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The Terrace at Delaware Park offers drinks with a view

It’s summertime in Buffalo, and that means we’re itching to get outside. When heading out on the town, my patio criteria include seating, beautiful views, decent drinks and of course, food. The Terrace at Delaware Park offers all four, exceeding expectations in almost every area.

The new restaurant occupies the upper deck of the Marcy Casino, next to the rose garden and Shakespeare hill. It overlooks Hoyt Lake and on a nice day, provides some of the best people-watching around.

Crowds coming for a pre-show meal before Shakespeare in Delaware Park means the dining room is often full, so call ahead or expect a wait. High-top cocktail tables along the fence are available for dining or drinks, and offer the best views of the water.

One would expect a stellar beer list from restaurateur and aficionado Mike Shatzel, and this one does not disappoint. At the time of our visit, local options were limited to Thin Man (also owned by Shatzel) and Ellicottville Blueberry, a brew almost as ubiquitous these days as Blue or Bud. Such excellent additions as Westbrook, Two Roads and De la Senne provide plenty for beer nerds to enjoy.

The Terrace at Delaware Park's upstairs patio overlooks Hoyt Lake. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Shatzel’s list includes a healthy variety of styles, which is a welcome reprieve from many IPA-heavy boards. Offerings included a pilsner, several stouts, witbiers, saisons and sours, so beer-lovers will easily find something to suit their palates.

Its wine list is small but well-curated, with many styles available by the glass and half-liter, in addition to bottles. We appreciate the half-liter serving size for easy sharing without committing to a full bottle. If you’re feeling celebratory, two sparkling options – and two spritzes – indulge your fancy side.

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The cocktail list was designed by former Vera bar manger Jason Wood and tends toward the sweeter side, although classics are also available. It seemed criminal not to order The Terrace, featuring New Amsterdam vodka, lemon, grapefruit, blackberry puree, cucumber and orange bitters ($11). This sweet, fruity sipper tastes like summer in a glass, and vodka’s subtle, clean flavor keeps it low-key.

The Pear Shaped showcased Four Roses Bourbon, allspice liqueur, lime, maple syrup and pear bitters ($11) in a light, slightly warming drink. While the maple and pear all but disappeared beneath assertive citrus and bourbon, this is a nice alternative for Manhattan fans who want something a little lighter in the heat.

The Terrace is the restaurant-bar's most popular vodka drink. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Chef Nick Rada, formerly of The Oak Stave, designed the menu and runs the kitchen. While his cocktail food menu is not exactly revolutionary, it provides some tasty drink pairings. The Terrace’s offerings are all slightly offbeat standards, including Lebanese chicken wings ($13), the now-requisite flatbread ($10) and charcuterie board ($18).

Bao buns are having a moment on area menus, and The Terrace is no exception. Rada offers them in both shrimp and pork versions (both $12). The kettle chips with green goddess dressing ($5) seem made to go with a pint.

If you’re headed to see some Shakespeare or want a classy evening out, The Terrace is an excellent choice. Go for the view, stay for what’s on the table.

The Terrace at Delaware Park

Where: 199 Lincoln Pkwy (886-0089)
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Monday.
Scene: Upscale casual, with craft cocktails, a well-curated beer list and small wine list by the glass, the half-liter and bottle. The cocktail food menu includes new-American standards. The Terrace is great for a pre-theater meal before Shakespeare in Delaware Park or a classy night out, people-watching over Hoyt Lake. Grab a high-top table outside for optimal summer enjoyment.

Christopher Drago and Dayle Cohen, of Queens are sitting and Patrick and Michelle Sportelli, of Buffalo, are standing. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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