(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Every search the avid connoisseur of southern delights makes turns up the same names. These are the popular watering holes where those wishing to bring out their inner cowboy (or girl) can don western shirts and jeans, cowboy hats and boots to gyrate and line dance to a twanging country band.

The Cadillac Ranch Restaurant
45 Jude Lane
Southington, CT 06489
(860) 621-8805

The Cadillac Ranch Restaurant, affectionately dubbed “New England’s Nashville Showcase,” comes as close to a southern-style bar as possible. It features all the usual suspects: dance lessons, line dancing, Old Thunder the mechanical bull and the Confederate flag draped behind the bar, proudly declaring, ”dern tooten I’m a rebel.” You have the difficult choice of shooting pool, stepping to the DJ’s beat or immersing yourself in the performances of past celebrity star performers like Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Sara Evans and Wynonna Judd. For those 21 and over, the bar provides good old-fashioned southern fun. And the 50-cent wings on Tuesdays help a lot.

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Coyote Maverick Country Sports Bar & Grill
48 Newtown Road
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 730-0802

Coyote Maverick Country Sports Bar & Grill is Connecticut’s one true country gathering place. Through the week, iconic southern pleasures invite you in for line dancing, oldies nights, Zumba and karaoke. Country music can be enjoyed on Saturdays with DJs or live bands. The whole is served up with pulled pork and succulent BBQ baby back ribs. This is a bar from which the littles need not be excluded, as they welcome all ages, at all hours, with a special menu of kid burgers, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. And the starters & salads, wings & wraps, burgers & sandwiches and entrees for their parents are nothing to sneeze at either.

Winchester Cafe
1374 Portland Cobalt Road
Portland, CT 06480
(860) 342-0224

Built along the lines of an old western saloon, the Winchester Cafe takes a few steps back in time. The atmosphere echoes those good old days with its display of pictures, fixtures and wagon parts. The long bar can accommodate many patrons at a time, and the saddle-shaped “cowboy” bar stools carry the theme forward. A pool table, themed nights and live bands are on the calendar for your enjoyment. The collector of western memorabilia can also get his fix among the artwork and objects for sale in the “back 40” area.

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J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks and Seafood
185 Glastonbury Blvd.
Glastonbury, CT 06033
(860) 659-0409

This upscale steakhouse keeps its promise of fine dining. The artfully presented, western-inspired contemporary cuisine is a reflection of the artistry of the master chef in the kitchen. Specialties include customized chocolate cake, George’s bank scallops and jumbo lump crab cakes, accompanied by lip-smacking sides such as lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and smashed Yukon potatoes. The hospitable service and sophisticated atmosphere are enhanced by the warmth of the roaring hearth fire.

Illusions Dance Club
1639 Wolcott Road
Wolcott, CT 06716
(203) 879-4785

Generally speaking, Illusions Dance Club is the typical neighborhood sports bar chock-full of pool tables and television games. The country aspect is brought in on Friday and Saturday nights with the mechanical bull, and on Wednesday nights with country dance lessons. These features are what qualify Illusions Dance Club to be among the few southern/country venues in Connecticut.

Bina Joseph, a resident of Glastonbury, CT is a freelance writer covering all things travel-related in Connecticut. A passionate veteran of the travel industry, Bina has visited more than 40 countries, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.