Personally, after getting used to the side bar instead of Tabs, it is much easier to see open buffers in the sidebar. Although, I think the best approach may be to add auto-hiding of the side bar and/or minimap so that they don't get in the way of normal editing. I have to say I never use the minimap. Although it is 'cool', it really doesn't buy me anything. I want to, at a minimum, be able to hide it altogether (like in non-X SublimeText).
That being said, I believe Jon's plan is to add auto-hide the side bar already, so we just need to wait for that to get folded in... *poke*