Bars You Should Visit During SantaCon

December 1, 2011 9:00 AM

Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

By Vanessa Willoughby

Who says Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick doesn’t like to party? December marks the tradition of “SantaCon,” a mass gathering of people dressed in head-to-toe Santa costumes who willingly parade up and down city streets and in bars around the world. Originally founded in San Francisco, SantaCon has been in operation for sixteen years.  According to SantaCon webmaster “Santa Ian,” SantaCon is almost similar to a closely guarded fraternity. Although many Santa’s welcome media attention and public inquiry, many Santa’s shun such mainstream attention. Ian says, “There is no common modus operandi and there are as many opinions about what SantaCon is as there are Santa’s.” Nevertheless, this interesting event is set to take place in the following Connecticut cities: Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, and Waterbury. Whether you’re a spectator or a Santa, we’ve listed below a few bars that would make a lovely pit-stop during the Santa takeover.

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Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The Half Door
270 Sisson Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 232-7827
Hours: Monday – Thursday, Sunday, 11:30 a.m., Friday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info:

Regarded as one of the best bars for trivia night, The Half Door is recognized for a casual ambience and a great beer selection. Round up your fellow Santa’s and visit a pub with high-quality food with reasonable prices. Some nights The Half Door showcases live bands and other nights, a DJ. We can’t think of anything more entertaining or amusing than seeing a gaggle of Santa’s boogying down to a pair of wailing electric guitars.

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Black Bear Saloon
187 Allyn Street
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 524-8888
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 11:30 am –1:00am; Friday & Saturday 11:30 am – 2 a.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info:

Looking for a pub-style sports bar? Look no further than the Black Bear Saloon in Hartford.  With over 30 Hi-Def TVs and a complete showcase of DIRECTTV Sports channels, this bar is perfect for sports fanatic Santa’s hoping to catch the latest games while celebrating the Christmas spirit. Thursday through Saturday marks a live DJ. If you’re part of the younger crowd and looking to let loose, drop by Black Bear Saloon. Who knows? You could find your Mr. or Mrs. Claus waiting beneath the mistletoe.

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Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Anchor
272 College Street
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 865-1512
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m., Friday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Once a favorite hangout spot of Jodie Foster, The Anchor has a college town dive bar reputation with a nautical theme. With cheap beers and a college-age demographic, The Anchor hosts trivia night. However, most of the time, patrons are content with the jukebox and good company.

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Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Rudy’s Bar & Grill
1227 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-1242
Hours: Monday – Tuesday, 3 p.m. – 1 a.m., Wednesday – Thursday, Sunday, 12 p.m. – 1 a.m., Friday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.

After 76 years, Rudy’s Bar and Grill relocated from its original address at 372 Elm Street and to 1227 Chapel Street. Having replaced a former Indian vegan restaurant, Rudy’s now occupies three rooms, in addition to two adjacent spaces. Although the décor may be a bit more refined in comparison to its original weathered charm, some patrons have remained loyal, despite the address change.

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Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Butterfield 8
112 Bedford Street
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 504-8123
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 1 am, Friday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sunday, 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Awarded ‘Best Bar’ for Best of Stamford 2011, Butterfield 8 describes itself as a “full service restaurant with [a] upscale bar scene and lounge area.”  Although some people don’t care for Butterfield 8’s simple aesthesis and upscale-inclinations, many patrons appreciate the mixed atmosphere, friendly staff, and strong drinks. Perhaps all this ritzy establishment needs is an invading army of yuletide-loving Santas?

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Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Bank Street Bistro
92 Bank Street
Waterbury, CT 06702
(203) 575-9755
Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m., Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m., Saturday & Sunday, 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.

If you’re in Waterbury, check out Bank Street Bistro for an unexpected collision of Brazilian and Italian food. Whether it’s wine or strong mixed drinks, Bank Street Bistro has just the right concoction to appease your palate.  It may not be a conventional choice for your post-Santa rampage, but you’ll surely appreciate Bank Street Bistro’s dedication to innovation.

Vanessa Willoughby lives in Waterford. A recent graduate of The New School’s MFA program, she also blogs for the entertainment and music website,