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Liberty Hound captures the waterfront ambience

It’s always hard to face the upcoming week on a Sunday afternoon. And when the Sunday in question is a warm, breezy day following a long holiday weekend … well, it’s darn near impossible to even think about the impending return to responsibility. To avoid the inevitable and extend our Fourth of July weekend just a little longer, David and I headed to a place whose very name made us feel more patriotic – The Liberty Hound in downtown Buffalo.

We couldn’t have picked a more relaxing or impressive place to while away a few hours. Nestled in the heart of the Queen City’s burgeoning waterfront (it shares a building with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park), The Liberty Hound stands in the shadow of some of Buffalo’s most recognizable icons. To one side of the L-shaped patio area, which extends into the harbor behind the building, looms the USS Little Rock and other warships. To the other side is the Canalside concert area, which, with its colorful Adirondack chairs and flags whipping in the wind along the boardwalk, looks more inviting than ever these days.

We arrived around 6:30 p.m., prime dinner time, and were told the wait for a patio table was 40 minutes. Rather than giving us a cumbersome buzzer, the hostess instead took my cellphone number and said she would text or call when a table was free. It was a much more convenient system, one that comes with the added bonus of allowing those waiting to explore the downtown area without being afraid of going out of range of the restaurant and missing their summons. We opted to get drinks and wait on the patio, which has a section just for patrons enjoying a meal and another for those quenching their thirst.

Continuing the weekend’s theme of red, white and blue, I ordered the Liberty Lady, one of The Liberty Hound’s specialty cocktails, for $8. A rum-based drink, it came with fresh, muddled strawberries, blueberries and mint, making it almost too pretty to drink. David ordered a glass of Flying Bison Rusty Chain ($6.25). We secured a spot along the railing, keeping our eyes peeled for a spot to open up at one of the small bar tables scattered along the patio.

We talked and looked out over the water, watching as kayaks and boats floated past us in the harbor and families strolled along the boardwalk, all with the happy chatter of our fellow patrons humming in the background. Ambience, thy name is Liberty Hound.

My phone buzzed a short time later, and we were ushered over to a side table. Along with another round of identically priced drink orders (The Whale, a dark beer from Community Brew Works, for David, and a strawberry basil sea breeze for me), we took in the view from our new angle and shared a heaping plate of scrumptious truffle fries for $5. Though it was technically a work night for many, the bar and patio stayed crowded our entire visit.

To be honest, I spent so much time on Liberty Hound’s patio that I barely had a chance to appreciate its interior. From my few trips to the bar for a refill, it was a pleasing mishmash of modern and retro, with exposed steel beams throughout, brick behind the bar and a floor partially comprised of an antique map of Erie County. Though the patio is definitely this establishment’s biggest draw, it has much to offer within, as well.