cocktail reviews - The Buffalo News

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At Buffalo Proper on Franklin Street, visitors can expect three things: Executive Chef Ed Forster’s food will be more creative than most Buffalo establishments, general manager and founder Jon Karel’s potables will offer an interesting interplay of flavors and someone will climb or bang on something before the night is out. That’s just how a proper Buffalo Proper nig…

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Looking for a classic creation made by expert cocktail artists? Try Toutant, Buffalo’s newest comfort food favorite. Toutant is the brainchild of Chef James Roberts, with a cuisine inspired by low-country Southern fare and favorites from Louisiana bayou country. Bartender Jeff Yanuzzi has curated the bar to match, with a selection of both traditional standards and orig…

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Cantina Loco, at the corner of Allen and Elmwood in Buffalo, is almost always packed, and for good reason. Its cuisine is more upscale than the typical fluorescent tortillas and ground beef taco spots that pepper the area, its extensive margarita and tequila list are both reliably tasty and generously portioned and its location is convenient to downtown, Allentown and Elmw…

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Salvatore’s Italian Gardens is known for a lot of things. Craft cocktails has not been one of them. The restaurant, banquet hall, hotel and Western New York standard for opulent decor teeters dangerously close to the edge of gaudy. Visitors can – and do – get lost in its many gold and brocade-draped rooms, and it has long been a destination for weddings, anniversarie…

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Buffalo’s food fame tends toward the greasy and carnivorous: chicken wings, fish fry, beef on weck. We’re also a city that likes to drink, slugging down a Genny Cream Ale alongside our fish at the fire hall or ordering up a bucket of Blues to go with those wings. This season, Mes Que soccer bar and restaurant has taken it a step further with “Charlie Schwabl’s Quee…

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There can be a fine line between innovation for its own sake and elevating an old favorite to new heights. Tony Rials at Bourbon and Butter walks that line expertly, almost every time. Rials may be the best bartender in Buffalo, and the crowd at his rail on a weekday night shows his skill is no secret. He’s a man of few words, holding court in the turquoise and ivory ar…

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Craft cocktail bars are popping up faster than potholes in Western New York, and with that, standards for what constitutes a good one are rising. As little as a year ago, a bar could plop down a bottle of Angostura bitters, list a Manhattan on the menu and call it a day. Not anymore. BillyBar opened in Williamsville last August, under the same ownership as French standard…

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A church billboard half-covered in snow reads “Whoever’s praying for snow, stop.” The snow banks are so high, I need an ice pick to get to the top. My pit bull terrier is shopping for sweaters. But never fear, Buffalo cocktail fans. SATO on Elmwood has drawn a hot bath for us, and there’s liquor in it. SATO’s bar may not look like much, with just a handful of se…

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The biggest surprise at Jaguar at the Bistro is not that it's a Mexican restaurant in Youngstown, almost 30 minutes by car from downtown Buffalo. It's not the fine-dining cuisine, the family friendly atmosphere or the weekly live music, either. It's the cocktails. The restaurant's drink list does not look like much, at first glance. The bar is a small, U-shaped outpost in…

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“My favorite hotel bar in the world? Whichever one I happen to be in,” English writer Geoff Dyer once wrote. “The key thing about a hotel bar, any hotel bar, is that it doesn’t matter where it is.” A hotel bar’s appeal is its anonymity, the author and seasoned international traveler suggested. At The Lounge at the Foundry Hotel & Banquets, Buffalo’s newe…

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Parking was scarce at Canalside during this week’s visit, especially for a weekday. The new skating rink was full of wobbly Buffalonians, baby fawn legs all akimbo on the ice as we wandered into the new (716) Food and Sport, a bar and restaurant dedicated to televised sports and all things Buffalo. The bar is made to look like blue ice, and flashes red whenever the Sabr…

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Merge has been pursuing sustainability since before it was cool. Sisters Sarah and Eliza Schneider founded the Delaware Avenue restaurant in January 2009 as a “living homage to their life passions: Community, food, music, sustainability and art,” their website says. The owners work with local farms like Oles, Arden, Thunder Mountain and First Light, as well as their o…

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Tappo Restaurant, known for its 40 bottles of wine for $15, or glasses for $5, may not come to mind when looking for a cocktail, but its carefully curated list is not to be missed. Everything at Tappo feels deliberate, from the sparse, modern decor to the prominently-displayed wine bottles behind the bar. Its brief menu showcases red-sauce Italian standards, with a few no…

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When most of us think cocktails, we don't think Chippewa Street. Let's face it: The downtown bar district is better known for throbbing bass beats, scantily-clad twenty-somethings and cheap beer specials. But within the past few years, several new and renovated bars and restaurants have worked to class up the club district, including the elegantly rustic The Lodge Bar and…

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Hydraulic Hearth is a gorgeous restaurant with a menu to match. Nestled in the newly swankified Larkin district, the space at 716 Swan St. has been renovated into a preservationist’s dream. Iron pipe accents complement exposed brick walls that reflect the warmth of the open pizza oven, in front of which white-jacket chefs flip and knead dough for diners’ viewing pleas…