Craft beers and a list of premium whiskeys. Football, both American and international. Plates of shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, and beer-braised corned beef. Though McLadden's asserts its Irish roots in a number of visible ways, the gastropub and whiskey bar also offers a unique craft-beer experience. Ales, stouts, and lagers lace many of the dishes that sail to tables in the pub, which guests can consume in comfortable, laid-back confines.
Uncorked, a new wine bar and bistro, sells 68 varieties of white and red wine in 1 oz., 3 oz., and 6 oz. portions, and juxtaposes each sip with a diverse dinner menu, complete with wine suggestions. The bar uses WineStation technology to seal wines in oxygen-free, temperature-controlled dispensers that ensure freshness 20 times longer than traditional storage and prevent Supreme Court justices from mixing all the wines in one glass and daring each other to drink it. Bottles date from 1967 to the present, and two 100-point wines are offered in selections as small as an ounce. Elegant entrees, such as the Pad Thai Provencal—which mingles Lola duck or shrimp with pad thai noodles, scallions, carrots, walnuts, garlic, and curry sauce—complement whatever artful grape-mash you gravitate toward ($22). Uncorked's full bar also lubricates creaky conversations with carefully stirred cocktails and carefully shaken beer.
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.
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.