Note: Due to space limitations, we can only list some of our favorite watering holes.
116 Crown, 116 Crown St., 203-777-3116, 116crown.com. Super classy bar with inventive cocktails and small plate offerings. Check out the room with the iPod dock, a definite date destination.
168 York Street Café, 168 York St., 203-789-1915, 168yorkstreetcafe.com. Low-key, popular gay-friendly bar. Weeknight happy hour and a Beer Bash on Thursday and Sunday nights featuring super cheap imports and domestics.
The Anchor, 272 College St., 203-865-1512, anchornewhaven.com. Comfy booths, friendly table service, a quiet downstairs room and a jukebox full of surprises. It’s the kind of bar where you sit, not stand around; where you come with friends rather than show up alone and mingle. Utilitarian, egalitarian, inexpensive.
Anna Liffey’s, 17 Whitney Ave., 203-773-1776, annaliffeys.com. Beers and brogues, and hearty Irish eats. One of a handful of pubs staffed in part by real Irishpersons. Acoustic happy hour on Fridays, live bands on weekend nights.
Archie Moore’s, 188 1/2 Willow St., 203-773-9870; 15 Factory Ln., Milford, 203-876-5088; 17 Elizabeth St., Derby, 203-732-3255; 30 N. Main St., Wallingford, 203-265-7100, archiemoores.com. Good beer selection that treats drinking food (meaty wings, huge piles of nachos, chili) with respect. Coca-Cola memorabilia on the walls, table service. The original New Haven location attracts a diverse range of East Rockers and a lot of happy-hour drinkers on their way to I-95.
Augur's Irish Pub, 29 Water St., Guilford, 203-453-4936, augursirishpub.com. Small, popular Irish pub by the Guilford Green.
BAR, 254 Crown St., 203-495-8924; Bru Rm: 203-495-1111, barnightclub.com. Several varieties of unusually good draft beer brewed on premises (including barleywine and seasonal brews). Tempting pizza, too. Three rooms, each with its own vibe. Clientele ranges from yuppies to club kids and beyond. Dance nights, live bands and we mentioned the pizza, right?
Barcelona Wine Bar, 155 Temple St. (next to the Omni Hotel), 203-848-3000, barcelonawinebar.com. Classy tapas restaurant that prides itself on its adventurous and worldly wine selection. It’s popular among grown-up professional-type folks who’ve craved a happening bar with extensive wine options.
Black Bear Saloon, 124 Temple St., 203-562-2327, blackbearnh.com; Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford, 203-301-0778, blackbearmilford.com. The bar’s downtown New Haven spot features … well, a couple of carved wooden bears outside, plus burgers, beers and drink specials inside. At the Milford location, you can drink while you’re at the mall.
c.o. jones, 969 State St., 203-773-3344, c-o-jones.com. There’s a double entendre in there, y’know. It’s a Mexican restaurant, but the margaritas are the selling point. Management knows and cares deeply about tequila. Check out the happy hour — discounted margaritas and Dos Equis and free assemble-your-own burritos.
Café Nine, 250 State St., 203-789-8281, cafenine.com. The Ninth Square music venue has become regarded as more than a just-because scenester hangout in recent years as its music offerings have expanded and deepened. Check out their newly remodeled space.
The Cask Republic, 179 Crown St., 475-238-8335, thecaskrepublic.com. Upscale American pub with an extensive beer selection, including cask-conditioned ales and vintage bottles.
Christopher Martins, 860 State St., 203-776-8835, christophermartins.com. A fine restaurant on one side and a lively neighborhood bar on the other.
The Crooked Shillelagh, 576 Main St., Branford, 203-481-0348. Irish pub on the shoreline. Irish faves, pub grub, a wide range of lagers, ales and stouts, and live local bands.
Daniel Street Club, 21 Daniel St., Milford, 203-877-4446, danielstreetclub.com. Affordable drink specials in a spacious live music-friendly room.
Delaney’s Tap Room and Restaurant, 882 Whalley Ave., 203-397-5494, delaneystaproom.com. A great many international beers on tap. The restaurant side has a laid-back, quiet bar that attracts Westville grown-ups, while the taproom side is brighter, a lot louder and frequented by SCSU students and other youngish locals.
Diesel Lounge, 944 State St., 203-776-9899. Hip, stylish and draped in neon. Check out the martini list.
Donovan’s Reef, 1212 Main St., Branford, 203-488-5573, donovans-reef.com. A big restaurant and bar with live bands on weekends and friendly bartenders.
The Dutch Tavern, 23 Green St., New London, 860-442-3453, dutch-tavern.com. Eugene O’Neill used to drink here, and it’s now run by one of the city’s legendary Reducers, Peter Detmold.
Elm Bar, 372 Elm St., 475-238-8529, elmbar.com. Situated in the space that housed Rudy’s for more than 70 years, Elm Bar maintains a similar atmosphere to that of its predecessor.
Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., 203-785-0468, firehouse12.com. Cool downstairs lounge with cozy booths, low lighting and exposed concrete. There’s an interesting shuffle that goes on as certain patrons move to and from hanging with friends here and digging a band down the block at Café Nine, but the clientele at large can be summed up by no one particular scene. Also has a performance space.
Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwestern Grill, 271 Crown St., 203-777-7700, geronimobarandgrill.com. Dramatic patio above the street, tableside guacamole, tequila tastings and tequila pairing dinners.
Humphrey's East, 175 Humphrey St. #1, 203-782-1506. Neighborhood bar that draws from far beyond the immediate neighborhood. Famous appetizers, big-screen TV, DJs, live music.
J.P. Dempsey’s, 974 State St., 203-624-5991. Neighborhood pub with a diverse (in terms of age, gender, social niche and economic class) clientele and a resultingly populist feel. Barrels of peanuts stand around; drinkers are encouraged to throw the shells on the floor.
Jack’s Grille, 1505 State St., 203-777-9125. Proletarian watering hole, the kind of place where the bartender might look at you funny and ask if you’ve been there before (which should be interpreted as a friendly introduction).
Mikro Beer Bar & Bistro, 3000 Whitney Ave., Hamden, 203-553-7676, mikrobeerbar.com. Bistro-style, beer-centric menu in a cozy gastropub with 18 rotating beers on tap and lots more by the bottle.
New West Café, 879 Whalley Ave., 203-387-5939. Divey Westville enclave with popular darts matches.
Olde School Saloon & Bistro, 418 State St., 203-772-0544, oldeschoolsaloonandbistro.com. Fresh comfort food and find dining with a vintage copper-top bar.
Oliver’s Taverne, 124 Westbrook Rd. (Rte. 153), Essex, 860-767-2633, oliverstavern.com. Classic American restaurant with a full loft bar. Old-timey feel, inexpensive brews, cover bands.
The Outer Space, 295 Treadwell St., Bldg. G, Hamden, 203-288-6400, theouterspace.net. New sister-venue to The Space, The Outer Space is a 21-plus, 79-capacity bar and café, stocking local and microbrews alongside typical light-beer bar choices. They also serve pizzas, wings and other snacky finger foods.
The Owl Shop, 268 College St., 203-624-3250, owlshopcigars.com. The long-respected tobacconist is also that rare bar and restaurant where — wait for it — you can smoke inside.
The Playwright, 1232 Whitney Ave., Hamden, 203-287-2401, playwrightirishpub.com. The original Hamden location is more laid-back than its former New Haven outpost. This spot features Irish music and Irish breakfast on Sundays. Big TVs, outdoor dining and a good selection of beers.
The Point After, 1349 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, 203-287-8211. A big sports bar with an “authentic” MLB dugout and tons o’ TVs.
Press, 932 State St., 203-787-0227. Wine bar and bistro serving seasonal American small plates. Live music on Wednesday nights.
Prime 16, 172 Temple St., 203-782-1616, prime16.com. A great beer selection and knowledgeable bartenders to guide you through it, plus awesome gourmet burgers.
R.C. Spreyer’s, 631 Campbell Ave., West Haven, 203-931-1777. Casual sports bar-ish watering hole in the heart of West Haven with reputable bloody marys.
Rudy’s, 1227 Chapel St., 203-865-1242. The legendary couple-steps-above-dive bar and popular Saturday-night hangout for local young hipsters and scenesters has moved to its new digs. Their food menu has expanded greatly, and the frites haven’t gone anywhere. Beer selection at the bar is still great, to boot.
Side Street Grille, 15 Dickerman St., Hamden, 203-407-1539, sidestreetgrille.com. It’s a popular hangout and mingling spot for Quinnipiac University students, and it features one of the most elaborate smokers’ porches around (about as close as you can get to being in an enclosed room).
Southport Brewing Company, 33 New Haven Ave., Milford, 203-874-BEER; 850 W. Main St., Branford, 203-481-BREW; 1950 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, 203-288-HOPS, southportbrewing.com. Restaurant and bar with American food and a wide selection of its own beer alongside standard bar choices.
Sports Haven, 600 Long Wharf Dr., 203-946-3254, winnersonthewire.com. Drink, eat, marvel at the fish tank, then cry for your losing horse.
Stella Blues, 204 Crown St., 203-752-9764, stellabluesbar.com. Classic rock-leaning bar in the middle of the Crown Street club scene. Enjoy a cheap PBR or a house-infused cocktail.
Stonebridge Restaurant, 50 Daniel St., Milford, 203-874-7947, stonebridgerestaurant.com. Classic American restaurant with a lively bar crowd on weekend nights. Outdoor seating in summer and multiple bars.
Temple Grill, 152 Temple St., 203-773-1111, templegrill.com. Classy downtown “comfort food with an edge” restaurant, popular among downtown professionals for an after-work drink.
Viva Zapata, 161 Park St., 203-562-2499. Mexican restaurant and bar, a popular gathering spot for college students.
Westside Bar and Grille, 883 Whalley Ave., 203-387-9378. Family-friendly restaurant and bar.
Wicked Wolf Tavern, 144 Temple St., 203-752-0450, wickedwolfnh.com. Now established in the spot where The Playwright used to be. Don’t worry, the cool architectural elements are still there. Sunday trivia nights, Monday open mic, Tuesday karaoke and Saturday night dance parties are among the many reasons to check it out.