Wide, high-arched windows usher sunlight into a dining room anchored by brick columns and a brick fireplace. Behind the dark wood bar, bottles and taps spill craft beers whose names bedeck a chalkboard menu. Under a constellation of speakers suspended from the ceiling, diners chow down on slices of gourmet pizza. John Dough's signature is the fresh clam pizza, a white pie decorated with littleneck clams that the chef shucks to order after fishing them from olive oil seas. Classic margherita, chicken pesto, and sausage and hot oil pizzas also sail out of the restaurant's oven, while custom pies show off a customer's choice of toppings.
Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.
Energetic instructors at Work It lead cardio, dance, and fitness classes seven days a week, cycling through yoga poses and spinning around poles in workouts that avoid gym monotony. Cadres of exercisers move to blood-pumping Latin–based choreography in cardio-heavy Zumba courses ($18/class), where alternating quick and slow tempos create a temporal distortion field previously accessible only to the funkiest physicists. Introductory pole-dancing courses ($25/class) let practitioners build strength and confidence as they twirl aerobically around metallic dance partners who never slip or insist on solo river-dancing routines.
BJ Ryan's dishes out hearty entrees and effervescent brews in an industrial-chic atmosphere. Diners slide into banquettes or dark wooden chairs and tuck into steak sandwiches inspired by New York and Philadelphia or cuts and chops lavished with sauces from chimichurri to béarnaise. Pizzas on white or whole-wheat crusts embrace decadent toppings such as truffle oil or gruyere cheese, and plates of geometric ravioli complement the dining room's rustic exposed-brick walls hung with large plasma televisions. Carved wood encircles the bar, whose inlaid mirrors reflect golden pints of house brews and the haunting stares of bottled spirits. BJ Ryan's also crafts platters of small bites, wings, and pizzas for special events.
An oversize globe floats above the wine sippers at Beach Gallery & Café, but it is not held up by a freelancing titan. Instead, the sphere perches on a homemade bird's nest symbolic of BG&C's commitment to the environment. Exhibitions of nature photography bedeck the café-cum-art-gallery's warm orange walls, and a portion of each purchase from the menu of frittatas, pastries, and cheeses goes toward environmental efforts. On many evenings, live jazz, soul, and blues music washes down glasses of international and domestic wines or the café's signature coffee drinks such as the corto, a single shot distilled from strong blended beans.
The Music Theatre of Connecticut, an Equity acting company fueled by leading talent from Broadway, celebrates 25 years of award-winning performances with a winter production of John Cariani's popular romantic comedy Almost, Maine. Set in a tiny, mythical town on a midwinter's night, the tale explores how love appears, disappears, and morphs into a bat when dawn approaches. Nineteen characters populate nearly a dozen vignettes, which intertwine to reveal how chilly weather, a remote location, and the magical glow of the Northern Lights comprise an ideal recipe for both romance and heartbreak. The plot unfolds in a 50-seat studio theater, whose prime sight lines let guests glimpse the actors' subtle gestures and tattoos of Laurence Olivier.
Chefs at Darien Social draw on their supplies of New England grown produce, farm raised meats, and local artisan products to craft their menu of American food. Entrees have included New York strip steaks with buttermilk onion rings, bone marrow, and creamed spinach and duck pizzas crowned with gruyere, duck confit, molasses, and squash crunch. To pair with rotating seasonal ingredients, the bartenders dispense a rotating selection of 31 different craft beers on draft and pour international wines.