[THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2011. FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE 2012 EVENTS, CLICK HERE.]
116 Crown, 116 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 777-3116. Super classy bar with inventive cocktails and small plate offerings. Check out the room with the iPod dock, a definite date destination.
168 York St. Café, 168 York St., New Haven, (203) 789-1915. Low-key, popular gay-friendly bar. Weeknight happy hour and a Beer Bash on Thursday and Sunday nights featuring super cheap imports and domestics.
Alchemy Nightclub, 223 College St., New Haven, (203) 777-9400. Dance club seven nights a week, with theme nights, bachelorette parties and more.
The Anchor, 272 College St., New Haven, (203) 865-1512. Comfy booths, friendly table service, a quiet downstairs room and a jukebox full of surprises. It's the kind of bar where you sit, not stand around; where you come with friends rather than show up alone and mingle. Utilitarian, egalitarian, inexpensive.
Anna Liffey's, 17 Whitney Ave., New Haven, (203) 773-1776. Beers and brogues, and hearty Irish eats. One of a handful of pubs staffed in part by real Irishpersons. Live bands on weekend nights.
Archie Moore's, 188 1/2 Willow St., New Haven, (203) 773-9870; 15 Factory Ln., Milford, (203) 876-5088; 17 Elizabeth St., Derby, (203) 732-3255; 30 N. Main St., Wallingford, (203) 265-7100. Good beer selection that treats drinking food (meaty wings, huge piles of nachos, chili) with respect. Coca-Cola memorabilia on the walls, table service. The original New Haven location attracts a diverse range of East Rockers and a lot of happy-hour drinkers on their way to I-95.
Augur's Irish Pub, 29 Water St., Guilford, (203) 453-4936. Small, popular Irish pub by the Guilford Green.
BAR, 254 Crown St., New Haven, (203) 495-8924. Bru Rm: (203) 495-1111. Several varieties of unusually good draft beer brewed on premises (including barleywine and seasonal brews). Tempting pizza, too. Three rooms, each with its own vibe. Clientele ranges from yuppies to club kids and beyond. Dance nights, live bands and we mentioned the pizza, right?
Barcelona Wine Bar, 155 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 848-3000. Classy tapas restaurant that prides itself on its adventurous and worldly wine selection. It's popular among grown-up professional-type folks who've craved a happening bar with extensive wine options.
Black Bear Saloon, 124 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 562-2327; Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford, (203) 301-0778. The bar's downtown New Haven spot features … well, a couple of carved wooden bears outside, plus burgers, beers and drink specials inside. At the Milford location, you can drink while you're at the mall.
Buffalo Wild Wings, 74-76 Church St., New Haven, (203) 789-9453; Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford, (203) 877-WILD. Wings, beer, sports — what else do you need? Burgers, salads, 14 sauces for wings.
c.o. jones, 969 State St., New Haven, (203) 773-3344. There's a double entendre in there, y'know. It's a Mexican restaurant, but the margaritas are the selling point. Management knows and cares deeply about tequila. Check out the happy hour — discounted margaritas and Dos Equis and free assemble-your-own burritos.
Café Nine, 250 State St., New Haven, (203) 789-8281. The Ninth Square music venue has become regarded as more than a just-because scenester hangout in recent years as its music offerings have expanded and deepened. Check out their newly remodeled space.
The Cask Republic, 179 Crown St., New Haven, (475) 238-8335. Upscale American pub with an extensive beer selection, including cask-conditioned ales and vintage bottles.
Cave a Vin, 975 State St., New Haven, (203) 777-6206. Wine, artisan cheeses, tapas and desserts. Entertainment Friday and Saturday, 8-11 p.m.
Christopher Martins, 860 State St., New Haven, (203) 776-8835. A fine restaurant on one side and a lively neighborhood bar on the other.
Club Van Dome, 102 Hamilton St., New Haven, (203) 789-2066. Two rooms full of Latin and hip-hop beats.
The Crooked Shillelagh, 576 Main St., Branford, (203) 481-0348. Irish pub on the shoreline. Irish faves, pub grub, a wide range of lagers, ales and stouts, and live local bands.