Here in Connecticut, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by some of the finest eateries, bars, and lounges New England has to offer. With the amazing bar and lounge scene we’re blessed with, trust me, I know how tempting it is to lean towards your typical go-to spot, and relax with a familiar menu and staff. However, if you should ever find yourself feeling adventurous and looking for an evening that will “wow” – here are some recommendations for an unforgettable night out!
GameCraft Arcade, 168 Center St., Suite 106, Southington
For a night of nostalgia and brews, head over to GameCraft Arcade! This epic endeavor blends timeless arcade classics with some of the hottest games on the market today, all of which can be enjoyed over a local craft beer or a pop culture-themed specialty cocktail. From pinball machines to Guitar Hero to skee ball, this family-owned arcade and bar truly has something for everyone.
Smash Avenue, 635 New Park Ave. Suite 2c, West Hartford
For an unconventional way to get some frustration out, visit Smash Avenue! As Connecticut’s first smash room, Smash Avenue has certainly broken down barriers and thrived in our area, with people coming from far and wide to smash, destroy, shatter and batter! There are different smash packages to choose from, including an “anger room” or “stress-relief” option, and a variety of weapons and objects to choose from when booking your experience.
Safety gear is included when you book your time at Smash Avenue, so all you have to worry about is letting go of your non-smashing impulses! Screaming, crying, laughing, and photo-ops are all allowed and encouraged so whatever your crowd’s vibe is, you can feel safe knowing you’re in a judgment-free zone.
Parkville Market, 1400 Park St, Hartford
For some, eating is the main event! Parkville Market, based in what’s considered “Hartford’s most up-and-coming neighborhood” has been known to draw a crowd due to the unconventionality of the attraction as Connecticut’s first food hall, Parkville Market sets a new standard for an ideal night out. Once on the property, there’s a wide variety of entertainment options and recreational experiences to be enjoyed, but the main draw truly is the food. With over twenty dining options to choose from, this spot is an excellent choice for foodies both adventurous and choosey.
Montana Nights Axe Throwing - Southington, 168 Center St. #105, Southington
A more physically-tasking but highly invigorating night out option to consider is ax-throwing. While ax-throwing is a relatively new trend in New England, the sport itself is perhaps one of the oldest recorded. With a rustic feel that truly embodies western culture, Montana Nights is an excellent spot for a switch-up. The venue offers specialized instructors to help you learn the ropes and a private back room for larger events. This hidden gem could be the perfect backdrop for memories made at a date night, work event, family reunion, or just an impromptu night out with friends.
Don’t get into a routine when it comes to having fun! Explore outside of your comfort zone, and who knows – you might just discover something you never realized you were missing.
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she's not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at email@example.com with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!