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Marble + Rye offers classy downtown happy hour

If you’ve never had a Marble + Rye burger, you’ve never had a burger. And if you’ve never paired it with one of M+R’s impeccable cocktails, allow us to show you the light.

Owners of the former Black Market Food Truck, Christian Willmott and Michael Dimmer, opened this cozy restaurant and bar on Genesee Street two years ago in July. Its maxim is, “Food is our heart. Whiskey is our soul.” And it shows.

With a menu built around thoughtfully prepared local ingredients and one of the most creative, well-executed cocktail lists around, M+R makes for one of the best happy hour joints in Buffalo.

With a new street side patio, M+R has added 20 seats to its 75-top restaurant. The interior features an airy, urban design with plants cascading down brick walls next to spare wooden tables, its well-stocked bar and whiskey lockers as centerpieces.

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Joshua Bisson, of Amherst, his mother Julie Klotzbach and her husband Gary Diamond, of Akron, have dinner on the patio. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

M+R offers a VIP liquor storage locker for a price, in which customers can store their own bottles of something special. Think of it like a PO Box, but for booze.

Behind the rail, an extensive list and several tasting flights offer whiskey fans a chance to taste a well-curated selection. Knowledgeable bartenders can guide customers through the seasonal cocktail list, so don’t panic if you don’t recognize any of the concoctions.

A rotating M+R punch comes by the glass or the bowl for four or more, at $7 and $40, respectively. The punch provides a sociable drinking experience that takes the guesswork out of ordering, and trust us, choosing just one can be daunting.

Marble + Rye bartender Jessica Wegrzyn makes cocktails for customers. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The cocktail list usually offers a selection of base spirits and bartenders can also create special orders or classics, upon request. Non-imbibers might ask for a mocktail, made with M+R’s ever-present fresh juices and creative spirit. A small but excellent list of beers and wine by the bottle and glass provide ample alternatives.

Because man cannot live on whiskey alone, don’t miss M+R’s food menu. On Wednesdays, a burger and beer goes for $15, so that’s dinner solved. Happy hour runs 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and features $1 bar snacks and drink specials.

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“Really spicy cucumbers” (usually $3) live up to their name – if you love foods with a kick, these’ll do. M+R’s take on Bison chip dip and house-made chips (usually $3) elevate the Buffalo classic and crispy chickpeas ($3) re-imagine the vegetable entirely. Don’t miss the pickled onion rings ($7) either. They complement a whiskey, a beer, water, you-name-it. Just order them. Trust us.

At M+R, the crowd ranges from downtown office workers stopping by for a tipple to pre-theater diners and drinkers. While the clean, tasteful interior invites business casual attire, no one looks askance at jeans, either.

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack and a cocktail that will get your taste buds dancing or the best burger and beer you’ve ever had for under $20, you can’t go wrong at M+R.

Marble + Rye
112 Genesee St. (853-1390)
Hours: 4 to midnight Tuesday through Thursday (kitchen open 5 to 10 p.m.) and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday (kitchen open 5 to 11 p.m.).
Scene: Classy happy-hour stop for downtown office workers, theatergoers or anyone out on the town. Its excellent cocktail list and elevated bar snacks are great for a quick bite or lingering over a flight of whiskey.

A flight of bourbon is part of Marble + Rye's whiskey tasting. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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