There comes a point in any Buffalo winter when you’ve had about as much as you can take.
Such as now.
Whatever charm the snow once held in the early days of winter has been reduced to a pile of sloppery slush the color of mud and broken dreams. With chapped faces and numb fingers, we plead to an indifferent polar vortex: Make the sky-dandruff stop. Bring back the yellow orb we have not seen since early September. Put us out of our slate-gray misery.
But what if there was a way to find charm in the snow, even now, in the depths of our collective seasonal affective disorder? Turns out there is, and it is called “staying indoors and pretending the snow is a movie.”
Buffalo is fortunate to have many spaces that allow us to feel cozy while the violence of endless winter swirls around us. The requirements are simple: It has to be warm. It has to be cozy. It has to have good views. And it has to serve beverages, preferably alcoholic ones, but we’ll settle for hot chocolate, I guess.
With that in mind, here are some of the best places to watch the snow in Buffalo while remaining completely warm and low-key mocking nature. Let’s hope they get us through until spring. Whatever that is.
[Click play on the videos below and drag your cursor across the screen to see 360-degree views of Remedy House and the Albright-Knox Auditorium.]
Remedy House, 429 Rhode Island St. There may have been no better place to observe the absurd insult that was the blizzard of January 2018 than this impossibly cozy coffee shop in the Five Points neighborhood on the West Side. A sliver of a space encased by huge glass windows, Remedy House provides stunning, nearly 360-degree views of the increasingly hipster-populated neighborhood. It’s hardly possible to be closer to the whipping winds and swirling snow without actually feeling the sting than in this white-tiled, marble-countered, Parisian hideaway.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery auditorium, 1285 Elmwood Ave. There are few more beautiful manmade environments in Buffalo than this glass-walled, Gordon Bunshaft-designed modernist cube. The space, which unbeknownst to many gallery visitors is open to the public even when it’s not hosting events, has floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides. Its slightly elevated views to the east and west provide a remarkable vantage point to appreciate the Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park and the Albright-Knox’s handsome campus.
When snow is falling outside and Susan Philipsz’s contemplative “River Cycle” is playing on the speakers, even the most anti-winter among us would have a hard time not feeling at least a tinge of awe.
Chris Muscarella and Tina Werner have a window seat in Panorama on Seven, the lobby bar and restaurant on the seventh floor of the Marriott at HarborCenter, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
Panorama on Seven, 95 Main St. The name just about says it all. And while you may not think a view of the aging Skyway is especially calming, this high-end restaurant on the seventh floor of the Harborcenter Marriott provides just enough elevation and sweeping perspective of Buffalo’s skyline to help you feel disconnected from whatever climactic terrors may be unfolding outside its towering windows.
A full bar dispensing fussy, new-wave cocktails and comforting old standards alike doesn’t hurt the experience.
The fire pit on the outdoor patio of the Rooftop Lounge at the Curtiss Hotel on Saturday, March 2, 2019. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
VUE Rooftop Lounge at Curtiss Hotel, 210 Franklin St. While this venue is not recommended for blizzard-like conditions, it’s a particularly swanky space to observe mildly insulting weather conditions such as lake-effect flurries or light graupel ( we had to look it up, too ).
The semi-enclosed outdoor space on the rooftop of the Curtiss Hotel is dotted with heat lamps and features a large fire pit. When paired with a cocktail and a sweeping view of downtown Buffalo architecture, it almost makes the snow seem pretty. Almost.
The igloos on the roof of Tappo Restaurant on March 2. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
Tappo, 338 Ellicott St. For anyone who has ever wanted to experience rooftop dining in subzero weather — and honestly, who hasn’t? — Tappo has come up with perhaps the most innovative weather-related dining experience Buffalo never knew it wanted. The entrepreneurial wizards at Tappo have installed six “igloos,” or plastic-sheathed geodesic domes, on the rooftop of the downtown Italian restaurant to provide diners an emotionally chilling but physically cozy eating experience.
The igloos must be reserved in advance — a table of 8 costs $50 per person — and the price includes two warm beverages for the group (mulled wine, spiked cider and hot toddies) as well as a three-course meal.
These are the perfect conditions to watch the snow fly from the comfort of your own personal roof-bubble.