By Alison Geisler
10:05 AM EDT, May 15, 2013
990 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 907-0238, ordinarynewhaven.com.
Beloved, well-established and longstanding businesses go under due to the economy, and that sucks. For about five years now, we've watched store after restaurant after bar close their doors for fiscal reasons. The traces of businesses lost get erased in favor of shiny new stuff and someone else's decorative opinion, if the place reopens. But rarely (and much-appreciatedly), a new venture comes in to revive a spot with the same charm and feel as its former occupier, for the purpose of keeping that iconic piece of history alive and well. Ordinary, the new bar in Richter's Cafe's old home, is exactly that. But "ordinary" it is not.
Richter's Cafe closed in June of 2011, after providing a look into New Haven's past for nearly 30 years. The space itself was the tap room for the Taft hotel back in the day, and its walls are lined with the original Taft hotel's dark wood paneling. At Richter's, it was a bit dark inside, the atmosphere was cozy, and the price was right. It was a good date spot and a great meeting place for a group of friends. Now — thanks to Jason Sobocinski and Timothy Cabral of Caseus, Sobocinski's brother Thomas, and Mike Farber of Mikro — Richter's has been spruced up and dusted off, allowing the bar's original woodwork and history to live on.
While it's been open for a bit, Ordinary's grand-opening celebration took place on Wed., May 8. Sobocinski and his staff stood in front of the bar's double doors to cut the blue ribbon (with giant scissors, of course) to make it official. Inside, Ordinary oozes old-timey charm. The dark walls and rows of shiny glasses makes one feel like they stumbled upon a fancy secret. Tables line the back room for conversing or munching on pies from the Sixpence Pie Co., and a big moose head is mounted over the mantle. It's the kind of place where beers are sipped, not guzzled, because you almost feel like you're at a very rich person's house.
Ordinary's beer selection is not for those looking to down a few Coors Lights on the way to Crown Street. Several imported craft beers are on tap, and beer drinkers will surely find their favorite flavors here. A wicked selection of fine meats and cheeses (and those pies, like spinach artichoke or pork and apple) go nicely with the beer.
The food is not for scarfing. And the drinks, which include artisan cocktails and wines in addition to the beer, are not for chugging. Ordinary is a place to hang out, take a breather, have a real conversation, and spend some time shielded from nightlife nonsense.
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