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New: Lex 220 is a Chill Yet Refined Late-Night Dining Spot with Creative Cocktails

Food & Drink, Food & Drink News, Nightlife

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Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on October 12, 2022
Lex 220 / Photo x Step Out Buffalo

Watch any fashion segment on morning television and you’ll hear about the value of a well-tailored jacket. Dress it up with some heels! Dress it down with a nice pair of jeans!

The new Lex 220 in the Elmwood Village is like this well-tailored jacket Savannah and Hoda want us to buy. Smart enough for date night, but chill enough for brunch. Being a well-tailored jacket isn’t easy but somehow the little neighborhood bar-restaurant-late-night-low-key-party-spot is pulling it off.

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Lex 220 / Photo x Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo

“Lex is a neighborhood bar because the Elmwood Village is a close-knit community, which I lived in all my life,” says general manager Jasmine King. “But at the same time, we offer things that you can’t get somewhere else in the village, from our décor to our atmosphere to our food — especially when it comes to offering it late-night.

“Our customers range from young Bills fans in to watch the game, to the older crowd, who want to come in for a cocktail, pasta and smooth vibes,” she adds.

Distilled to its essence, Lex 220 is a place for the people and there’s no better proof of that than the weekly Industry Night, which features drink and food specials for hospitality workers as well as a live DJ. On my Industry Night visit to sample some cocktails, the room was buzzing while DJ Nini played reggae, reggaeton, R&B and hip-hop. At one end of the bar, local entertainer DJ Anthony was holding court, drinking Modelos and nodding along to classics from Jay-Z and Foxy Brown. Behind the bar a bottle of Fernet Branca lets you know this place is industry-friendly. If you know, you know.

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Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo

The cocktails were strong and easy-to-drink. Just what you need after a long weekend of serving customers. The reposado tequila in my Spicy Pumpkin Margarita ($13) added a bit of aged complexity to the PSL equation. The Italicus cocktail ($13) had robust sweet and floral flavors anchored by a heavy pour of Don Q rum. These will get you drunk. Quickly.

The new bar-restaurant has an impressive food menu with pizzas, sandwiches, mussel bowls and bar snacks. It’s important to say the menu is available late into the night. That didn’t use to make the article. But late-night options have been dwindling and the pandemic all but shut down late-night food options outside of fast food.

“COVID basically started a trend. A lot of people weren’t leaving their house, and if they were leaving their house, it was only during certain hours of the day,” King says. “People just got used to that habit. There are so many bars and restaurants in Buffalo that responded by changing their hours.”

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Lex 220 / Photo x Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Brett Llenos Smith for Step Out Buffalo
Lex 220 / Photo x Step Out Buffalo

More than just a place to let loose late at night, Lex also hosts charity events and opens early on Sundays for Bills games. The restaurant also recently launched its Sunday Sounds brunch that features a live violinist. By being good at so many different things, Lex is slowly getting people to buy that well-tailored jacket.

“We’ve been having some people come over from The Place or at Kuni’s and saying they’ve wanted to stop in,” King says. “Convincing them to come back again is how we’ve been getting a lot of our repeat customers.”

Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Thursday to Sunday 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Lex 220

220 Lexington Ave Buffalo, NY 14222 • $$

American

Buffalo

Casual Table Service

Creative cocktail bar in the lower Elmwood village. Read Our Article About Their Opening [sm_anypost columns="1" posts="1" include="1112527" type="post" ...

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/brett-smith/" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.

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