Bars in North Branford

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The flames at Prime American Grille have escaped the kitchen. Not only do they live inside the sizzling-hot grill, they also exist atop flickering candles and inside the dining room's roaring fireplace. Flame-kissed rib-eye and new york strip steaks arrive at tables coated in house-made peppercorn, gorgonzola, or mushroom-and-onion sauces. Chefs also bolster their menu with ocean-fresh seafood, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Bottles of wine litter a massive rack inside the restaurant's dining room, which boasts a warm color palette, dark woods, and strategically placed mirrors that make the space feel airy and light, like a helium balloon filled with tossed salad. On the weekends, Prime American Grille pulses with live music from DJs and bands, and each night, diners can sit at the full bar to watch sports on seven flat-screen televisions.

420 E Main St
Branford,
CT
US

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.

30 Selden St
Woodbridge,
CT
US

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.

232 Wooster St
New Haven,
CT
US

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.

161 Park St
New Haven,
CT
US

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.

196 Crown St
New Haven,
CT
US

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.

860 State St
New Haven,
CT
US