When you assign a direct name like “Local” to a kitchen and beer bar, you better commit to the moniker’s connotations and be thorough in doing so.
Thankfully, West Chippewa’s rustic craft beer and sandwich haven Local Kitchen does just that. Stashed inside the old Noir and boasting walls full of new and old Buffalo photos and memorabilia, Local joins new district leaders like The Lodge and nearby Tavern 414 in offering an exhausting beer list to match its food menu and inviting ambiance.
Visitors can choose from 40 craft drafts (24 made by local brewers); hoist a few alongside framed copies of the Courier-Express, photos of the deceased Freddie’s Doughnuts or underneath a metallic and illuminated “Buffalove” sign; and eventually wash down the locale’s signature ribeye steak sandwich ($13.95). It’s all for the taking and nestled in the middle of Buffalo’s suddenly maturing nightlife stretch.
The beer: 42 North Wallonia Wit
The breakdown: Buffalo is full of residents who count the seconds until summer’s warm temperatures engulf the chattering anguish of winter. The region’s also lined with drinkers far more likely to be open-minded about trying new drafts once Brother Sun’s toasting their skin.
This is one reason why 42 North’s Wallonia Wit — refreshing, complex and with just the right amount of fruit notes — will work its way into plenty of Western New Yorkers’ imbibing rotation with the omnipresence of temperate afternoons and evenings.
The East Aurora brewery’s Belgian beauty pours golden, drinks easy (at 5.4 percent ABV) and is an ideal accompaniment for not just the shaded front patio of Local, but for lakeside locales and backyard barbecues throughout the coming months.
Changing the Chip Strip: It’s seedy and dangerous. It’s cool and thriving. It’s wild and unpredictable – and not in a good way. Buffalo’s famed West Chippewa Street bar district has gone through multiple iterations, so its latest ongoing transformation shouldn’t be a surprise.
With glistening hotels on one end, a rebuilt Main Street on the other, and Franklin Street’s barbecue, Irish ambiance and forthcoming opulence of heated toilet seats in the middle, the dicey Chip Strip has followed suit. It has added more craft beer corners and food-first locales to a stretch that previously specialized in a conveyor belt of Bud Light, street meat and underage melees.
Local’s historical presentation, relaxed vibe and early Saturday lunches (open at 11 a.m.) are proof that its part of the new guard.
Short stroll to a Stinger: Nickel City drinking vets are no strangers to necessary late-night dashes to the chicken finger sub station that is Jim’s Steakout. Its menu always has seemed to be more inviting once evening turns to morning, so it’s nice to have one near your last round.
For Local patrons, the closest Jim’s is the one next door — and with a door practically connecting the two businesses. So after sampling your last craft draft of the night, you’re just mere steps away from your first steak-laced Stinger of the A.M.[Read: 100 Things - Eat a chicken finger sub at Jim's Steakout]
When to go: Stop by for one of 40 delicious or locally focused drafts; a lunch or dinner surrounded by artifacts of Buffalo’s past; or an evening amid another beer-centric addition to the ongoing diversification of the Chip Strip.
Where: 88 W. Chippewa St. (849-1000)
Beers on tap: 40
Local beers on tap: 24
Tell your friends: It’s the old Noir.
Great place to: Sample some of the best Buffalo craft creations while surrounded by reminders of the city’s past.
Be ready to: Find a new favorite beer brewed not far from your childhood home.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.