[THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2011. FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2012 EVENTS, CLICK HERE.]
116 Crown, 116 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 777-3116. Super classy bar with inventive cocktails and small plate offerings. Check out the room with the iPod dock, a definite date destination.
168 York St. Café, 168 York St., New Haven, (203) 789-1915. Low-key, popular gay-friendly bar. Weeknight happy hour and a Beer Bash on Thursday and Sunday nights featuring super cheap imports and domestics.
Alchemy Nightclub, 223 College St., New Haven, (203) 777-9400. Dance club seven nights a week, with theme nights, bachelorette parties and more.
The Anchor, 272 College St., New Haven, (203) 865-1512. 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., New Haven, (203) 773-1776. Beers and brogues, and hearty Irish eats. One of a handful of pubs staffed in part by real Irishpersons. Live bands on weekend nights.
Archie Moore's, 188 1/2 Willow St., New Haven, (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. 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. Small, popular Irish pub by the Guilford Green.
BAR, 254 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 495-8924. Bru Rm: (203) 495-1111. 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., New Haven, (203) 848-3000. 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., New Haven, (203) 562-2327; Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford, (203) 301-0778. 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.
Buffalo Wild Wings, 74-76 Church St., New Haven, (203) 789-9453; Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford, (203) 877-WILD. Wings, beer, sports — what else do you need? Burgers, salads, 14 sauces for wings.
c.o. jones, 969 State St., New Haven, (203) 773-3344. 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., New Haven, (203) 789-8281. 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., New Haven, (475) 238-8335. Upscale American pub with an extensive beer selection, including cask-conditioned ales and vintage bottles.
Cave a Vin, 975 State St., New Haven, (203) 777-6206. Wine, artisan cheeses, tapas and desserts. Entertainment Friday and Saturday, 8-11 p.m.
Christopher Martins, 860 State St., New Haven, (203) 776-8835. A fine restaurant on one side and a lively neighborhood bar on the other.
Club Van Dome, 102 Hamilton St., New Haven, (203) 789-2066. Two rooms full of Latin and hip-hop beats.
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.
Delaney's Restaurant and Taproom, 882 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 397-5494. 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., New Haven, (203) 776-9899. Hip, stylish and draped in neon. Check out the martini list.
Donovan's Reef, 1212 Main St., Branford, (203) 488-5573. A big restaurant and bar with live bands on weekends and friendly bartenders.
The Dutch Tavern, 23 Green St., New London, (860) 442-3453. Eugene O'Neill used to drink here, and it's now run by one of the city's legendary Reducers, Peter Detmold.
Elevate Lounge & Event Space, 239 Crown St., New Haven. Upscale lounge with a state-of-the-art sound and LED lighting system. Performances by international House DJs. Theme nights, bottle service.
Elm Bar, 372 Elm St., New Haven, (475) 238-8529. 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., New Haven, (203) 785-0468. 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 and Southwest Grill, 271 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 777-7700. Dramatic patio above the street, tableside guacamole, tequila tastings and tequila pairing dinners.
J.P. Dempsey's, 974 State St., New Haven, (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., New Haven, (203) 562-0046. 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).
La Luna Ristorante, 168 N. Main St., Branford, (203) 483-9995. Great selection of wines. Voted Best Brunch in New Haven County by Connecticut Magazine.
Lenny's Indian Head Inn, 205 S. Montowese St., Branford, (203) 488-1500. Ladies' night is Thursday night.
Lilly's Pad, 300 York St., New Haven, (203) 624-8223. A separate, swanky lounge section of Toad's Place, overlooking York Street. Nice bathrooms.
Mikro Beer Bar & Bistro, 3000 Whitney Ave., Hamden, (203) 553-7676. 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., New Haven, (203) 387-5939. Divey Westville enclave with popular darts matches.
Olde School Saloon and Bistro, 418 State St., New Haven, (203) 772-0544. Fresh comfort food and find dining with a vintage copper-top bar.
Oliver's Taverne, 124 Westbrook Rd. (Rte. 153), Essex, (860) 767-2633. 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. 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., New Haven, (203) 624-3250. The long-respected tobacconist is also that rare bar and restaurant where — wait for it — you can smoke inside.
Partners Café, 365 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 776-1014. Gay bar with a variety of entertainment, including male dancers, Latin nights, drag shows, leather nights and karaoke.
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.]