The rural Irish village of Gleann Beithe stands across the ocean from Hartford, but according to the road sign inside Hanafin’s Irish Pub, it's only 18 kilometers away. Built from heavy wooden beams that gleam in the light of hanging lamps, the pub mirrors Ireland's public houses in appearance and spirit. Here, guests socialize, imbibe Irish whiskeys and draft beers, and dine on traditional Irish meals, such as corned beef and cabbage. The cooks add an American twist to tradition with dishes such as Prince Edward Island mussels in Guinness cream sauce and potato pizza topped with mashed potatoes, green onions, and aged cheddar. To entertain guests as they nosh, large screens broadcast football games and bare-handed boxing matches between major-network weathermen. The pub also holds a trivia night that won a spot on CBS Connecticut's Best Bars for Trivia Nights list.
Rooftop120 welcomes visitors into a high-class cosmopolitan atmosphere of year-round rooftop seating, potent martinis, fresh oysters, and seasonal dishes that showcase a variety of culinary styles. The bill of fare promises beers, wines, and cocktails paired with fresh ahi tuna, truffle-tinged fries, heirloom-tomato salads, and other small plates made from local produce that earned accolades from the Hartford Advocate as one of the best new bars, restaurants, and outdoor-dining destinations of 2012. Live bands or piano music set a soundtrack for nights out on the town, and sports packages keep fans informed of the latest on-field exploits and product endorsements from their favorite athletes. The seasonal menu and adaptable space keep guests comfortable and satisfied throughout the year, as they gather around the crackling fire pit and dine on butternut-squash soup in colder months or sip refreshing cocktails on the open-air patio in the summer.
Arthur Murray's experienced instructors and owners, including some who have worked with shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars, stand ready and waiting to teach students in the ways of balance and coordinated rhythmic motion. Bring a partner to your two private lessons or fly solo and dance with your instructor. In either case, you'll leave with a greater understanding of the dance style of your choosing. These lessons are ideal for a betrothed pair prepping for the big wedding dance or a fledgling fitness seeker looking for a fun new way to get in shipshape. Stick to a stately waltz, spicy up life with a rumba, or feel vibrant and playful with a few swing steps in your personal repertoire. Whether you're an experienced dancer hoping to brush up on certain techniques or you have two left feet for feet and two right feet for hands, private lessons at Arthur Murray Dance Studio offer bountiful, dance-based benefits. This Groupon also allows dancers to stop in for two group classes to put their newly acquired skills to the test.
Bluto's Bar and Grill's flame masters sizzle up a menu brimming with hearty appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, and salads within an activity-abundant nosh haven. Avoid gabbing about presidential candidates at the dinner table and instead argue about the electability of thin-crust pizza toppings, such as roasted red pepper, meatball, mushroom, or the inarticulate yet photogenic eggplant ($12.99 for a small with 4 toppings). Or create your own 100% Angus beef burger ($8.99 for a half pound), which flaunts your choice of cheese and sauce—such as honey mustard, garlic parmesan, or teriyaki— and nestles up to a side of sweet-potato fries. Cooks submerge bare or breaded chicken wings ($9.95 for 12) into a dunk tank of teriyaki, garlic parmesan, honey mustard, or barbecue before setting them free to roam the esophageal plains.
The Russian Lady's two locations, one in Hartford and one in New Haven, straddle the line between tradition and modernity. In the midst of Victorian wall sconces, orthodox church windows, heavy wooden doors, and neoclassical gilded gratings, guests dance to live music under the glow of neon lights. At both locations, a stone sculpture of Catherine the Great watches over the entrance and checks IDs as revelers peruse an extensive menu of red wines, single-malt scotches, and dozens of variations on a Russian staple: vodka. At the New Haven outpost, small plates from an internationally inspired tapas menu are paired with 40 draft beers, including eight local Connecticut brews.
Spotlight Theaters’ screens enrapture audiences with first-run movies. In each movie house, digital sounds and visual projections of fresh Hollywood films alight inner emotions of audiences resting in plush, high-backed seats—each outfitted with a coin-operated mustache comb—or thrown directly into the action through 3-D technology. As eyes and ears relish motion-picture pursuits, soda, candy, and bounties of salty, crunchy popcorn emerge from the concession stand to occupy chatty mouths or catapult towards the screen to feed the hungry actors. Front Street’s brand new Spotlight Theater also houses a full-service restaurant and will soon feature themed movie-and-food pairings, such as French cuisine with French films.
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.