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Jun 12, 2010 10:44 PM

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!!!!

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  1. We visited Buffalo in May. We had a great meal at Junipers on Elmwood. Intering wine list and exceptional food

    1. 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!
      Wine Bars:
      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

      Brew Pub:
      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

      Ulrich's Tavern
      674 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203

      Anchor Bar
      1047 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14209

      Towne Restaurant
      186 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201

      Tempo Restaurant
      581 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202

      Mothers Restaurant
      33 Virginia Pl, Buffalo, NY 14202

      Gabriels Gate Restaurant
      145 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201

      Sample Restaurant
      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

      Pano's Restaurant
      1081 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

      Pearl Street Grill and Brewery
      76 Pearl St, Buffalo, NY 14202

      Cole's Restrnt
      1104 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

      810 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

      Just Vino
      846 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14202

      2 Replies
      1. re: jerryc123

        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?

        1. re: dolphin146

          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...
 must try in Buffalo
 fried clams, larger discussion
 diners in Buffalo
 where to eat in Buffalo
 buffalo style pizza
 local places, no chains
 BBQ & breakfast

          Jim's Steak-Out
          938 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

          3260 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

          Lake Effect Diner
          3165 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

      2. 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

        Fat Bob's
        52 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561

        8 Replies
        1. re: RosemaryHoney

          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

          1. re: jerryc123

            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 Buffalo! Wow - you could really get into trouble :)

            1. re: RosemaryHoney

              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

              1. re: jerryc123

                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!

                Irish Times
                38 Swan St, Buffalo, NY 14203

                Fat Bob's
                52 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561

                K Gallagher's
                73 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14202

                1. re: RosemaryHoney

                  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.

                  1. re: dolphin146

                    Sure. Ulrich's.
                    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.

                    Dive Bars:
                    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.

                    1. re: jerryc123

                      I am in Buffalo now, will have "lunch" at Lake Effect and then stop in at Ulrich's for a pint or two before taking in Allentown and a late dinner (perhaps Mother's or Towne's). I hope I can get to Ulrich's for lunch -- logistics might work against it.

                      Dinner Tues up in the air.

                      1. re: dolphin146

                        posted a separate report on my stay.