
Founding Fathers Restrnt
75 Edward St, Buffalo, NY 14202
Right - FF isn't a dive, and neither is Fat Bob's, really. But more in line with a bar, as opposed to the more upscale spots to get drinks.
And jerry makes a great point - I don't know what your definition of a dive is, dolphin, but The Old PInk is a complete and absolute dive in probably every single person's opinion. Mulligan's Brick Bar, nextdoor to The Pink, is a slight step up, then on to Frizzy's, and then you have places like Fat Bob's and the like. Just thought it was kind of interesting someone actually asked about dive bars...in Buffalo! Wow - you could really get into trouble :)
I've been to Fat Bob's perhaps 4 or 5 times, and was continuously unimpressed by their BBQ. I haven't been back in years. Perhaps the bar is the appeal of the place? They have a patio?
As long as we're talking about bars, we can expand the discussion a bit.
Mother's has a very nice bar. A bit older clientele. Their bar staff seems to know how to mix a drink, and the selection behind the bar is passable. They have a nice patio.
Scarlet is just ok. I don't understand the appeal of that place, they are not a wine bar, their beer selection is just ok, they don't do cocktails well ( too many flavored vodkas ) and their prices are not cheap, so I don't know what niche they are trying to fill. Theu seem to be busy, though.
Frizzy's is alright. Not a dive, but more of a neighborhood place, I guess. That is another place I don't "get", other than their prices are reasonable. Oh, and bubble hockey.
Across the street, Gabriel's Gate has a nice bar. The food is good.
The bar at Colter Bay is good. They have a large selection of taps, always have a good selection of craft ales, and the bar tenders know their way around mixed drinks. Their food is just passable. Don't expect much.
Snooty Fox has a nice cocktail bar. I've only been there when they were incredibly busy and slammed and the bar maid still made us good cocktails, considering. I wish they had bitters behind the bar. I need to go back when they are less busy.
Stillwater is just ok.
Rosenmary, have you been to K Gallaghers , 256 Allen, Mohawk Place, or Irish Times? Those may also appeal to dolphin146's more, depending on their definition of 'dive.'
Frizzy's Bar & Grill
140 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201
26 Virginia St, Buffalo, NY 14201
Snooty Fox Lounge
445 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
Yeah, I've been to K Gallaghers, and thought it was pretty ok. We sat indoors, but their outdoors tables seem appealling. Mohawk Place is also good, for a "dive"-type spot, and with good music typically. Dolphin - will you be in on a Thursday? Check out the Thursday in the Square website to see if you will like the band playing at the free outdoor event, and if so, you can head to Mohawk for an after-show drink. Never been to Irish Times.
I agree with Jerry's assessments of the local bars, although I would say that my opinions of Snooty Fox are similar to his statements on Scarlet. Neither one of them I really get. But yeah - Fat Bob's is not the place to go for food. However, they have some decent taps and a nice outdoor back pation. Frizzy's is for bubble hockey and the old-school photo booth. Gabriel's Gate has the great bar and excellent tree-filled back patio, as well as pretty good wings.
Obviously the Buffalo locals could talk on and on about the bars, and the food spots, especially the down-home and dive-style places. So Dolphin, if you have any more questions, toss 'em our way, and certainly we'll find something to say!
38 Swan St, Buffalo, NY 14203
52 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561
73 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14202
wow, well, leaving Monday and all set with your picks.
When I say "dive bar" I mean an inexpensive bar that looks at best dumpy, emphasizes drinking, not food, has a decent jukebox and is a place to hang out. Danger is optional. The Allentown area sounds great.
One question: beef on weck -- Ulrich's? I'd love to go to Schweibl's but will save that for a trip with a car.
Anchor Bar has beef-on-weck, though I don't like their version.
Gabriel's Gate should have it.
Laughlin's has it, though I've never tried it there and can't vouch for it.
Wear your rubber boots if you visit the Old Pink's bathrooms.
By law, many bars in Buffalo have last call at 4:00 AM
Many bars closer earlier.
Please post back, with your comments and observations of your trip.