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It’s that time of year when you’re probably heading downtown more often to attend a Buffalo Sabres game or a show at Shea’s, or perhaps do some holiday shopping.

Once downtown, you’ll want to take advantage of all of the exceptional restaurants the city has to offer. Grab a top-notch meal before your event from one of the area’s best chefs, and end the night with a fancy cocktail at a luxe downtown lounge.

Here are some of the best places to enjoy dinner and drinks when attending an event in downtown Buffalo.

Best Downtown Spots For Dinner & Drinks

Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant – Heading downtown for a special occasion? You’ll fit in just fine in your formalwear at Bacchus Wine Bar, located in the historic Calumet building on W Chippewa Street. The high-end restaurant is known for its creative and flavorful dishes created by Buffalo’s own Nickel City Chef Brian Mietus, sourced with fresh ingredients from local farmers’ markets, along with its Wine Spectator award winning wine list. Start with chicken liver pate and cheers with caviar and champagne, and then indulge in one of their delicious main dishes, which include ahi tuna, bouillabaisse, and short ribs with cauliflower puree. While it’s pricier than most restaurants in Buffalo, the food quality and exceptional service and certainly worth the premium. Do your best to save room for dessert–the crème brûlée and tiramisu make for a heavenly post-show indulgence.

exterior of bacchus wine bar in Buffalo NY
The high-end atmosphere at Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant makes it an ideal spot for a pre-show dinner or post-show drinks. [Image: Yelp]
Graylynn – Want some drinks and a warm meal to get the night going in a classy environment? Take a trip to Graylynn, located at the corner of Main and Genesee. Graylynn may be a gin bar, but its European-inspired small plates and mains will have foodies raving. The bistro is famous for its savory hand pies called pasties, which come in flavors such as cornish beef, kofta and chana masala. The hearty entrees, including shepard’s pie and bangers and mash, will definitely fill you up and keep you warm before a cold Sabres game. And of course, you have to try one of their gin cocktails–their extensive menu includes classics like the French 75 and Tom Collins, as well as their own house recipes like their Poptart Negroni, made with campari, sweet vermouth and strawberry, as well as the Del Toro, made with pineapple, lime and agave grenadine.

oysters and small plates at Graylynn in Buffalo NY
The sophisticated small plates at Graylynn are the perfect light dinner before a show downtown. [Image: Yelp]
Misuta Chow’s – If you’re looking for a casual, fun atmosphere with some tasty eats before you head to your show, or want to celebrate a Sabres or Bandits win after the game, Misuta Chow’s is the place to go. Located on Main Street, this quirky gastropub offers fried rice bowls, ramen, bao buns and other Japanese street foods, along with a large beer and cocktail selection. The bar also features arcade games, murals, neon lighting and Japanese lanterns, adding to the cool vibes and playful ambiance.

interior of Misuta Chow's in Buffalo NY
Keep the party going after a Sabres game by enjoying arcade games and eclectic cocktails and Asian-inspired dishes at Misuta Chow’s. [Image: Yelp]
Toutant – Toutant is considered one of Buffalo’s best restaurants, in large part due to the success of its head chef and owner, James Roberts, making it a popular choice for a special night out on the town. This intimate eatery on Ellicott Street offers a high-end take on Southern cuisine, such as hot hushpuppies, Nashville Hot Chicken and Creole Jambalaya. Their cocktails aren’t to be missed, with Southern classics that include the mint julep and hurricane as well as unique concoctions like the Country Grammar, made with ancho chile infused tequila, lime, yellow bell pepper syrup, cherry and strawberry bitters. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, their French Quarter Beignets and chicory cold brew coffee will make you feel like you’re on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

interior of Toutant restaurant in Buffalo NY
Brick walls and dim lighting add to the cozy vibes at Toutant, where you’ll find some of the area’s best Southern-inspired dishes and cocktails. [Image: Yelp]
Big Ditch Brewing Company – Need a place that’s a bit more casual before the game? Located on East Huron Street, Big Ditch Brewing Company always makes for a smart stop for food and drinks. The tap room is the perfect place to bring a group, with tall ceilings and windows that make the room feel large even when it’s crowded before a game. And unlike other breweries, the food at Big Ditch isn’t just a side note. They incorporate their brews into the food menu, adding an elevated spin on old pub favorites. Indulge in their crispy Hayburner wings, tossed in their house-brewed Hayburner IPA wing sauce, or try their famous “breuben,” Big Ditch’s version of a reuben sandwich made with corned beef brined in their own Excavator rye brown ale. And of course, make sure to grab a flight of their house brews, especially their limited time fall and winter flavors, including Cinnamon Apple, Make Me Wanna Stout, and Kringle Juice.

Interior of Big Ditch Brewing Company in Buffalo NY
With its house-brewed beer and elevated pub dishes, Big Ditch Brewing Company is an ideal spot for a group before or after a Sabres game. [Image: Yelp]
Casa Azul – Looking for a quick and easy meal before your event? Grab some tacos and margaritas at Casa Azul on Allen Street. Casa Azul offers traditional Mexican-style dishes such as beef barbacoa, shrimp ceviche and mole as well as eclectic takes on classics, like their vegetarian roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts tacos. Guests rave about the housemade guacamole and queso as well as the variety of flavored margaritas, including cucumber jalapeno cilantro, watermelon basil and avocado honey. It’s an ideal spot for a pre-game dinner or snack or post-show cocktail.

Plate of tacos and Margaritas at casa azul in Buffalo NY
Stop into Casa Azul before your downtown event for unique cocktails and flavorful tacos. [Image: Yelp]

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