Long time Sad City readers might get the impression that we aren't fans of The Half Door. We've anointed one of their bathrooms The Most Awkward Bathroom In Hartford. We've complained that our aging has rendered us unable to tolerate visiting their on Wednesday night when there is not only live music, but $2 drafts on Harp and Guinness. That impression would be wrong. The Half Door is without a doubt one of the best bars in Hartford. In fact, the list of bars in Hartford that we have been to more than the Half Door is a short one.
The Half Door bills itself as an Irish pub. Like all other stateside bars that we have visited (and be assured that this is no small amount) none are really Irish pubs. They are American-Irish pubs and the Half Door is an excellent version of these American incarnations.
Initially when we first noticed that the Half Door had branded itself a "gastropub" we kind of rolled our eyes. These days nearly every time you turn on some type of restaurant rehab or create a restaurant type show, someone is putting together a gastropub. So when we noticed the Half Door had suddenly branded itself a gastropub we were a bit skeptical. We were wrong.
Despite dozens and dozens of visits we had only ate at the Half Door maybe once or twice until recently and even then it was usually just a quick burger. Since then we have made a few more trips to eat there and have to say, the Half Door has hands down the best bar food in town. While we won't bother to go through the menu item by item, you should probably order the scotch eggs and portobello sandwich. While we aren't huge brunch people, we have had brunch once at the Half Door, enjoyed it and can tell you that people love it.
What is also commendable is the The Half Door is attempting to establish a menu that consists of mostly items from local farms. While again, this is a trendy thing to do right now, it is a good trend and we are happy to see The Half Door making an effort to be local.
|It's like the beginning of a Star Wars movie.|
The Half Door has an incredible beer selection. If you like beer, they are going to have something for you. A personal favorite is Carlsberg on tap, a great Danish lager that can be difficult to find bottled in the States, and very hard to find on tap. The Half Door has a chalkboard on which they list what beers they have, occasionally they have special brews on tap.
Besides the food and beer, the outdoor patio is a highlight. Patrons and eat, drink and best of all generally observe the goings-on in the surrounding area. Being located at the corner of Sisson and Farmington, it is always fun to sit on the porch during happy hour and watch cars navigate the maddening intersection and other local happenings.
Inside there are roomy booths and though a bit outdated version with a loose trackball, a Golden Tee machine. (We are huge Golden Tee fans. If you ever liked golf video games and haven't tried it, do so. From what we can tell The Half Dooe, Spigot and Pig's Eye are the only bars left in town with Golden Tee). The Half Door does also have Hartford's Most Awkward Bathroom, which leads to amusing situations, but does have a less awkward bathroom for those not up for it.
Live music is also popular at The Half Door. While we know our old age is partially to blame, we feel that The Half Door and most other bars allow their live acts to play WAY too loud. Way too loud. It's not the Meadows, it's a bar. Anyway, despite the volume, The music at The Half Door is generally good (we usually enjoy it on the porch).
So that clears it up. Lest anyone think we don't enjoy the Half Door; Golden Tee, nice big booths, great staff, incredible beer selection, great porch, and hands down the best bar food in town. Heck, even that bathroom can be kind of amusing if you're in the right mood.