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Buffalo’s best open-air drinking spots pair patrons with scenes of the city

Buffalonians have plenty of places to hide during the city’s inclement months.

Darkened whiskey slings and mood-lit martini bars. Cramped corner pubs with Bills game beer specials, and family staples serving a heralded fish fry. These are the joints people pile in during harsh weather, and the affinity for such huddled revelry gives credence to Buffalo’s claim as the City of Good Neighbors.

But once summer hits, claustrophobia comes with it. Drinks and food move outside, and the entire barroom experience extends to the people and pace percolating on the streets. That’s the added bonus of the off-sidewalk patio, porch or beer garden—along with the sun and fresh air to balance previous months of dark-bar drinking.

Ready to bust out? Here are some suggestions of patios in the city, along with the characters and scenes to enjoy while visiting.

On the water

Charlie's Boatyard

1111 Fuhrmann Blvd.

Situated between Buffalo Harbor State Park and the soon-to-be-overhauled Outer Harbor, Charlie's Boatyard is the epitome of a working-class waterfront drinking experience. Nothing ostentatious across its spacious decking, but with its personalized Boat Yard Brew IPA from Buffalo Brewing ($5) and the beauty of Lake Erie, what else do you need?

Enjoy the view of: Small Boat Harbor brethren.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Live music on scattered dates all summer long.


Templeton Landing

2 Templeton Terrace

New locales have bloomed amid Buffalo’s resurgence, but few can match the sunset views of the city’s waterfront mainstay. The Landing’s outdoor ambiance—whether accented by a summertime schedule of live music, its revamped seafood menu or a Wild Berry Mojito ($10)—remains a reliable pleasure throughout the season.

Enjoy the view of: Erie Basin Marina mainstays.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Deals every day, including Mojito Monday with $7 mojitos.


The patio at Buffalo RiverWorks has views of the waterfront and the oversized Labatt Blue cans. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

The Ward @ Buffalo RiverWorks

359 Ganson St.

Zip lines. Ninja training. The biggest replication of Canadian beer cans in the world. These are only three among dozens of reasons to find the Buffalo River’s marquee events center. But none of these can top tipping a few drafts of brewed-on-site Wheeler Wheat ($6) while watching watercraft of all kind cruise down the city’s reborn waterway.

Enjoy the view of: Buffalo River regulars.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: All Jim Beam products are $3.50, every day.

[Related: How Buffalo RiverWorks became a downtown concert venue]


Stops before a show

Allen Burger Venture

175 Allen St.

Headed to Nietzsche’s for a Johnny Cash Birthday Bash, DBGB for spun funk and hip-hop, or even a long stroll for a show on Delaware at Asbury Hall? The side patio at ABV gives diners and drinkers a place to meet before their multi-directional march for music, all while joined by grass-fed burgers, a full pour of Four Roses Single Barrel ($13), and some of the best bartender-chosen tunes in Buffalo.

Enjoy the view of: barhopping Allentown scenesters.

Open-air bar: No

Special note: Its rotating list of 24 craft drafts is always pretty special.

[Related: Dining review at Allen Burger Venture, from fall 2015]


Deep South Taco

291 Ellicott St.

The ideal patio can act as an invitation to party. With its festive layout, downtown’s Deep South does just that, enabling sangria-aided shindigs that now highlight Queen City summers.

But after patrons sip a few Love Machine margaritas ($10) and mingle across the DST space, they can transition to freewheeling rock shows at the legendary Mohawk Place, or the occasional pop-up gig at neighboring Electric Avenue.

Enjoy the view of: Mohawk Place devotees.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Weekday Happy Hour, with $5 DST-ritas and $3 Coronas.


Hydraulic Hearth

716 Swan St.

Wednesday’s Live at Larkin series brings local bands into the heart of the city’s former Hydraulics District—and right across the street from the Hydraulic Hearth.

With its mismatched lawn furniture, outdoor shuffleboard courts and gin-based Buffalo Southside ($10), the locale’s outdoor area provides casual drinkers options under the fading sunlight, as well as a place for concertgoers to congregate after encores.

Enjoy the view of: Live at Larkin legions.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Community Beer Works drafts are brewed on site.

[Related: Smiles at opening Live at Larkin, featuring Big Mean Sound Machine and Miller & the Other Sinners]


Above the fray

The Blackthorn

2124 Seneca St.

The South Buffalo favorite was once a place to find neighborhood pints and push-ups for every Notre Dame touchdown.

Now, it’s the face of a slowly transforming Seneca Street, and host to two tiers of outdoor seating for those new to the neighborhood—and those eager to toast its ongoing reclamation with a gorgeous pint of Guinness ($5).

Enjoy the view of: a slowly changing Seneca Street.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Bar’s expanded footprint now hosts outdoor lawn games for daily patrons.


SoHo Burger Bar on Chippewa Street has an upper and lower patio to enjoy the view. Here, patrons Molly Gigone of Fort Erie, left, Robbie Macfarland of Lewiston, and Bianca Kozlowski of Buffalo enjoy the second floor patio. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Soho Burger Bar

64 W. Chippewa St.

Office drones, Harley Davidson devotees and urban cowboys. Chippewa hosts a litany of styles and contingents dependent on the day or drink special. But nestled amid the red umbrellas and lounge furniture of Soho’s second-floor oasis, guests can relax, split a bottle of Matua pinot noir rosé ($28) and stay safely above it all—literally.

Enjoy the view of: the many faces of the Chip Strip.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: Nightly Heirloom Happy Hour, with two-for-one drinks and half-price apps.

[Related: Soho Burger Bar to take upscale step]


Thin Man Brewery

492 Elmwood Ave.

Based on its inventive selection of craft creations, the crash test dummy-inspired brewery would be worth patronage even without its second–floor expanse. But add the chance to sip its seasonal fleet of sours and IPA’s while perched in its identifiable yellow chairs, and Thin Man’s a place for summertime patrons to span time.

Enjoy the view of: added energy to lower Elmwood.

Open-air bar: Yes

Special note: The brewery has become a potent rock club, so check its schedule for shows.


Foot-traffic favorites


716 Elmwood Ave.

The Elmwood strip is a favorite for dog-walkers, boutique shoppers and Asics Kayano-clad denizens, darting past coffee shops and barrooms on after-work training runs. But sometimes, Elmwood visits would best be spent stopping, sitting and sipping a blueberry vodka-backed Purple Rain ($8.50) or another cocktail on one of the neighborhood’s most cherished patio spaces at Cecelia’s.

Enjoy the view of: fashionably dressed Elmwood Village joggers.

Open-air bar: No

Special note: $5 martinis from 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.


Mes Que

1420 Hertel Ave.

North Buffalo beer snobs, vinyl junkies and casual joggers have added to the energy of a remade Hertel Avenue. Dependent on the day, all might pass Buffalo’s World Cup headquarters and its soccer-loving patio patrons, who burn their own energy deliriously cheering through televised games.

Do all guests have to do the same? No. Mes Que’s patio’s just as good for kicking back with a few Carlsberg pints while passersby explore the city stretch.

Enjoy the view of: trainers en route to Delaware Park as well as the average passerby.

Open-air bar: No

Special note: Drafts are as international as its soccer action, with rare local appearances by Fuller’s and Reissdorf Kölsch.

[Related: Mes Que featured on the Travel Channel before World Cup]


The Terrace at Delaware Park offers views overlooking Hoyt Lake. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

The Terrace

199 Lincoln Pkwy.

Gaze at the steps of the Albright-Knox. Look across Hoyt Lake, appreciate the distant view of the Buffalo History Museum, or admire the replication of Michelangelo’s David. Or, you can exchange friendly greetings to those running, rowing or rolling around each—all while you wash down mussels and frites with a few tequila and ginger beer-based Palomas ($10) on the patio of the tranquil Terrace.

Enjoy the view of: athletes climbing the Albright-Knox steps.

Open-air bar: No

Special note: Weekly Hoppy Hour Clam Bake, held in conjunction with local brewers all summer.

[Related: The Terrace at Delaware Park offers drinks with a view]

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