New Haven is a vibrant city in Connecticut that is home to Yale University, Gateway College, Southern Connecticut State University, University of New Haven, and Quinnipiac University.
The city is known for its excellent bakeries, distinctive neighborhoods like East Rock, and restaurants that double as architectural artifacts or community hubs.
However, New Haven is also home to some of the best bars in the state, making it a great destination for a night out with friends or a date.
In this article, we will explore the best bars in New Haven, as voted by locals in the 2023 Best of New Haven reader’s choice poll.
Top 15 Best Bars In New Haven
Elm City Social
Elm City Social is a gastropub located in New Haven, Connecticut. It serves New American bites and artisanal cocktails, and has a rooftop patio.
The restaurant is located in a historic early 1900s building that once housed Kasey’s Restaurant. Elm City Social evokes the spirit of the 1920s, bringing back to life the craftwork of cocktails that has been lost until now.
The chef, John Brennan, draws customers in with seasonally inspired menus that can only be described as “comfort food with a flavorful twist” . Elm City Social was named one of the Best New Restaurants by Connecticut Magazine.
The restaurant offers a variety of menus, including a Halloween-themed bar menu called “A Nightmare on College St.”. Customers can make reservations through the restaurant’s website.
Elm City Social has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Google Maps, based on 645 total ratings. According to Yelp, the restaurant is open from Monday to Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm.
Ordinary is one of the oldest taverns in New Haven, Connecticut. It was once the bar of the Hotel Taft and has been restored to serve charcuterie and cheese boards.
The tavern offers creative cocktails, wine, beer, and snacks with thoughtful hospitality. It has a cool speakeasy vibe with low light and great decor.
Ordinary is located at 990 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510 and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm to 12 am.
The tavern offers takeout, and reservations can be made through their website or by calling the restaurant at (203) 907-0238.
80 Proof American Kitchen & Bar
80 Proof American Kitchen & Bar is an American restaurant and cocktail bar located in downtown New Haven, CT. They have a large patio for outdoor dining and space to book parties.
The restaurant serves modern twists on classic fare with a focus on shareable plates, elevated bar food, and approachable craft cocktails.
They are open Tuesday through Sunday, with varying hours. Their menu is available on their website. Customers can make reservations through OpenTable.
The restaurant has received positive reviews on Yelp, with an overall rating of 4 stars.
116 Crown is a trendy, dimly lit lounge located in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. It is known for its creative cocktails, charcuterie, cheese, flatbreads, and more.
All syrups are house-made, and all juice is fresh-squeezed. The lounge has a website where customers can make reservations online or by calling 203-777-3116.
Customers can also order takeout by calling the same number. The restaurant has received positive reviews on Yelp and OpenTable.
168 York St Cafe
168 York Street Cafe is a laid-back gay bar and American eatery located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is situated in a beautiful brownstone building near the intersection of York & Chapel Street, close to the heart of Yale campus.
The cafe is one of the oldest and friendliest gay bars in Connecticut and is the only gay-owned and operated bar/restaurant in New Haven.
The kitchen is open five days a week, serving diners and appetizers. The cafe is also a CT Lottery Retailer.
– Location: 168 York Street Cafe is located at 168 York St, New Haven, CT 06511.
– Ratings: The cafe has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google, based on 24 reviews.
– Theme Nights: The cafe features theme nights and Sunday brunch.
– Social Media: The cafe has an Instagram account, @168yorkstreet, where they share photos and updates.
– Reservations: The cafe takes reservations and offers takeout.
744 West Bar & Grill
744 West Bar & Grill is a restaurant located in West Haven, Connecticut. It serves modern American plates in a relaxed atmosphere with a lively bar area and an outdoor patio.
The restaurant is located at 744 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 06516. It is open from 11:00 am to 1:00 am Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:00 am to 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday.
The Early Bird/Lunch Menu runs all day Monday through Wednesday and until 6:00 pm on Thursday. The restaurant offers private parties and catering services. Menus are available on their website.
The restaurant has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Google Maps, based on 697 total ratings
Chacra Pisco Bar
Chacra Pisco Bar is a Peruvian restaurant and bar located at 152 Temple St, New Haven CT, 06510. The restaurant serves Peruvian cuisine and specializes in the national drink of Peru, Pisco.
They offer a variety of menus including lunch, dinner, social hour, dessert, and weekend brunch. In addition to food, they have a drink menu and a bar menu.
The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor patio that is perfect for enjoying Peruvian food and Pisco sours. Customers can order takeout or delivery.
Chacra Pisco Bar is also active on Instagram, where they share photos and information about their restaurant and events.
Duffy’s Tavern is a neighborhood hangout located at 241 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, Connecticut.
The restaurant has a vintage speakeasy feel with authentic Irish décor and rich oak antiques that enhance its character. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the interior is immaculately clean.
The menus are extensive, offering a variety of “comfort foods” as well as gourmet cuisine. The entrées are exceptional, and the service is friendly and attentive.
Duffy’s Tavern has attracted loyal patrons throughout and beyond the state of Connecticut since 1983. It is a place where new couples meet and old friends gather.
The restaurant is known for its Irish-accented pub grub and American comfort food. Whether it’s for a delicious meal or a relaxing cocktail, Duffy’s Tavern is a place where you are sure to return again and again.
Olive and Oil
Olives and Oil is an Italian restaurant located in New Haven, Connecticut. The restaurant offers creative Italian cuisine, brick-oven pizza, and hand-pulled mozzarella in a brick-walled setting.
The decor is vintage with an urban flair. Olives and Oil is also an event venue with a customizable menu and a unique atmosphere. The restaurant has a brick oven on display and a psychedelic pig on the wall.
Olives and Oil is open from Monday to Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm. The restaurant also offers delivery and pickup services. Customers can check out the menu and order online through Slice.
On Instagram, Olives and Oil shares pictures of their food and events. They also promote their pizza, which they describe as the heartbeat of New Haven. Customers can join them every other Saturday for pizza.
Te Amo Tequila
Te Amo Tequila Bar & Tacos is a laid-back Mexican establishment in New Haven, Connecticut. It features two bars, tequila cocktails, and tacos, and offers happy hours.
The restaurant serves dinner from 12 pm until midnight seven days a week. They have a dinner menu, cocktail menu, and happy hour menu.
Te Amo Tequila Bar & Tacos also offers takeout and delivery options for their gourmet tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and margaritas.
Customers can make reservations by calling (203) 553-7914 or emailing [email protected].
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill is a restaurant located in New Haven, Connecticut. It serves Southwestern cuisine and has a wide selection of tequilas.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining areas, indoor fireplaces, and private event spaces. It is located at 271 Crown Street in New Haven.
The restaurant also has a happy hour. If you are interested in working at Geronimo, you can join their team by visiting their website.
If you have any questions or inquiries, you can contact them through their website.
Barcade is an arcade bar located at 56 Orange Street, New Haven, CT 06510. It offers pub food and a variety of draft beers. The bar is open late and has a low-lit atmosphere.
According to reviews on TripAdvisor, Barcade has a rating of 4 out of 5 and is ranked #134 of 421 restaurants in New Haven. The menu is available on the Barcade website.
The bar has a presence on Instagram, where photos and videos of the arcade games are posted. Barcade is also listed as one of the top 10 arcades in New Haven on Yelp, with a rating of 3.9 out of 5. The Yelp page for Barcade has 99 reviews and 92 photos.
BAR is a New Haven, CT landmark since 1991, offering brick oven pizza, freshly brewed beer, and dancing. It is a bar and dance club that has all the makings of the perfect evening in one convenient location.
BAR is also its own microbrewery, and it is popular among craft-beer lovers.
In addition to cocktails and dancing on weekends, BAR offers housemade brick-oven pizza, like the popular mashed potato and bacon pie, and signature brews, from sour blends to robust IPAs.
BAR is one of the best bars in New Haven, according to the 2023 Best of New Haven reader’s choice poll.
The Owl Shop
The Owl Shop is a tobacconist, cigar bar, and lounge located in New Haven, Connecticut. It has been in operation since 1934 and has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google with a total of 695 ratings.
The shop offers custom cocktails and panini. In 1998, Glen Greenberg bought the Owl Shop, and in 1999 he acquired a liquor license. Since 2004, the Owl Shop has been the only public venue in Connecticut where one can smoke indoors.
The Owl Shop Cigar Lounge and Bar is located at 268 College St, New Haven, CT 06510-2404. The shop is known for its wide selection of cigars and knowledgeable staff.
It accepts credit cards and is open for business during regular hours. Nearby attractions include Union League Cafe, ZINC New Haven, Olea, and Prime 16.
Three Sheets is a lively local bar located at 372 Elm Street in New Haven, Connecticut. It is known for its personal pizzas, sandwiches, craft beers, and cocktails.
Three Sheets also features live music and hosts events such as jazz underground happy hour and punk shows.
The bar is closed on Mondays and open from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On Fridays, it is open from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Three Sheets offers a variety of beers and food items, which can be enjoyed on-site or taken to-go.