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Winfield’s craft cocktails are transcendental

From the outside, Winfield’s Pub doesn’t look like much. Housed in a former dive bar on Ridge Road, the shingle-style sign is easy to miss among a progression of car repair shops, dentist offices and residences.

But once inside, patrons will quickly realize the Daulton family’s little restaurant is a hidden treasure with outstanding food, well-crafted cocktails and a beer list of the caliber rarely seen this side of the Skyway.

Winfield’s is a family affair, with Tab and his son Tom heading up the kitchen and bar respectively, and mom generally holding court at the end of the bar, waiting tables and making sure everyone leaves happy.

Her Kiki’s Warm Potato Salad, on the menu as a stand-alone side ($6) or served with its sandwiches and burgers, is the stuff of dreams. Rich with creamy Velveeta and studded with pimentos, green olives and bacon, this potato salad is a meal unto itself.

[Related: More about Kiki's Warm Potato Salad]

Sit at the bar with a beer and dive face-first into a bowl of this stuff, and tell me you don’t come up happy as a pig you-know-where.

Jordan Kunz, left, and his fiancée Amber Stec, of Blasdell, have dinner at the bar in Winfield's Pub. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Jordan Kunz, left, and his fiancée Amber Stec, of Blasdell, have dinner at the bar in Winfield's Pub. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

[Related: Sharon Cantillon's photos from Winfield's Pub]

For a slightly more shareable snack, try the Hop Fries ($6), a heaping platter of thin-cut crispy taters dusted with salt and Bravo hops. A side of chunky garlic aioli is great for dipping. If you’re looking to spoil your appetite, do that here with zero regrets.

Full entrees, burgers and sandwiches are unilaterally delicious and crafted with care and precision. Check out the specials board for can’t-miss soups and house-ground burgers to balance out the bar’s outstanding offerings.

This is the New Rose cocktail, a take on a Vieux Carre with creme de cassis and armagnac, by Tom Daulton at Winfield's Pub.(Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

At Winfield’s, the craft cocktails ($10) are transcendental, with many house-made elements and a commitment to local flavors, house-made accoutrements and classic combinations.

The Jenny Jones is composed of rye whiskey, manzanilla sherry, dandelion and burdock bitters, house-made orange bitters, home-brewed green tea and lovage shrub, garnished with a Metro Micros edible flower.

The cocktail is lush and complex, with a warm whiskey bite balanced by that sweet sherry, earthy bitters and just a hint of herbal tea.

The Arnold Ziffle uses house-smoked bacon fat-washed whiskey for a meaty base, as well as Lillet Rose for a slight wine note, cardamom bitters and sugar for a hint of sweetness. A rosemary garnish adds a garden-fresh scent to balance it all out.

Cocktails of Daulton’s caliber are rarely seen outside the city and for craft tipple fans, one of those is worth the short drive to Lackawanna alone.

When we spoke with Daulton, he said he’s working on a new menu that will highlight Buffalo’s many local spirits, as well as his own commitment to true-to-style drinks.

After only a couple of years behind the pine (and not many more of legal drinking age, for that matter) Daulton has demonstrated a savant-like sense for unique concoctions. But unlike some flash-bang bartenders, Daulton’s style is rooted in a strong knowledge of the classics, and all of his creations reflect that.

Beer drinkers will be pleasantly surprised by the depth and variety on Winfield’s menu, with the likes of Maine Beer Company, Dark Horse, Evil Twin and Stillwater balanced by a solid selection of local choices.

Winfield's Pub is at 1213 Ridge Road in Lackawanna. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Winfield's Pub is at 1213 Ridge Road in Lackawanna. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Prices vary, but hover around $5-$6.50, more than fair for the unusual brews on offer. The standard domestics are here too, and happy hour includes $1 off those as well as glasses of wine from local vineyards.

Winfield’s Pub serves fantastic food and stellar beverages, but its standout service is what elevates it above the rest. At Winfield’s, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been there once, every weekend or not at all – everyone who walks through the door is family. Whether it’s right down the street or a short drive away, the food and drink will get you in the door. The Daulton’s unfailing hospitality will convince you to stay.

Winfield’s Pub

Where: 1213 Ridge Road, Lackawanna (821-0700)

Happy Hour: 4 to 8 p.m. daily features $1 off domestics and glasses of wine.

Class it up: Craft cocktails of the highest caliber.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Food is available at the bar until close.

Parking: Yes

Wheelchair-accessible: No

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