Spectra Wired Café Opens Bar5, A Patio And Beer Garden In Downtown Hartford

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Perfectly manicured hedges and a pebbled border create an oasis for one patio in the heart of downtown Hartford. The blaring of a live saxophonist and the clinking of glasses drown out the hum of rush-hour traffic circling the beer garden at 5 Constitution Plaza.

By 6 p.m., a crowd of about 30 people — many with badges still clipped to their work attire — gathered for the official summer kickoff on June 27 of Bar5, the newly opened outdoor space that’s part of Spectra Wired Café.

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“This is something Hartford has not seen yet,” says Julie Demario, the café’s general manager. “I’m hoping that we can bring in a service to the community and make an impact. We’re trying to find our niche.”

The relaxed atmosphere of the new Bar5 patio is great for happy hours, she says, which will be Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Inside Spectra Wired — named for its free WiFi and the jolt of its coffee — is part coffee shop, part lounge. Local art hangs on the walls, and the cafe sells coffee, tea, smoothies, bagels paninis and more.

Demario suggests patrons stop by Spectra Wired for their morning jolt of Coperaco coffee, grab a panini at lunchtime, and then return in the evening for a selection of craft beer from local breweries like Boondoggle and Hanging Hills.

Chris Drury’s been a regular at the café for about a month. He works right across the street at the Shipman & Goodwin law firm, which makes the location convenient to bring colleagues.

“They’ve built up the outdoor patio, and it’s fantastic,” Drury says. “They’ve really done a lot to encourage people to come. It’s a very nice place.”

Drury sat in a grouping of brown benches, situated on green carpeting to mask the industrial cityscape. He was joined by summer associate Adam Ghalmi, who praised the drinks menu.

“Connecticut craft beer is a really great part of the state, and local businesses need to embrace it,” Ghalmi says. “It’s definitely worth it.”

The Bar5 happy hour featured free Wild Moon liqueur tastings from Hartford Flavor Company, along with French-Viet style cuisine from Chief Brody’s Banh Mi Food Truck.

Megan Pollack and Cory Brennick chowed on their meals, with their attention fixed on jazz saxophonist David Davis.

“I’m going to keep it ratchet,” Davis says, and began accepting song requests from the audience. He lurched into an upbeat, yet soulful tune, leaving his post by the bar’s speakers to briefly serenade patrons.

Brennick discovered the kickoff event on Facebook and was enjoying his first time at Spectra Wired Café. Near his table, lawn chairs were stacked with games like Cards Against Humanity and Jenga.

“I like beer gardens, and it definitely helps being downtown,” Brennick says. “I could see myself stopping by before a hockey or baseball game.”

Pollack likes the outdoor concept and will “definitely” be back.

“They have a lot of social events,” she says.

On July 10, the café will host “Bring Your Own Board Game Night” from 5 to 8 p.m. The themed-evening occurs the second Tuesday of each month, serving $4 beer and wines, along with $5 well drinks.

And every fourth Wednesday of the month from 5 to 7 p.m., Spectra Wired Café welcomes in the local jazz scene. The next free performance is on July 25 with bassist Steve Clarke, whose repertoire includes R&B and straight-ahead jazz.

Bossa Nova and Brazilian jazz takes center stage at the café every second Thursday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with performances from singer and pianist Sarah Rose. There is no cover charge.

“We’re really big around supporting Hartford,” Demario says.

Spectra Wired Café, at 5 Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford, is open from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. on Monday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. Food trucks are expected at special events throughout the summer at Bar5. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday. 860-906-1835, spectrawired.com

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