Although The Hitchin' Post Tavern is nestled in New England, cowboys and cowgirls flock to the southwestern bar and grill to feast on a menu of American favorites with a south-of-the-border twist. When they’re not eating, guests can dance while bands play rock classics and modern hits. During themed nights, such as the Hoedown, partygoers dressed in their finest cowboy hats and overalls can imbibe dozens of beers on tap, in a bottle or can, or loaded with other extras at the full bar. The bar also pours wine, shots, and martinis, such as the espresso and the Sugar Cookie, which can take the place of after-dinner coffee and dessert.
The deep swell of rolling balls and cacophony of falling pins punctuate conversations at family-friendly Amity Bowl. After retrieving shoes and selecting spherical pin-bashing implements, pairs of guests will assume command of a lacquered lane for ten frames of relaxed collaboration or energetic competition. Partake in traditionally lit pin-thrashing, or revel in the dim splendor of cosmic bowling, which, like most leisure and every incident of smearing toothpaste in a friend's hair, occurs during the weekend. Two frosty cups of bubbly beverages may help reinvigorate wearied bowlers during the seventh-frame stretch. As an automated mouth at the lane’s end continues restocking its hourglass-shaped teeth, bowlers may also visit the snack bar to sink their own teeth into classic bowling-alley munchies.
Jokers Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene as they hurl laugh-igniting jokes into the eager ears of audiences. Upcoming comics include Cal Verduchi (March 9–10), a Comedy Central veteran who specializes in uproariously raunchy impressions of celebrities ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Kermit the Frog. Known for his appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and MTV's 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour, Joel Lindley (March 16–17) wields and old-school deadpan demeanor to deliver self-deprecating stories and curmudgeonly one-liners. Richie Byrne (March 23–24) melds his experience on VH1 and The Rosie O'Donnell show with a successful acting career—including stints on Sex and the City and The Sopranos —to dominate the stage, drawing audiences into exquisitely detailed stories with engaging physicality and sonic mimicry.
Since 1974, Viva Zapata’s interior has cloaked diners in rustic comfort, complete with brick walls and wooden beams from a 200-year-old barn. A suit of armor stands guard at the eatery’s entrance, scaring away door-to-door jousters but allowing all others to enter the softly lit dining area bedecked with Mexican tapestries and antiques. Candlelight flickers across wooden tables that support homemade enchiladas, burritos, and marinated steak flanked by grilled peppers and onions. Baskets of complimentary peanuts beckon guests to throw spent shells on the ground as they did in the days before legumes grew naturally in prepackaged canisters, and barrel lamps at the bar illuminate a selection of domestic and imported beers and freshly concocted margaritas.
A combination corner bar and haute cuisine restaurant, Christopher Martin's Restaurant and Pub keeps it local with cheeses from Colchester, ice cream from Milford, beef from Barkhamsted, and beers poured right behind the bar. A neighborhood fixture for more than a quarter century, the eatery's seasonal menus reflect their commitment to freshness and their unflagging creativity. Whether splitting orders of butternut-squash ravioli or creamy goat-cheese medallions in the dining room or clinking glasses of local brews over seafood pot stickers in the pub area, guests get a flavorful taste of New England living.
Since 1983, the family-owned Duffy's has served a tasty assortment of Irish fare, comfort cuisine, fresh seafood, and juicy steaks, helping prepare bellies for a bevy of pints soon to follow. Duffy's dinner menu starts with Irish favorites such as bacon-topped calf's liver ($14.95) and thinly sliced pot roast ($13.95), in addition to its thick, signature burgers ($8.50). Diners can stop by at noontime for lunch, whereas night owls can drop in at moontime for late-night eats such as cheddar-smothered potato skins ($7.95). To drink, Duffy's offers Irish standards such as Guinness and Smithwick's on tap, as well as a seasonal rotation of palate-pleasing martinis and cocktails. Duffy's interior is furnished with oak antiques, giving off a warm vibe that is part speakeasy, part authentic Irish pub, but without the pesky infusion of James Joyce practicing his sitar from beyond the grave. Slide into a cozy booth, or settle into the wicker furniture on the outdoor patio, which boasts custom Celtic iron railings, a blue stone stamped patio, and a see-through gas fireplace.