Harp & Dragon's casual atmosphere sets the stage for classic pub eats alongside a full bar with 36 beers on tap. Hosts of sandwiches and burgers dive into friendly mouths and laps, such as the Harp & Dragon burger ($8.95), which piles a half-pound beef patty, sauteed mushrooms, melted Swiss, and leek sauce. Dive into rich, hearty bowls of irish stew ($11.95), or revel in the steadfast meat and dairy delights of a cheesesteak ($12.95). Savor traditional flavors in forms such as bangers and mash ($14.95), succulent irish sausage draped over a throne of garlic mashed potatoes swimming in shiraz onion gravy, or fish and chips ($14.95), named after misprinted instructions for ice fishermen.
Owner John Graham, an alumnus of notable Connecticut restaurants such as Constantine’s and Frank’s Gourmet Grille, opened The Hearsay Bar & Grille with his wife, Kellie. Located in New London, a town close to their hearts, the pair dishes up a menu of casual eats, from their signature lobster bisque to slabs of fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. An advocate for locally sourced spirits, The Hearsay is the first establishment in the area to serve Onyx Moonshine and Kra-ze Vodka, which, like Yale’s valedictorians, are produced in local fermentation tanks. Bartenders mix drinks with Grey Goose vodka and Johnnie Walker whiskey beneath the lambent glow of four widescreen TVs that entertain diners beside a rotating slate of disc-spinning DJs and acoustic crooners.
With a rich backstory and 15 years in the brew business, Cottrell Brewing Co. opens its brewery doors for free tours and tastings of its award-winning libations. Tours are available every half-hour on Friday’s from 3–6 p.m. and Saturdays from 1–5 p.m. Show respect for the flagship Old Yankee Ale, awarded an A+ by the founders of Beer Advocate for its citrus hop aroma and social skills around burgers and french fries. The brewery's merchandise includes the logoed pint glass ($5), a T-shirt ($15), and a sweatshirt ($25) perfect for soaking up any beer missed by the mouth. Cottrell Brewing Co. inhabits 9,000 square feet of a factory once owned by the brewmaster's great-great-grandfather, who ran a highly successful printing press and sub–4-minute mile.
The 32 taps give Pub 32 its name, with the stocky pint shape of the Guinness tap and the crimson oval of Stella Artois set off against the backlit rows of bottle. The rotating selection of brews has included options from Magic Hat, Magners, Opa Opa, and Dogfish Head. Seven high-definition televisions blast sporting events such as Monday-night football, UConn games, and beard-growing contests. During events, karaoke singers launch the strains of pop anthems up toward the caramel-hued whorls of the wooden ceiling. During open-mic nights, live music fills the bar with the sounds of jangling guitars.
Recently named the state’s best family dining restaurant by Connecticut Managzine, Chips’ Pub III fills the bellies of its guests with steaks, seafood, and other homestyle dishes. An impressive list of 15 hand-pressed burgers, each char-broiled over an open hearth, dominates the menu, which also features Chips’ specialties such as the Primo prime rib with housemade horseradish, and platters of scallops, shrimp, and calamari.
The rural Irish village of Gleann Beithe stands across the ocean from Hartford, but according to the road sign inside Hanafin's Public House, 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.