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.
A night of dinner, drinks, and dancing doesn't always have to involve three different destinations. At Shish Restaurant & Lounge, visitors can do all three, seamlessly. While they cozy up on a leather sofa, the wait staff ferries Middle-Eastern cuisine such as small plates of baba ghanoush and grape leaves as well as flatbreads decorated with lamb, hallumi, and olives. From the bar, servers transport nine signature cocktails, flutes of seven types of champagne, and draft and bottled beers to lounging diners as they watch other cut a rug on the giant dance floor. Whether visiting on swing-dance Wednesdays, Latin Thursdays, or DJ-party Fridays, there is always something to watch.
The close-knit crew at DoLittle’s Restaurant slings out a diverse menu of continental cuisine that runs the gamut from basic burgers and pastas to lobster tails and steak. Patrons seeking homespun fare can dive into Cajun-chicken-club wraps ($14) and baskets of crispy fish 'n' chips ($15) and upscale appetites chow down on 16-ounce New York–sirloin steak ($22) or seafood pasta teeming with mussels, clams, and shrimp ($22). As the fight about the herb-stuffed brie ($12) and its toasted french bread and green-apple slices rages at tables around the room, DoLittle’s Restaurant’s master mixologists are busy behind the bar pouring drams of ale and whipping up cocktails.
Hailed by none other than the New York Times for eclectic dishes that combine “a homey touch with a dash of originality,” The Pine Social throws a sophisticated spin on traditional American comfort fare. Chandeliers cast a soft glow on tables situated side by side within the tavern-like restaurant and lounge, which anchors its menu on free-range meats, ocean-fresh fish, and locally sourced produce. The kitchen’s homemade sausage and slow-braised beef short ribs are not to be missed, based on their own merits as well as their shared ability to whet palates for the dessert menu’s warm apple spring rolls. Sips of aged scotch and spiked, hot apple cider thaw jaws frozen agape at the tavern’s dark-stained walls, rustic wooden accents, and plush furnishings. Light from high-definition TVs glints off the bar’s full-service spirits station, beside which guests can treat their ears to music that pours forth from live bands on Thursday and Friday nights.
The contemporary wood-paneled elegance of Butterfield 8's U-shaped leather booths and lamp-lit dining room complements the menu of urban American gastropub fare. Quash your hunger with the chipotle brisket nachos, bulging beneath the tasteful weight of pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and chipotle pulled chicken ($12). Buttery mashed potatoes and crispy onions adorn the sauce-drizzled peppercorn skirt steak ($20), and the memphis pulled-pork sliders ($12) satiate mouths with bite-size morsels of flavor. Spread out in the spacious booths and imbibe the alchemical concoctions of specialty cocktails ($10) such as a dirty bleu martini, an ocean of Belvedere vodka bobbing with buoys of blue-cheese-stuffed olives, a drink as elegant as a chandelier in fur coat. Finish the feast with the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough smash, an iron skillet filled with half-baked cookie oozing beneath ice cream and chocolate sauce ($8).
Executive chef and owner Matthew Guiffrida infuses contemporary fare with an innovative spirit in Muse Restaurant & Aquatic Lounge’s menu, which has been lauded in the New York Times. Not Ya Mama’s meatballs ($12) dress up the savory spheres in four varieties: Asian-style with sweet-and-spicy chili sauce, Italian-style with pomodoro sauce and shaved parmesan, a Thanksgiving-inspired treatment with a cranberry and caramelized-vidalia-onion compote, and standard swedish. Upscale couch potatoes can surround themselves with elegance without sneaking into a king's blanket fort as they feast on The T.V. Dinner, which consists of milk-fed-veal meat loaf with grilled portobellos and homemade ketchup glaze ($26). The Breakfast 4 Supper cloaks black-pepper-and-parmesan french toast with chipotle-maple syrup, served alongside sweet-potato corned-beef hash, a poached egg, and béarnaise sauce ($24). Simply Grilled entrees give new york strip or Atlantic salmon a more minimalist treatment and an entourage of garlic-infused whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus ($29).