NOTE: This post was originally written on April 1st, 2016 when Fuego was on Liberty Pole Way and Vive Bistro and Victoire were open. We've updated the post, pictures and links:
Rochester's Downtown scene is in a period of rebirth. With new developments (Tower280), renovations (Legacy Tower, The Metropolitan, & The Sibley Building), and existing residential areas (The Temple Building Lofts), you can't deny it's changing - and growing - for the better.
With the Liberty Pole being an iconic landmark of our city, and at what some would argue to be our city's true center, we want you to know what is available. Whether you are a visitor at one of our city's best hotels (Radisson, the Hyatt, and the Hilton Garden Inn), you are a long-time church goer at Grace Road Church located in the Temple Building, a student at the Eastman School of Music, or if you are a newly minted resident in one of the cool lofts, here are the best places to check out when you are around the Pole.
Abilene Bar & Lounge
Map It: 155 E. Main Street
Steps inside the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown you'll find Drifters Lounge & Bar. Yes, it might be a restaurant in a hotel, but that doesn't matter. For a peek inside check out our post from September, Drifters LB: not your Average Hotel Kitchen.
Fuego Coffee Roasters
Map It: 16 Gibbs St.
A long time Rochester favorite, this cafe serves up your favorite lattes and drinks but also great sandwiches, baked goods, granola and more. It's always busy, it's always good.
And while you're at it, check out the calendar for the Eastman School of Music - you never know what free concert might be happening just next door. Or in the warmer weather pop over to Yogen Fruz just across the street.
Map It: 480 E. Main Street
Located in a beautiful historic building downtown on E. Main, this coffee shop roasts small batch fair trade coffee. With huge full length windows you can enjoy the views of Main Street over coffee, pastries, sandwiches, fresh squeezed lemonade and more.
Map It: 130 East Ave
From their Breakfast Stromboli, to pizza, salad, pasta and more, Stromboli's on East Ave has so many options you won't be able to decide.
Already head to Stromboli's often? Walk just across the street to the recently opened East End Pizza & Deli for something new.
Map It: 120 East Ave
In the former home of Victoire, you'll now find Unter Biergarten. Having just opened in February and serving up their Bavarican Cuisine (that is Bavarian/New American), Unter Biergarten has already become a Rochester favorite. Check them out for lunch or dinner and don't miss their selection of Wurst from Swan Market, the Loaded Bavarian Tots, and well, everything else on the menu.
Other Areas to Explore
St. Joseph's Park
Just North West of the Pole you'll stumble upon some Rochester History at St. Joseph's Park. This former Catholic Church almost burnt down entirely in 1974 and thankfully the Landmark Society along with the City of Rochester and some other groups and organizations worked hard to restore and preserve what remains. This is perfect for a picnic or an afternoon of exploring.
Map It: Pleasant St & N. Clinton
Grove Place Neighborhood
Tucked behind the YMCA on E. Main and Press Coffee you'll find Grove Place. If you're looking to "step out" of the city and wander, this is the perfect place. This neighborhood is said to be "the oldest continually occupied residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester" and we think you'll love it's charm, art, and architecture.
P.S. all of the places listed are around a quarter mile or less from the Liberty Pole - that is definitely walking distance!