Friday Night Cocktails
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O Bar Martini Bar & Lounge
O, yes. The red leather bar stools and banquette hint at the French heritage of this intimate Fairfield favorite. Opened in 2003 by the owners of the adjacent Brasserie restaurant, and a sibling to the O Bar in Trumbull, this charming refuge is what Hemingway would celebrate as a “clean, well-lighted place.”
Waterbury, 203/754 -5111
Remember the restaurant in the movie Big Night? Diorio could be its more elegant sibling. The mirror behind the bar is etched with architectural landmarks of Waterbury. The dining area is outfitted with mahogany banker’s booths. The bar’s 15 seats fill up most nights with guests enjoying la dolce vita.
The Griswold Inn
Affectionately called “The Gris” by locals, this stalwart of the shoreline scene dates back to 1776. New York magazine once called its cozy Tap Room possibly the “best-looking drinking room anywhere in America,” and it’s made Esquire’s Best Bars in America list. The low-ceilinged, lantern-lit room invites visitors to hunker down over a single malt Scotch. A fire blazes in cool weather, and the only concession to modern times is a popcorn machine that turns out free snacks.
Named for the first president of the United States, who once stayed in the area, the G.W. bar defines warmth. The wood-paneled walls and working fieldstone fireplace create an atmosphere of cozy comfort. The occasional live music rarely precludes conversation. Try the Limoncello Margarita created with liqueur made by general manager John VandenBosch.
Set inside a Victorian house, this quiet getaway with a small U-shaped bar combines period details with contemporary touches. The wall color tends to change annually so don’t worry, it’s not that last gimlet, the paint really is dark blue with bronze trim.
Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, Groton, 860/326-0360
Leave behind the old salt flavor of the Mystic dining scene for a bit of shoreline swank. The lounge at Octagon is attached to Groton’s answer to the serious restaurant. The hotel setting means cushy carpets, sleek decor and a conversation-friendly atmosphere.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar
Check out this supersexy spot for more than 150 types of tequila, and a decor that has as much kick as the margaritas. Custom music can be heard above the escalating din. Watch out for the Diablo, made with habañero chile, black pepper and red sugar.