730 Main St.
Southbury, CT 06488
The owners and management of this Asian fusion bar and restaurant know their sake so well that they named their restaurant after the beverage. This Southbury spot carries over a dozen kinds of cold sake, including clear, unfiltered and sweet. If you order something from the food menu, the staff can recommend the best sake to accompany it (drier types go better with sushi for instance). The bar often has an open bottle for customers to sample as well.
Pink Sumo Sushi & Sake Cafe
4 Church Lane
Westport, CT 06880
Pink Sumo has been in Westport just a little over a year, but has already become a huge hit with Fairfield County sushi lovers. Sake is its other specialty, with over 30 types available. If you like your sake very dry, consider the clear Suigei Tokubetsu, known as the “Drunken Whale.” For a sake on the sweeter side, there’s the low-alcohol Poochi Poochi. If you’re not sure what you prefer, Pink Sumo offers sake flights that allow you to sample three different kinds.
Feng Asian Bistro & Lounge
93 Asylum St.
Hartford, CT 06103
Feng, part of the Ginza restaurant group that owns several Japanese eateries throughout the state, has long been one the Hartford region’s most popular bars for sake. Highlights include the sparkling, fruit-flavored Hana Awaka and the sweet, unfiltered Ozeki Nigori. There’s also a saketini with vodka and lime, and a White Sake Sangria made with citrus rum, apricot brandy and peach liqueur. Pair them with one of Feng’s acclaimed rolls or sushi.
Related: Best Sushi In Hartford
Min Ghung Asian Bistro
39 New London Turnpike, Suite 311
Glastonbury, CT 06033
This bistro may take a little bit of work to find – it’s tucked away inside Glastonbury’s Glen Lochen shopping center. But for any connoisseur of sake, it’s well worth the effort. Don’t expect much warm sake; Min Ghung specializes in cold, of which it has over 50 kinds. You can see all of the bottles it carries lovingly displayed on an illuminated grid of shelves by the bar. Many of them are quite rare, which means they can get pricey, but there may not be a better bet in the state for premium sake.
240 MGM Grand Drive
Mashantucket, CT 06338
Red Lantern opened in Foxwoods last year above the Shrine nightclub (both are owned by Big Night Entertainment Group) and it’s every bit as plush and sophisticated as its original Boston lounge. Red Lantern sells several bottles of sake from the $28 “Pink” (Hana HouHouShu and Sparkling Rose) to the pricier “Beauty of Akita” (Yuki No Bosha and Daiginjo), which will cost you $152. You can also order a beaker of its warmed organic sake or a saketini made with St. Germain. Red Lantern can also be booked for private parties and receptions.
Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.