Welcome home, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving week. We’ve missed seeing you around, but we hope you’ve been well wherever you’re living these days.
Now that you’re back, we’re sure you have plans. Black Friday shopping, a Tom & Jerry or three at The Place, and you probably want to tour some of the places you’ve been reading about since the last time you were home.
As you’re likely aware after talking to your mother, cousin or friends now embedded within the city’s glorious resurgence, Buffalo is now the new Brooklyn. Or Portland, Oregon. Or some other totally awesome city that international publications refer to as the coolest city in America (See: London’s Sunday Times).
Is all of this a tremendous overstatement for a developing Buffalo that’s still finding its footing? Sure—but that doesn’t mean the city’s seemingly omnipresent changes haven’t yielded some must-see bars, clubs, cafés and shops since the last time you rolled through town.
Here’s a roster of some of the latest arrivals, all open and eager to wish you well on your return to the (greatest) City of Good Neighbors (anywhere in the world).
831 Elmwood Ave.
The death of Record Theatre in 2017 was a downer for locals and those who would plan a Thanksgiving stop when home for the holiday. Revolver has filled part of that void, both with its flagship locale (1451 Hertel Ave.) and its newest spot on Elmwood in the old Spoiled Rotten spot.
Audiophiles can expect plenty of rare finds among cherished Beatles and Rolling Stones sleeves, new and used vinyl at market prices, and sweet black Revolver T-shirts to show off around your current address.
Go for: Black Friday vinyl.
Leave with: A copy of Kanye West’s “Yandhi,” due out Nov. 23.
520 7th St.
Since arriving in 2012, the brewery’s beers have been local favorites, but its cramped garage setting off Niagara Street wasn’t always conducive to hosting large homecoming parties. That’s changed with its spacious 7th Street spot.
Complete with a food menu of shared apps, burgers and breakfast burritos—but, more importantly, an expanded beer menu—the pristine destination can now host visitors inside a locale as dynamic as its drafts.
Go for: Its deliciously juicy Bang A ‘Uey New England IPA.
Leave with: CBW glassware for your kitchenette.
521 Main St.
Remember all those times you returned for Thanksgiving and promised your parents you would move home as soon as Buffalo opens the three-floor, Japanese-themed arcade bar with the Iron Maiden pinball machine you so vitally need? That day has finally arrived with Misuta Chow’s, the most intriguing stop on Main (even with an indoor hatchet range mere steps from its front door).
Go for cocktails, Asian fare and arcade games—then start planning your move back.
Go for: Barroom sushi and skeeball.
Leave with: A pic of you posing in its pink stairwell for Instagram.
[Read: Japanese flair, throwback arcade games, '80s pop culture at Misuta Chow's]
211 Lafayette Ave.
The city’s eclectic artistic chops are on display inside small and large galleries, rock clubs, or in mural form across walls and buildings. But inside café Sweet_ness7’s tandem Tabernacle, the vibrant possibilities of Buffalo’s interpretive acumen have been unleashed in jaw-dropping fashion, floor to ceiling.
Created by former chef Jeremy Twiss, the café, bar and performance space (open at 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday) is so luminous, it must be entered to be understood.
Go for: The Turkey Town Get Down at 9 p.m. Nov. 24.
Leave with: A pic of you inside Buffalo’s most ambitious aesthetic.
79 W. Chippewa St.
The Chip Strip might not be the first stop for those looking to canvas Buffalo’s live music scene over their sojourn home. But this year, it probably should be.
With the addition of the Chris Ring-owned Rec Room, the downtown drinking district adds a premiere club venue, perfect for local and touring acts, committed and casual fans—or for those keen on caterwauling Limp Bizkit cuts during the cherished Live Band Karaoke Ring brought from his last spot, Waiting Room.
Go for: The Wrecks (6:30 p.m.) and Live Band Karaoke (10 p.m.) Nov. 23.
Leave with: A pic of you under the “It was all a dream” neon.
429 Rhode Island St.
Dependent on your social schedule over the next few days, you’re likely going to need a lot of coffee—and probably something more high-test than your typical coffee-flavored sugar milk from Tim Hortons. That’s where a visit to the bright, intimate confines of West Side neighborhood café Remedy House might help.
Offering pour-over fare for the caffeinated set—as well as French-inspired breakfast items to complement—its menu can keep you going, as well as invite you into its exquisitely cultivated corner of the city.
Go for: A hot Americano.
Leave with: Another hot Americano, for a friend.
639 Main St., 803-6250
Downtown’s Market Arcade movie theater was a cherished spot for downtown filmgoers for years. Deterioration and diminished crowds shut it down in 2014, but now it’s back, and with improvements to make it the premiere cinematic city screening spot it’s positioned to be.
Visitors looking for a weekend matinee of “Bohemian Rhapsody” or seven other films will find AMC’s signature recliner seating, as well as Buffalo’s only multiplex-set beer and wine service.
Go for: A first-run film at the souped-up Main Street location.
Leave with: Relief for the return of downtown cinema—now serving beer and wine.
[Related: New AMC theater gains traction downtown]
79 Perry St.
Remember when Labatt quietly moved its U.S. headquarters from Connecticut to Buffalo in 2007? Eleven years later—and one giant grain silo six-pack later—Labatt is no longer just the blue cans at every Bills tailgate party. The brewers' newly opened Labatt House just down from KeyBank Center confirms this.
Comprising an onsite innovation brewery, taproom and the Pegula-owned Draft Room, the site offers those raised on Blue Light (or the tough-as-nails Labatt Ice) inventive brews inside a converted warehouse space—as well as a dynamite spot before and after Sabres games and other events to down a few Blues.
Go for: The locale's flagship selection, Labatt Blue Citra, a pilsner made with Citra hops.
Leave with: Renewed appreciation for a brewer likely prominent in your upbringing.