Coles

Not Rated.
ColesColes
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

56 Ratings
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: n/a
Taps: 36
Bottles: 100
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1104 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, New York, 14222-1226
United States
phone: (716) 886-1449

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
to view more.
Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 45
Reviews by wailingwench:
Photo of wailingwench
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Jeers before Cheers: The prices. You have to be kidding me. $4.25 for SA Winter Lager? $5 for a Anchor XMas? And the worst part: $7 for 2 Bud Light bottles? Coles is a 2 beer max place for this BA and his friends. What really burns me is the establishment next door has $2.50 pints (with a draft card). So what exactly am I paying for? Soap in the bathroom?

Cheers: Mgmt seems open to this BA suggestions. Mike is making it really hard to think of any jeers. Outstanding beer board in dining room. Every table is presented with a brew list, excellent descriptions, and BA rankings. A Buffalo legend in terms of their Bloody Marys. Bar area made to look like an alpine lodge. Tap selection has really come around: you can tell they put some thought into it besides just throwing on some taps. Finally some NY brews other than Brooklyn and Flying Bison: Lake Placid, Southern Tier, Middle Ages, and Ellicotville. Thanks!!! Consistent rotating seasonal tap selection. Ever expanding selection of bottles in well displayed microfridge to keep you occupied if the taps don't intrigue you. Bartender is 100 % business, shirt and tie. All regional Brewing News are available here. Fireplace in "garden atrium" room. Servers attentive. Unlimited H2O and coffee refills and they're serious about refilling you. FREE muffins with breakfast. Food is outstanding. Standard Buffalo pub fare, plus some original goodies. Older, more refined crowd during the day, most likely hiding out from spouses or bosses. Younger Canisius college crowd at night. All in all, a well behaved, mild mannered place to spend an evening, where the biggest disagreement that you will see is collar up, or collar down.

Jeers: The majority of Coles patrons drink Blue and Bud Light out of a <gasp> chalice. This is a practice that clearly needs to be stopped. The west coast beers (besides the Stone) don't seem to move very well as I have had multiple past their prime.

Note: Goodbar and Coles seem to be competing with each other in terms of the number of handles on. Coles is the clear winner in terms of atmosphere, sanitary conditions, and service. My advice: Go to both. Both are filling a well needed niche.

More User Reviews:
Photo of eflynn2
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Classic bar in a great location with great food.

Photo of timmy2b
3.9/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Been going to Cole's for years. Food is great, everything, from brunch to dinner to chicken wings. Draft list rotates very well and they do a good job of keeping some local beers on the list most of the time. The bar is long, but there is only six feet of room behind the bar stools and a lot of the time the people who end up at the bar are not very welcoming to you ordering a beer around them. Bartenders are slow at times and do not know a great deal about the beers(rotating taps so I understand). Most of a time its a great place to go for a drink and some food, but the bar can be very crowded and that is my only real complaint.

Photo of EdFlynn
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is my favorite bar and restaurant in Upstate NY!!! Perfect location on Buffalo's hippest and best neighborhood with a college theme. Incredible draft beer selection and bottle selection. Love this place because 45 year old conservative wife slightly uncomfortable with the hip bar. I cannot say enough about this place. If I lived in this neighborhood I would be there Thursday through Sunday.

Photo of sliverX
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Very popular bar with the beer and non beer crowd alike. Likely the best American craft tap list in the area. At times can be overwhelmingly busy and hard to get a beer at. Servers run from knowledgable to clueless as you would expect. Food is slightly aboe average "pub" food. Expect to see a lot of suits and their "dates". Usually a slightly older crowd compaired to Goodbar. Never a bad choice as there's always something new to tick.

Photo of PeerlessMark
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The first beer bar I've tried in Buffalo, compared to places I've been in Ontario this was stupendous. A whopping 35 taps and a massive 100+ bottle list left me in awe of my options.

Luckily our server was extremely and let my buddy and I try a few samples before we each settled on the Brooklyn Brewmaster's Reserve which went amazingly well with our meals. Food was solid and tasty and went down a treat.

We'd hoped to try Blue Monk that afternoon but it doesn't oapen till thee. Seems it is the same owners who manage both Coles and Blue Monk.

We sat in the bar area and its a sweet, dusty place with a definite emphasis on the beer but the food is no joke either. I'll be back often.

Photo of cratez
4.58/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Cole's is a must-visit beer destination in Elmwood Village. It has an awesome Cheers-style ambience with a large, busy bar adjacent to some wooden tables and booths and a bright, open dining room. When we first came on a Sunday afternoon, we were seated with a bunch of college kids who seemed to be grabbing their hangover breakfasts. The atmosphere was quite loud, almost raucous, but we rolled with the punches and ended up having a great time. Second visit was much more laid back, we sat at the bar and received quick, affable service from a middle-aged man who knew a lot about the brews he was pouring.

Beer selection is 35 taps and a massive 100+ bottle list of mostly U.S. micros. Over two days I had Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale, Bear Republic Old Scouters Barley Wine, and Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet Black I.P.A. on draught and Green Flash West Coast IPA in the bottle. The bartender also gave me a small sample of Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout.

Unfortunately the food was mediocre: my eggs were overcooked, the hash browns were soggy, and my girlfriend's salad had way too much goat cheese in it. However, Cole's is simply a fantastic place to drink in with the best selection of American craft beer that I've encountered thus far. And similar to Blue Monk, its lively and approachable vibe appeals to beer geeks and non-beer-drinkers alike. We really enjoyed ourselves here and we'll be back on future trips to Buffalo.

Photo of alexkeil
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

If you're visiting Buffalo and want a great meal, great beer and selection, and an authentic Buffalo experience this is the bar. The building used to be the show room for the Pierce Arrow Auto company, makers of what used to be the American luxury car. The bar has been around well before my time and the people that drink there reflect that: it is a nice mix of young and old. The beer selection is contained in its own menu: there are many choices in both bottle and draft. There isn't much for parking: the street or a small parking lot in the back. Bathrooms are clean and recently remoldeled. The food is excellent, it is a mix of burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and whatever the chefs have dreamed up. Excellent for a meal, to watch the Sabres game, or to sit at the bar and sample beer.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Cole's was my number-one beer stop during our short time in Buffalo. My wife and I stopped there on a cold Sunday afternoon after touring the nearby art museums. The city outside looked dead, but Cole's was very much alive and going strong.

I don't know what to think about the decor/atmosphere. It is warm and cozy, great for spending a chilly Winter day. But it also feels a little old and ratty, like the mothballs have not been swiped since they opened in 1934. Booths are comfortable and roomy, but the bar on the other side seems to be perennially packed.

They have 32 beers on tap listed on the menu- a nice list, but not a single one I would go crazy over or about. Highlights were Southern Tier Net'Ra Gal, Lost Coast Double Trouble (can't get this downstate) and Sierra 30th Grand Cru.

There is also stuff by Stone, Ommegang, Harpoon, Great Divide, Bear Republic and some Belgians like Chouffe and Lindemans. It was listed as "winner of the the best beer list in Buffalo 09-10", but I was in Harrisburg the day before and selection at that shitty dead town was way better than here.

Service was fine. I had read many complaints about this issue here on BA, but I had no problem. Server was efficient and just good. Not super friendly, no smiles. But fine.

Food is pricey (although not as expensive as in The Blue Monk), and not very good. Just bar comfort food, unfitting for a somewhat upscale joint like this. My Reuben sandwich was tasty, but I mean, it's a Reuben. My wife's crab cake was nasty. Buffalo is not famous for crab cakes, is it?

I give them 3.5 in quality because their beer list was not updated, and the prices were wrong. They were out of Oak-aged Yeti (printed in the list), and they were out of Southern Unearthly (listed on the chalkboard).

A small goblet of Lost Coast Double Trouble was listed as $5 but was actually $6- a whole pint goes for eight dollars. At least the server honored the prices wrongly printed on the menu.

All in all, Cole's is worth trying once. Maybe twice. But it is too expensive for what you get and the selection is not that amazing. I think next time I'll go to Mr. Goodbar next door for cheaper beer, or to Blue Monk for pricier but better food and beer.

Photo of Stoutman88
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 2

the place has a good vibe. It looks nice and seems college friendly. The beer selection was great. They literaly have a beer for everyone. They have more craft beer than a craft beer store. Food wasn't impressive, found better food in crappier bars. Food wasn't so much of the issue. The service is what turned me off to the place. They take forever to even place a drink order. It took a half hour to even order food. Time wasn't such a big deal but the way we were treated was worse. The server barely paid attention to us and talked down to us. The table next to us, where two men in three piece suits were treated like gold. There is nothing wrong with treating wealthy customers good, but working class men should be treated well too. Im definatley choosing a different bar next time, perhaps Mr. Goodbar nextdoor

Photo of excalibur
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

The bar is nice, but the dining room is large and loud(perhaps it was the table of 10 ladies next to us). I thought the older bartender was a bit arrogant, but the younger guys were very friendly. Personally, I thought the draft beer list was large(about 20) but nothing outstanding. I ordered a southern tier hop sun and was disappointed by the lack of complexity, but their harvest ale was very nice. We asked for 2 bottled beers from their extensive list but they were gone. We were somewhat let down but overall it wasn't a bad place.

Photo of djmichaelk
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Visited Cole's during a business trip a few days ago.

It's in the middle of a college strip, so lots of activity in the area. Parking is painful, as others have mentioned, but I always seemed to luck out with the pay lot behind the building.

The place has its design down pretty well -- pub-style bar on the right, restaurant with booths and tables on the left. Nice mix of people, including college kids and some older folks in the bar, and people of all ages in the restaurant. Mostly wood trim and pleasantly dark in the bar area.

The real draw here, and the main reason I drove across town specifically for this place, was the selection. Large list of taps and bottles. Highlights for me were Stone 14th, Flower Power, and Duvel Green on tap, and Saison du BUFF and Brooklyn Black Ops in bottles. Plenty of quality to choose from, and not much crap.

My only real complaint was with the service. The bartender at my end took a long time to get to me, and was one of those guys who takes, processes, and cashes out one order at a time. It took me a full 5+ minutes to get my first beer. And more than once I had to explain and describe to him what beer I was ordering -- he didn't seem to have much knowledge of the beers that he was serving. Disappointing, although it helped that he had a sense of humor about it and had no problem running to the back more than once to find something for me.

Prices were a bit on the high side -- I paid more there for a glass of Stone 14th than I did today for a bomber in a store, which I find to be silly.

Overall, this place is well worth seeking out. I'll be going back next time for sure.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

My first visit to Cole's was much overdue and it definitely lived up to the hype. An extensive tap list which was about 25 strong consisted of a good mix of everything - both geographically and style-wise. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Bock on tap, and it quickly became my first pint. I also enjoyed 4 or 5 other points of various styles and breweries over my two visits there. Taps that I remember were Brooklyn Dark Matter, Brooklyn Coffee Stout, Millekker Summer, Mikkeller Kent Golding Single Hop IPA, Sly Fox Pale Ale, Smuttynose Robust Porter, Stone IPA, DFH Sahti, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye and many more.

The food was also very good, including possilby the best French Onion soup I have ever had.

I will definitely be going back here and be going out of my way to do so. There isn't a place closer to the border that even comes close.

Photo of chumbuddy
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Great beer spot. Caught it on a Saturday during the final US FIFA game, so it was packed. But, there wasn't many good beer drinkers, so the owner Mike spotted us in the crowd. He shared a few samples and a fresh bottle of Stone 14 with us. Great hospitality and true beer loving from the guy in charge, so it's a must stop. Great selection over a good 30 or so taps. Best spot in buffalo, and probably in a wide radius. Xxxxcxxxccxxxx...are my 500 required characters used up yet? Xxxx xxx. Xxxx xxx xxx .

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.45/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I've been a Buffalo transplant since 2006, and Cole's is arguably my favorite bar in the area. Located on the Elmwood strip, it offers great food at a reasonable/above average price. But the true draw is the incredible beer list. With a constantly rotating menu of delicious beverages, Cole's is always set to please. On a recent visit, with a friend from out-of-town, we were able to indulge in tap pours of My Antonia by Dogfish Head, the Imperial Stout by Founders, and a number of other incredible brews. I would recommend this bar to any beer geek in search of the perfect burger/beer combination (but always start with the french onion soup... it's incredible). You won't find a better beer bar in the Buffalo area.

Photo of korguy123
4.45/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Mrs. and I just got back from a quick trip to Buffalo for two days to "get away from it all" After reading the reviews I knew we had to try it out.

Thankfully we went at about 12:45 on a Monday so the streets weren't too busy and I actually found a parking spot right in front of the place.

Walk in greeted by a server and sat us quickly. Place was almost empty except for a couple guys at the bar for a pint or two. Like the previous reviewer noted I was more interested in the beer menu than the food selection. The bar definitely has a used feel to it homey and comfortable but excellent pub feel at the same time.

Decided on the Oak Arrogant Bastard and the Turkey Ruben and the Mrs had the Loaded Fries and we split the Artichoke dip to start. Food was great! Beer was excellent (never had it before)

Overall great time (except for leaving my sunglasses there) This place just became a must every time we head south of the border

Photo of Yapper
4.75/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is our second trip to Coles in the last 2 months. Both times were on a Friday afternoon, with wife and 2 kids (1&3). Not busy and $1 parking on street.

Quality food with awsome beer list. Great beef on a weck, perfectly cooked burger, and the chicken pesto quesadilla was great (and im not a huge quesadilla guy).

The wife had to order my food for me because i was to busy reading the Beer menu. We both ordered the samplers (4-4OZ. for $6). including ST Creme Brulee, TenFidy, ST Unearthly, 3 philosophers, Finestkind, DFH Fort, Frambois Lambic, Flying Bison Porter. Wife was a little disapointed that both the Ellicotville Choc. Cherry Bomb, and Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter had just been kicked. She was advised by the server to slow down on the DFH fort (%18 and well hidden).

Service was great and very knowlegable, (even threw in a complimentary DFH red and white sample). We will definatly be back.

Photo of JAramini
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Easily the best selection in the Buffalo area. A regularly rotating tap-list that is hard to beat, and plenty of bottles. Asking for the beer menu is a good move because the boards above the bar and the beer cooler you can see don't tell the full story.

Some beers can be expensive, but they also have regular specials and tastings that are a great value and make up for the sometimes pricey pints.

I was prompted to review after a recent positive experience. I ordered a pint of a limited-release for $8 that tasted strange to me. I'd never had that beer before and never encountered quality control issues at the bar before, so I was unsure of what to do. I approached the bartender and he pulled a sample off the tap for himself and said he thought it tasted how it should but that I shouldn't drink any beer I didn't like and that by my order he knew I was a connoisseur so he wanted to keep me happy. He gladly poured me another beer that was also on for $8/pint.

They've been around since 1934 and they know how to treat their customers.

The food is largely pub fare, but done well. It can get very crowded on weekend nights, but it's a friendly crowd that you wouldn't mind rubbing elbows with.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A very nice bar/resturant. Decent food, and a excellent selection of beer, bottled and on tap. Had some Founders and Ithica beers in the past, on tap, and today we got a bomber of Dreadnaught IPA. $20 though, for the bomber. But it was delicious. Saw Bear Republic, Brooklyn and Southern Tier on the beer menu, just to name a few breweries. Wish there was a bar/resturant like this in Ontario with this selection. Parking is a bit of a pain though, pretty busy street. If you can find a spot, come on in though. You will like the selection. Plenty of craft beer to choose from.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Parking here absolutely STINKS. Have been here during a few business trips and have scrapped coming here for dinner after driving in circles trying to find a parking spot or the place was so crowded I passed it up. Depending on the night, it can be completely packed with a crowd that varies from working professionals to college kids. The food is usually decent and they always have some exotic ales I'm dying to try. I've never had a bad meal here but I have to say, as good as the beer menu is, I've passed it up on several ocassions because of parking.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice laid back wood decor, various pennants, tap handles, etc... as decoration. Nice long bar to sit at, place of choice. Tables are kind of separated from the action, quieter that way I guess.

Some really nice taps on, including a "rare tap" choice. Decent prices and the possibility of getting half pints to try a few more of the goodies.

Service was sociable at the bar. Came back and ate at the tables, twice the beer we ordered was misheard but all was righted - no harm, no foul.

Food was good pub fare, burger was a delight, pulled pork sandwich and the wrap both looked good.

Hard to find much to complain about with this bar. Nice laid back vibe where you could easily nestle in for a night of drinking. It's not going to make any "Best of America" lists but it's easy to see why it's the best of Buffalo. Would make a great local.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I went here last week while on vacation with the family. Our visit was on a Tuesday evening for a late dinner. We were there at about 8pm and the place was quite busy, we got one of the last tables in the dining area. It was a long day of yelling at the kids in the car and I needed an attitude adjustment badly.
The place is separated into two rooms the one on the right houses the bar area and to the left the dining area which also has a patio for outdoor seating towards the front.
The beer menu was about the same size as the food menu and had about 30 taps most of which were stellar. Many great bottles on the menu as well. I had on tap ST Choklat, Weyerbacher Heresy, and a Big Rock Chophouse Sour Cherry Tripel. All were excellent.
I had a steak and my wife had a sandwich. My steak was good, my wife's sandwich was as well. The kids split a sandwich. Points off for no kids menu!
Our waitress was slow but attentive. She took the kids meal that they split and put it on two plates without being asked, that was nice.
I wish I had more time in Buffalo because I would have loved to work my way through the tap list. Oh and as a tease they listed Oak Aged Ten Fidy as coming soon on tap, they suck :)

Photo of bobsy
4.03/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

No too much I can add to the prevailing wisdom on this great bar. The selection was flat out excellent, and between myself and my wife we enjoyed a franziskaner hefe, victory yakima twilight and oskar blues whiskey-barrel-aged Ten FIDY. You could easily spend a long, long time in this bar enjoying great beer. Service was a little slow, but friendly. The food was okay... not really anything special, but not bad either. Atmosphere is quite pleasant... very much an old American bar style, with lots of antique touches.

A must if you are in Buffalo

A few months later I headed back. Food was much better, and I'd recommend the eggs benedict brunch. Beers were in top form, with an awesome Great Lakes Independence Ale and a delightful Stone 13th pouring well.

Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Sort of a dusty old place in a less than upscale area of Buffalo (is there an upscale area in Buffalo?). Lots of dark wood and beams with dusty college team pennants hanging on them. Long bar with about twenty circular wooden chairs. Several tables for dining. Roughly 30 taps, much of it pretty decent quality, nothing spectacular. Southern Tier Oatmeal Stout was my first selection and I can't recall the rest. Wings were very good. The knucklehead coworker of mine ordered a Bud, but the other guy has grown to become a craft fan and appreciated the offerings as I did. Service was good, though the barkeep at times seemed overwhelmed even though there were only a handful of patrons in the building. Arguably, the best you're going to get in Buffalo which is sort of sad. Still, worthy of a visit if you're in the area.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

visited this place last night with some friends for some dinner, and good beer. as soon as i saw the size of their beer menu, i was in love, i knew this was going to be a good expierience.

the atmosphere was very nice. this place was prolly a old house, and kind of looked that way as well. very old school looking bar and restaurant. nice big window with a nice view of elmwood, very nice.

pretty average service, wasnt sure what a couple beers were, but didnt screw anything up and was generally pretty nice to all of us.

there selection was absolutely amazing. they had about 40 beers on tap, which is the cheapest way to go, and at least 150 bottles to choose from. quite a selection of belgians as well. a lot of rare beers as well. i had a allagash triple aged in jim beam barrels, a sierra neveda smoked porter, and a stone levitation ale.

the food was very good as well. everything about my meal as well as all my friends seemed very well put together, like they try to go the extra step past pub food. put these things such as chicken wings are still available. i had a jamican jerk mahi mahi sandwich, and it was delicious. the food wasnt too expensive, but the drinks were a little pricey.

if you love beer and are in the buffalo area, i would suggest this out of any other beer bar to go to.

to view more.
Coles in Buffalo, NY
94 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.