The bar: Brick Oven Bistro
The breakdown: Located in the thick of South Buffalo, the Bistro has been single-handedly transforming its neighbors’ Labatt-loyal drinking tastes via its vast array of craft drafts and bottles since opening inside the old Reilly’s Market space in February 2012.
Eighteen taps intermingle local seasonals from the likes of Community Beer Works and Resurgence with national favorites from names like Founders. Visitors can enjoy all with a brick oven-baked pizza, pan-seared scallops or bone-in pork chop.
The beer: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
The breakdown: Sierra Nevada’s holiday offering is one of the season's most reliable draft options. A manageable (at 6.8% ABV) American-style IPA — and one of the winter months’ rare hop-forward choices — the amber-colored offering has a pleasing citrus bite for those not ready to go all-in on the dark deliciousness of stout season.
Bold while refreshing, it’s a solid choice with either the Bistro’s seafood entrees or months’ worth of Sabres games shown weekly at the bar.
Take a sip next to: any one of the many historical photos and maps of the city of Buffalo, framed and mounted around the Bistro’s bar and dining room.
Raise a toast to: former grocery store owner Vince Reilly. Did he foresee his chicken salad-palace of a market would one day be converted into South Buffalo’s finest craft beer bar? Probably not, but his longtime stewardship of the property made the transition a possibility.
When to go: Seven days a week, open at noon. Show up for lunch or dinner; brunch on the weekends; and any time you’re on Abbott Road and looking for a few craft drafts within comfortable, maroon-hued confines.
Info: Brick Oven Bistro, 904 Abbott Road; 844-8496