Connecticut dining isn’t particularly famous, so don’t expect any life-changing culinary meals. The two main cities, New Haven and Hartford, have a fair amount of variety though and in general, the food leans heavily towards classic American dishes. Prices, however, are reasonable at most restaurants, and the coast has some excellent seafood to indulge in. New Haven is the best place to find any form of decent nightlife, thanks mainly to Yale University. It has performing arts, a modest club scene, and some decent bars.
Bars and Pubbing in Connecticut
The best city to enjoy a night out is New Haven, Connecticut. The students of Yale University ensure that there is a solid selection of bars, and even a couple of venues for live music or dancing, such as Toad’s Place (300 York Street, New Haven). Other popular spots with the locals include Firehouse 12 (45 Crown Street, New Haven), for live jazz and drinks, and BAR (254 Crown Street, New Haven), with its outdoor terrace and dance floor.
Hartford also has a couple of decent venues, such as the Arch Street Tavern (85 Arch Street, Hartford) for sports on the TV and Black-Eyed Sally’s (350 Asylum Street, Hartford), famous for its live blues bands five nights a week. Try the locally crafted beer at City Steam Brewery (942 Main Street, Hartford) or catch one of the 350 annual performances at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts (166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford).
There are also taverns and bars in many of the historic towns tucked away and along the coast. The operate word here is casual, and there is little room for fancy glam in Connecticut. Most bars close at around 11 p.m., with the live music bars and clubs making last calls around 1:30 a.m..
Dining and Cuisine in Connecticut
Most of the large towns and cities in Connecticut have the usual array of international restaurants, though the focus on eating in this state is American cuisine. New Haven has several high-end restaurants with well-known names like Bespoke (266 College Street, New Haven) and the Union League Café (1032 Chapel Street, New Haven).
New Haven is also a mecca for pizza lovers. For the past century, this Connecticut college town has made pizza a priority, and the debate continues about which establishment has the best slice. Frank Pepe (157 Wooster Street, New Haven) and Sally’s (237 Wooster Street, New Haven) are long-standing institutions. In Hartford, Max Downtown (185 Asylum Street, Hartford) is a top choice for American cuisine, while Rein’s (435 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon) offers deli-style sandwiches so good that people drive 15 minutes out of town for them.
Along the coast, be sure and seek out the seafood at institutions like Abott’s Lobster in the Rough (117 Pearl Street, Noank), a gritty little lobster shack that’s as good as it gets in America. The Place (901 Boston Post Road, Guilford) and Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale (1301 Boston Post Road, Madison) are two other legendary seafood shacks along the Shore where the shellfish is cheap and the atmosphere purely unpretentious.