Bestselling historian Richard Brookhiser opines, “Night life in New Haven? This class of ’77 alum is astonished that there is any, apart from mugging.” Well, Rick, the mugging threat remains, but nightlife in New Haven certainly exists, in many different flavors. Here's a sampling...
For the diviest of dive bars, check out Rudy’s Bar&Grill, where dim lighting glows eerily upon a brick interior engraved with graffiti. Order a basket of “frites” (double-fried potatoes) with your choice of sauces, swig back a beer, and drown your sorrows or celebrations.
If pub-crawling is more your style, the luck of the Irish awaits you at Anna Liffey’s (17 Whitney Ave). At both an upstairs bar and a pub in the basement, Liffey’s serves favorites like fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie, and, of course, endless pints of Guinness (even a Guinness stew). It may be hard to crawl your way back out of the pub after throwing back a few, so consider staying upstairs on crowded nights. On Sundays, Liffey’s hosts a live Irish jam session from 4-7 pm.
Newer hot spots around New Haven include BAR (pool tables and an on-site brewery), Firehouse 12 (nicknamed the “One-Stop Hub for Avant-Garde Jazz” by the New York Times), Café Nine (where Monday nights mean reggae and all the curried tofu jerky you can handle), Prime 16 (a highbrow burger and microbrew place), Sullivan’s on Chapel (if Liffey’s is too crowded, Sullivan’s and its “Irish nachos” will be happy to see you), and Geronimo, a new southwestern place with a deck out front warmed by tiki torches in cooler weather.
If, for some strange reason, you get an urge to get covered in beer and dance like a frat boy, stop by Toad’s Place. To be fair, Toad’s claim to be “the place where legends play” does have some virtue: Billy Joel performed in 1980, U2 in ’80 and ’81, the Rolling Stones in ‘89, and Bob Dylan in 1990. Unfortunately, Toad’s attempts to ride out the glory of bygone decades have failed; 20 years later, you’re more likely to find third-rate cover bands than legends here.
For a dose of the intellectual, don’t miss the world-class theater in this city. A number of hit Broadway musicals have premiered at the Shubert Theater, e.g. “OKLAHOMA!”, “South Pacific,” and The Sound of Music.” Over 20 plays went from Long Wharf Theater to become hits on Broadway or off-Broadway, including several Pulitzer recipients. Talented students at the Yale School of Drama rehearse and perform with prominent actors at the Yale Repertory Theater (aka “the Rep”), where ten productions have gone to Broadway, four have won Pulitzers, and nine won Tony®s. There is also the New Theater, the Little Theater, the Yale Cabaret, the Dramat, and the Off Broadway Theater at Yale – suffice to say, drama lovers will not lack for entertainment in the Have.
Nor, for that matter, will most any other tourist – whatever your flavor, you’re sure to find it here.
223 College Street
247 College Street
1120 Chapel Street
745 State Street
American & Cajun Restaurant & Café... read more
50 Orange Street
Artspace & other venues
500 College Street