At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
In September 2010, a trio of beer-brewing buds joined forces to form Broad Brook Brewing Company. By February of the next year, their ales and lagers had netted ribbons at several regional and national contests. By July, the team was already dreaming up its own taproom. These days, that taproom hosts rotating drafts of year-round, seasonal, and specialty beers, ranging from IPAs made with seven hop varieties to imperial ales brewed with local honey. A menu highlights nearby restaurants that deliver grub, and tours showcase the 15-barrel system that yields each of the microbrewery?s batches. For patrons that can?t stick around, bartenders fill growlers with to-go brews, a less sticky alternative to pouring beer into your cupped hands.