City Sports Grille is too inviting for just one bar. That's why there are two. Beneath the twinkle of charming Christmas lights and the blue glow of more than 25 high-definition TVs, the Bristol location bustles with the friendly din of diners and drinkers. Meanwhile, the golden interior of the Vernon location bathes each patron in welcoming warmth augmented by the sounds of the day’s sports highlights. Both bars feature a similar menu of pub-friendly grub, including chargrilled pizzas and flatbreads, half-pound burgers, and wraps that lovingly embrace hunger before utterly defeating it. Each location hosts special events on most nights, including karaoke on Thursdays and free pool on Wednesdays in Bristol and Wednesday trivia and live music on Saturdays in Vernon.
The floor-to-ceiling windows at Wicked Stick Tavern allow in plenty of natural light while displaying expansive views of Pine Valley Golf Course. As diners watch golfers send balls across the green from within pure white and forest green rooms, they can slice into center-cut pork chops stuffed with apples and sausages or twirl fresh strands of linguini around their forks, content with the knowledge that everything on the menu is made in-house from scratch. The restaurant also remains open during the off-season, entertaining guests with a row of flat-screen televisions and live music on some nights.
For over a decade Zen Bar has been known for being Connecticut's home for the Best in Karaoke and Local/Regional bands. Zen Bar's atmosphere is one that allows you to unwind with your friends and enjoy and evening of fantastic music, food and fun.
The vibrant reds and oranges of Gobi Mongolian Grill hint at the heat of a flat-top grill, which releases sizzling arpeggios as food hits the surface. Diners shuffle down a lineup of ingredients, choosing tilapia, beef, noodles, shallots, and snow peas for bowls of stir-fry. A variety of sauces waits to add the earthy sweetness of teriyaki or mongolian barbecue sauce’s warm bite of garlic and ginger. Their spatulas dancing noisily, chefs at the grill use blazing heat to evenly cook bowls of stir-fry or interrogate flammable scarecrows.
Plan B Burger Bar boasts a bevy of natural burgers that have received the a-okay from Certified Humane, ensuring that every beefy bite is pure, pristine, and chemical-free. Make friends with the menu and opt for one of the restaurant's 20 burgers, each hand-ground on the premises daily and served with a choice of fries or organic greens. Customer favorites include the bacon cheeseburger ($10.99), with American cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic mayo; the appealing appetizer of three mini cheeseburgers ($9.59) with parmesan fries; the blue-cheese burger ($11.99), topped with caramelized onions and bourbon barbecue sauce; and the signature Tavern Classic ($9.99), topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and Plan B's special sauce. Non-bunned plates include a lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($19.99), spaghetti and meatballs ($12.99), and grilled salmon ($15.99).
It’s considered normal for a restaurant to enter a float or banner in a town parade, but in general, these contributions are all made by humans. Corner Pug breaks this tradition each year during West Hartford’s Park Road Parade, gathering local pugs to march down the street with their owners, each pup dressed to the nines in an attempt to win an award for best costume or most flattering hemline.
This annual spectacle is in keeping with the whimsy that surrounds the pub all year long. Framed photos of pugs brought in by devoted owners line the walls to form a canine shrine, and these pups peer enviously at the endless line-up of thick burgers, organic strip steaks, and English pub classics that parade to tables. In between sips of 20-ounce draft beers, visitors should keep their eyes peeled for sightings of Corner Pug’s mascot—Mac, the pug—whose likeness graces everything from the menu to T-shirts, mugs, and bottles of housemade dressing.
Despite the pub’s jocular ambiance, the kitchen staff takes its job seriously—albeit with a wink and a nod, reportedly employing a macaroni technician to make sure each noodle is standing upright. But Corner Pug’s attention to detail (they even serve the fish ’n’ chips on London newspaper print) has paid off, earning the eatery a perennial spot on the Hartford Advocate’s Best-Of list.