When I was younger, hanging out in “the city” meant we were going to Elmwood. In the early 2000s, it was THE place to be for cool bars, coffee shops and restaurants. With all of the new openings taking place around Buffalo these days, it’s easy to take Elmwood for granted. But there’s still plenty of exciting places to grab a bite or a drink. Here are some of our favorites, both old and new.
Thin Man Brewery, 492 Elmwood Ave
This is one of the newest additions to the Elmwood strip, and it’s probably my favorite. The on site brewery has only been operational for a couple months but I’m already impressed with how great the beers are. The kitchen is serving some of the best gastropub fare this city has ever seen with the talented Chef Bruce Wieszala leading the way.
Vera Pizzeria, 220 Lexington Ave
When they opened on Lexington in 2011, Vera single-handedly brought the craft cocktail scene to Buffalo. While plenty of cocktail bars have opened since, Vera is still one of the premier destinations for grabbing a drink. The small, intimate space is a great place to have a quiet night out with a really good Manhattan.
Kuni’s, 226 Lexington Ave
If you’re looking for the best sushi in WNY, it’s found at this tiny shop next to Vera. Chef/Owner Kuni Sato offers diners some of the most unique and traditional dishes you’ll find in any local Japanese restaurant. Go there for something simple like a spicy tuna roll or exotic like Ankimo (steamed monkfish liver). Either way, it will be delicious.
SATO, 739 Elmwood Ave
The beginning of the SATO empire started with their Elmwood Avenue location. This Japanese restaurant serves some of the best soup in WNY along with other pub fare like fried chicken and dumplings. Plus, they’ve got an incredible selection of Japanese Sake and beer if you feel like drinking something different.
Cole’s, 1104 Elmwood Ave
Way before craft beer menus were standard at every restaurant and bar, Cole’s was ahead of the curve. Almost 10 years since my first craft beer, this historic bar near Buffalo State still has one of the best draft selections in the city. Combine that with a kitchen serving well executed Buffalo comfort foods (wings, burgers) and you’ve got a winning combination.
Other Notable Spots:
Mister Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave
Located right next to Cole’s and offering some of the best wings in WNY and a great selection of craft beer. Also a popular spot for live music or stand up comedy.
Mezza, 929 Elmwood Ave
A great place for Lebanese fare in a comfortable and modern setting. Also a popular late night spot with DJs and Hookah rentals for the outdoor patio.