Ask any traveling hockey fanatic that’s gone to a Sabres game in the past five years about their favorite pre-game hangout and they’ll be quick to spout off some of Buffalo all-time favorites. Whether it’s the always clutch Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, the sports mecca that is (716) Food & Sport, the rockin’ Buffalo Iron Works or the old-time vibes of Swannie House, Buffalo has an abundance of joints to grab a beer and a bite before puck drop.
Well we’re here to tell you that the list has grown even longer in the past couple of years. You’ll come to Buffalo for the fast-paced action of the Buffalo Sabres, but you’ll stay to experience the best of the New Buffalo. Make these places your next pre-game (or post-game) stop:
Webster’s defines a ‘ballyhoo’ as something designed to get people excited or interested. Specializing in homemade sausages, a superb cocktail and beer menu and just a stone’s throw from Key Bank Center, Ballyhoo lives up to its name.
In addition to hosting roller derby, street and ice hockey (plus curling) on its two full-sized rinks and loads of food and entertainment for the everyday visitor, Buffalo RiverWorks is situated in the historic grain silo district, offering breathtaking views of these massive structures along the Buffalo River.
Right across the river from Buffalo RiverWorks, Tewksbury Lodge offers hockey fans an impressive menu of food and drink. On top of dishing out special prices and items on their Game Day menu, the friendly staff at Tewksbury even operates a free shuttle to and from Key Bank Center.
Big Ditch Brewing Co.
Big Ditch does beer. Really, really good beer. This brewery, steeped in Erie Canal history and featuring Hoppy IPAs, rich stouts and a delicious taproom menu, is the place to be for game-time refreshments.
An early adopter of the craft beer movement, Pizza Plant at One Canalside features more than 30 beers, ales, stouts and ciders on tap. It’s also renowned around town for its specialty pods and stuffed pizzas.
On the swankier side of things, William K’s is Buffalo’s newest waterfront establishment. Come a little early to grab a unique cocktail, upscale cuisine and enjoy a beautiful sunset over Lake Erie through their panoramic windows.
Panorama on Seven
This is dining at a whole new level… literally. Positioned on the seventh floor of HARBORCENTER, Panorama on Seven offers patrons fresh cuisine and refreshing cocktails with sweeping views of Canalside, the waterfront and downtown Buffalo.
While Liberty Hound is a long-time favorite for visitors of Canalside in the spring and summer, the Hound is now offering their wonderful beer menu and fresh selection of seafood on a year-round basis, all in walkable proximity to Canalside and the Key Bank Center.
Gene McCarthy’s/Old First Ward Brewing Co.
While Gene McCarthy’s is an Old First Ward staple for their oft-overlooked wings and stellar Friday fish fry, their newest venture, OFW Brewing, is making waves in the local beer scene. Stop in for the warm, pub-style atmosphere and, just as a tip, order the wings McCarthy’s-style.
Up the Ante
Just a short walk from the arena is the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which is currently in the midst of a $40 million expansion project.
Fun for All
Finished dinner and drinks a little early? Bring the whole family and head on over to the ice at Canalside. With opening day (Nov. 25, weather dependent) just around the corner, you’ll have a blast ice skating, curling or riding the Buffalo-born ice bikes.