Sweet Jane's Rock'n'Roll Eatery: Eat. Drink. Play.
This downtown bar/restaurant opened in the winter of 2006. It's nestled comfortably on the sometimes pedestrian only Pratt Street, close to the Civic Center (or whatever it's called now). You can find great better-than-pub style food, I heartily recommend the fried pickles. There's live music several nights a week, and it's home to Hartford's only Indie dance night, Shag Frenzy (see my tip on that elsewhere).
Dress Code: It's a rock'n'roll bar, so anything goes.
Sully's Pub: Live Music Every Night
It's this tiny bar that has live music every night of the week. Sully's has a lot of good energy and an ecclectic mix of styles with an acoustic night every Monday and a hip-hop jam every Tuesday. There is a great pizza place next door so you won't have to go hungry or broke. They also set up a Tiki bar outside (in the summer) and they set up a tent for the smokers, as it is hard to find a place you can smoke indoors in CT since they passed a law.
Dress Code: No code
Hartford Stage Company: New Plays
A larger theater than Theatreworks producing new plays as well as some classics. The show I saw was engaging and well acted with some difficult issues which didn't end up as cliches. I would go again for a nice evening out expecting a performance of 7 out of 10.
City Steam Brewery Cafe: Ale For All!!
So much in one building. A brewery, a 7 level restaurant, a comedy club, pool room; afun time for all tastes. Built in 1877 as a department store, it has survived to become a landmark in Hartford!
Dress Code: Casual
Horace Bushnell Theatre: Shows and Musicals
The Bushnell is Hartford's major place for night entertainment like theatre plays, musicals, shows and such with about 500 events per year. It is located in the heart of the city, next to the State Capitol. We didn't attend a show there, which I regret, but I can imagine they must be good from what I heard. They also perform ballet, opera, symphony etc. - but I'm reluctant to recommend those for afficionados. Not sure about the quality there.
The building is quite beautiful. The interior of some halls is even *magnificent* Art Deco.
Dress Code: Casual mostly I think.
- Arts and Culture
- Theater Travel
Shag Frenzy at Sweet Janes's: Shag Frenzy!
Shag Frenzy is Hartford's only and longest running indie dance night. DJ's Johnny Strangler and Garage Flower have been spinning their mix of Glam, Punk, New Wave, Britpop, Indie dance since 2004.
It happens the 3rd Saturday of every month, but there are often bands early in the night, followed by near debaucherous disco 'til 2am.
I've been taking photographs here since it's inception, so stop by and I'll snap you up and make you locally famous.
Dress Code: With so many musical influences, anything goes!
Chez Est and The Polo Club: The gay clubs
Chez Est is at 458 Wethersfield Ave; The Polo Club is at 678 Maple Ave. Both seem to get a good crowd.
Dress Code: Never been inside either one, but considering the eyeful I got one summer night at closing time when the Polo Club had their door open & I was waiting for a customer to come out, I want to say WHAT dress??! (Actually, it was a male performer, not a customer, but he didn't have much else besides the essentials covered!)
- Gay and Lesbian
- Business Travel
Bar/Club district: A selection of clubs within a small area
In the 2-block area enclosed by the train station, the Civic Center, Church St. and Asylum St., you have a selection of about a dozen establishments--bars, clubs, a sports bar--if you don't like one, just go across the street or around the corner--or in some cases just go upstairs! If you want to go a little farther afield, the cabs are just the other side of the train station. After the bars close (1 am Sun-Thurs, 2 am Fri-Sat, by state law), there are a couple of pizza places right in the same area to grab a bite before going home.
Dress Code: ALL kinds--observing the attire is half the fun of people-watching in this area.
Theatreworks: Theatre to Remember
An intimate theater where I saw a couple one woman shows with Tovah Feldshuh. They gave me a strong feeling that I knew the character and she engaged the audience without breaking the story. For me they were a highlight of my theater experience.
There was also opportunity to talk to the actress after the play.