8 Best Unique Bars in Connecticut

If you’re tired of a standard bar experience, try something new this weekend with a visit to one of Connecticut’s one-of-a-kind bars. From vintage arcade bars, to cigar bars, to intimate jazz spaces, Connecticut offers some very unique drinking establishments. Discover the eight best unique bars ready to serve you on your next night out.

1. Barcade, New Haven, CT

Barcade is the video game lover’s dream bar, as it is packed with old arcade games. Find the Addams Family, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man—Barcade has so many vintage arcade games that any game connoisseur would be pleased. And, high scores are posted on their website so the competitive soul can see what they need to beat for bragging rights. As you’d expect, the bar also has drinks and food, and is a great place to hang out for happy hour. 

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2. Sully’s Pub, Hartford, CT

Sully’s Pub offers a tiki bar complete with wooden décor, outdoor tables with umbrellas, and an indoor space with a full bar. Sully’s offers several beers on tap as well as a variety of sprits to create mixed drinks. Though the outdoor tiki bar is only open seasonally, it is definitely worth a visit and offers two floors plus outdoor space to enjoy drinks and live music.

3. The Owl Shop, New Haven, CT

The Owl Shop, a bar that’s been open for more than 50 years, specializes in unique blends of tobacco and cigars. This cigar and smoking lounge is one of the last establishments in Connecticut to allow indoor smoking. The lounge atmosphere is set with displays of items available for purchase including unique, hand carved pipes, board games, and more. You can also enjoy drinks from their full bar.

4. The Side Door, Old Lyme, CT

Located within the beautiful Old Lyme Inn, the Side Door is an intimate jazz bar that attracts numerous popular jazz musicians. The events schedule is always loaded and has included performers such as the Nat Reeves Quintet, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and the Ravi Coltrane Quartet. The Side Door offers a full bar, so those here for an elegant evening of jazz can enjoy a well-crafted drink.

5. Black-Eyed Sally’s, Hartford, CT

Black-Eyed Sally’s is a bar featuring frequent live music shows, with a focus on rock, jazz, and blues music. The focal point of this music-focused bar is their stage bedecked with red curtains, with a live performer commanding the audience’s attention. Live music is scheduled almost nightly, with performers such as Daniel Salazar and the Alchemystics taking the stage here. Be sure to stop by for their Black-eyed & Bluesfest, too. Black-Eyed Sally’s also has a menu full of Southern specialties and a large beer menu.

6. The Handlebar Café, Pawcatuck, CT

The Handlebar Café is a biker bar with ample parking designated specifically for those arriving on a bike. The building features an eye-catching mural of a motorcycle outside, an edgy interior decorated in black and white, and a sportster, which is often decorated, inside. The Handlebar Café also offers a full bar with beers and spirts as well as a pool table and jukebox. 

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7. Cadillac Ranch, Southington, CT

Spend the night down South with line dancing and country music at Cadillac Ranch. For those who are unfamiliar with country dance steps, this country-themed bar offers lessons and beginners’ nights, so you can improve your two-step. Live music is also frequently featured, too.

8. Matty’s Next Door Sports Bar, Middletown, CT

With numerous TVs mounted throughout the establishment, ample seating, plus sports memorabilia, Matty’s Next Door Sports Bar is an excellent sports-focused bar in downtown Middletown. Matty’s drink menu features beers on tap, bottled drinks, hard ciders, and a Jaeger machine. Matty’s Next Door Sports Bar also serves a full food menu.

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