Meeting someone in a bar is such a cliché, right? But while hanging out at some random meet-market might not be the best way to go about finding a partner, choosing the right venue can give you easy access to fun, like-minded people. Here are some Connecticut dining and drinking establishments that are particularly singles-friendly.
Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant. The current Zagat guide to Connecticut restaurants had reader-reviewers weigh in on the “Best Connecticut Singles Scenes Restaurants.” They chose the Brü Rm at Bar in New Haven, J. Gilbert’s steakhouse in Glastonbury, Max Burger in West Hartford, Molto Wine Bar in Fairfield—and all six locations of the Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant.
The secret to Barcelona’s success? Ria Rueda, marketing director for the Barteca Restaurant Group that owns and operates the restaurants, points to several reasons for their appeal to singles. “Their locations make them great spots for people to come by after work. They’re comfortable places for people to enjoy happy hour amongst friends and work colleagues. And when you’re waiting for a table, you can’t help but chat with people. It’s an opportunity to casually meet” new people in a nice setting, she says.
“People also do know there are lots of interesting people here. And as the evening develops, a group of guys will come in, and a group of women will come in, and lo and behold, some connections get made.”
“We see a lot of people come here for blind dates and first dates,” Rueda continues. “It’s not a big commitment. You can get a great glass of wine, see how it’s going, then maybe have dinner.”
It’s not uncommon, she says, for couples to come in to one of the restaurants exclaiming, “Oh, my gosh! We met here!”
Barcelona has locations in Greenwich, Stamford, South Norwalk, Fairfield, New Haven and West Hartford; barcelonawinebar.com.
Water’s Edge Resort & Spa. In Westbrook, The Water’s Edge Resort & Spa has made a point of cultivating the singles crowd with its Tuesday karaoke nights, with deejay Peter Z playing music from the ’50s and ’60s. The resort’s right on Long Island Sound, and in the summer months the fun spills outdoors from the bistro restaurant to the breezy terrace. “It’s like an informal gathering,” says Chris Capiris, the resort’s food-and-beverage director. “People develop friendships.” The fun runs from 8 to 11.
Westbrook, 860/399-5901, watersedgeresortandspa.com.
Community Table. “We don’t have a bar here,” says Jeff Phillips, manager of the Community Table restaurant in Washington. That may seem a little unusual for a singles destination—but, then again, this is kind of an unusual restaurant. Its central feature is, as the name hints, a huge “community table” at which folks can sit together to dine on locally sourced farm-fresh food, even if they’ve never met before. The communal table seats 12 people on a first-come, first-served basis (though the restaurant just recently started taking reservations for its regular tables). “I know people who have met and made friends” at the community table “and have come back for a real date,” Phillips says. The restaurant is “light, bright, and fun, and it doesn’t have the intimidation factor of a bar.” For drinks, it’s wine and beer—“no spirits,” he says, as “that can get a little rowdy sometimes.” As for the dress code, it's come as you are. “We’re really farmer-friendly,” Phillips says. “Soiled clothes and boots are fine here.”
223 Litchfield Tpke., Washington, 860/868-9354, communitytablect.com.
Some good Connecticut restaurants to consider when you’re a party of one:
Isabelle et Vincent • Fairfield
Meli-Melo Crêperie • Greenwich
Wasabi • Orange
Chaiwalla Teahouse • Salisbury
Basta • New Haven
Max Burger • West Hartford
Noah’s • Stonington
Aux Delices • multiple locations
Fat Cat Pie Co. • Norwalk
Little Pub • Ridgefield
Bangalore • Fairfield
Burger Bar & Bistro • Sono
Epernay Bistro • Bridgeport
Molto • Fairfield
City Limits Diner • Stamford
Greenwood’s Grille • Bethel
Mikro • Hamden
The Village • Litchfield
Friends & Co. • Madison
Fife ‘n Drum • Kent
The Pantry • Washington Depot