With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sad City's Guide To The Rest of Summer

As soon as Labor Day passes everyone wants to bury summer and move onto fall. Not so at Sad City. While everyone is getting worked up about pumpkin beers, Octoberfest, and the impending foliage, we are desperately clinging to the last vestiges of summer. Since it is rapidly fading and none of us did all that we intended to do this summer, we decided to prepare this handy guide of summer things you can do in Hartford before the season changes.

1) Get a Lemon Ice
The Italian bakeries on Franklin Ave will stop making their Italian ices in a month or so. Pick a sunny day and treat yourself to one before they go away. In fact, bring some home to enjoy at your leisure. We always recommend the lemon. Both Mozzicato's and Modern Pastry make great Italian ices.

2) Do the "West End Circuit"
On nice summer nights we refer to the "West End Circuit" as travelling on foot between The Half Door, Tisane, and ending the night at The Spigot. Depending on how each place is going on a given evening Braza and Vegas Blvd can make appearances in the circuit. Not only do you get a nice cross section of area establishments on the circuit, you get some exercise in so you feel less guilty about that having that extra beer.

3) Urban Cookout
Urban cookouts are awesome. We do most of ours in the South End where we have friends who have some impressive gardens. The best way to do it? Grab some beers, some tortillas, and grill up some chicken. Make some homemade salsa from the garden. What really tops off the night is listening to the Yankees game on the radio throughout the evening. It doesn't matter if you are a Red Sox or Mets fan. It doesn't even matter if you aren't a baseball fan. The Yankee radio broadcast is such a circus of absurdity it always entertains. Grill up, pop a beer, tune into John and Suzyn and listen to the city at night.

4) Watermelon Beer
As soon as Labor Day arrives everyone seems to go crazy for pumpkin beer. While pumpkin beer is all well and good, we like to savor the summer beers before they go away. It is well know Hooker Watermelon Ale is our favorite. Other good summer beers include Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Long Trail Blackberry.

5) Frequent a Local Dive Bar
One of our favorite things to do is walk around Hartford neighborhoods and stop into random bars. The South End is the best part of town for this. There are tiny neighborhood bars all over the South End. A fun warm evening activity is to walk around and stop into random bars. If the bar is boring, have one beer and move onto the next. We've found you can run into some real Hartford old-timers and hear some great stories. We could tell you some of our favorites, but it's much more fun to explore and find them on your own.


  1. I have heard that the South End has some private "social clubs" for the purposes of having a beverage. Have you thought of profiling any of these?

  2. Probably too difficult to get into to and get a good feel for

  3. Baker's Cafe on New Britain Ave is the best dive/ Old Timer bar ever, Cheep Beer, Cheep Drinks and $2 rib sandwiches...

  4. Pig's Eye Pub's outdoor patio is my favorite to toast the rest of the season. Tiki lights, desirable beer selection and a continuously gorgeous view of the Arches is all I could ask for on a Friday (356 Asylum St.).

  5. Great article! This is what I call useful insights! Do you also know A la Carte Maps? They provide great travel guides with insider tips on a hand-drawn map! Thought you might like it, anyway it is worth a try: http://www.facebook.com/alacartemaps