A 3,000-square-foot pub-style restaurant with a crunchy sports-bar center, Black Bear Saloon lures revelers with its happening atmosphere and anchors them in place with a classic American menu. An extensive appetizer menu primes jaw muscles for a marathon meal with starters such as deep-fried mac 'n' cheese bites with marinara sauce or calamari tricked out with buffalo sauce and crumbled bleu cheese. Whetted appetites move onto belly-filling entrees such as a full rack of ribs—slow-roasted, grilled, and slathered in barbecue sauce—or beer-battered cod with creamy tartar sauce, french fries, and coleslaw. Diners toast to the recently confirmed existence of The Santa Claus: Deluxe DVD Edition with two hefty mugs of domestic brews such as Miller Lite, Budweiser, or Black Bear Ale.
Pubcrawls.com arranges safe, lively walking treks to popular, bustling watering holes in dozens of cities across the United States and Canada. The jovial jaunts have earned ample press for shepherding revelers to multiple bars and clubs throughout the course of a day or evening. At each venue, bartenders regale participants with exclusive drink specials and conversations with sentient beer mugs. Many events are tailored around holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween, or costume-friendly themes such as Michael Jackson and superheroes.
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.
Joker's Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene. The intimate venue, which recently replaced its space-hogging booths with brand-new seats, features headlining comedians who fill Thursday–Saturday evenings with laughter during 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. On Wednesday night, fledgling funny folk strive for their five minutes of fame at open mic night. Joker’s Wild also runs its own School of Comedy, where budding comedians can chase their dreams of cracking up audiences and keeping glasses of water on a stool. The club’s full menu of pub food mutes growling stomachs with appetizers and entrees for patrons hoping to perfect an onion-ring spit take.
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 Tavern 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 favorite Irish entrees such as bacon-topped calf's liver ($14.99) and thinly sliced pot roast ($13.99), in addition to twin 8 oz. pork chops served with Cajun spices ($15.99). Diners can stop by at noontime for lunch, including sandwiches such as the lobster grilled cheese with scallions ($14.99). 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.