The Playwright, 1232 Whitney Ave., Hamden, (203) 287-2401. 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., New Haven, (203) 787-0227. Wine bar and bistro serving seasonal American small plates. Live music on Wednesday nights.
Prime 16, 172 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 782-1616. 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., New Haven, (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. 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. Restaurant and bar with American food and a wide selection of its own beer alongside standard bar choices.
Sports Haven, 600 Long Wharf Dr., New Haven, (203) 946-3201. Drink, eat, marvel at the fish tank, then cry for your losing horse.
Stella Blues, 204 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 752-9764. 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. Classic American restaurant with a lively bar crowd on weekend nights. Outdoor seating in summer and multiple bars.
Strada Martini Lounge & Restaurant, 200 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 562-2321. Happy hour weeknights 4:30-6:30 p.m. $5 martinis, glasses of wine and select apps.
Temple Grill, 152 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 773-1111. Classy downtown "comfort food with an edge" restaurant, popular among downtown professionals for an after-work drink.
Terminal 110, 240 Sargent Dr., New Haven, (203) 624-6200. New entertainment complex that is the new home of Keys to the City, formerly downtown, as well as Sargent Pepper's Nightclub and the Country Club.
Toad's Place, 300 York St., New Haven, (203) 624-TOAD. Don't forget those infamous Saturday night dance parties, a big hit with the college crowd.
Viva Zapata, 161 Park St., New Haven, (203) 562-2499. Mexican restaurant and bar, a popular gathering spot for college students.
Westside Bar & Grille, 883 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 387-9378. Family-friendly restaurant and bar.
Wicked Wolf Tavern, 144 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 752-0450. 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.
Zafra Cuban Restaurant & Rum Bar, 259 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 859-5342. Extremely wide selection of rums. Salsa dancing on Sundays from 7-11 p.m.
[THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2011. FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2012 EVENTS, CLICK HERE.]