As one of the original 13 colonies, Connecticut has a long, rich history with many buildings that have stood for two or three centuries. Some of them were converted into bars and ale houses that still operate today, and some even began that way. Here are some of the best state bars with historical ties that have been keeping patrons satisfied for several decades.
Abigail’s Grille
4 Hartford Road
Simsbury, CT 06089
(860) 264-1580

The history of Abigail’s goes back to the Revolutionary War, where it began as the Pettibone Tavern in 1780. It wasn’t uncommon for soldiers to meet there to rest and strategize; Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys reportedly stopped in not long before their victory at Fort Tigonderoga. The tavern was burned to the ground in 1800 (you can still see some of the damage in the basement), then rebuilt three years later. Writer Harriett Beecher Stowe was a frequent patron at Pettibone Tavern, which maintained the name until 2008, when new ownership rechristened it Abigail’s Grille.

Captain Daniel Packer Inn
32 Water St.
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-3555

Named for square-rigger Captain Daniel Packer, who built it in the 1750s, this inn on the Mystic River has satisfied thirsty and hungry patrons for over two and a half centuries. Packer himself liked to regale his guests with stories of his time on the sea, and the inn stayed in his descendants’ hands through 1979, when it was purchased and refurbished by Richard and Lulu Kiley. The captain would be proud of how they’ve maintained it, as they serve up a wide variety of craft beers and cocktails, and host live music every night.

G.W. Tavern
20 Bee Brook Road
Washington Depot, CT 06794
(860) 868-6633

The “G.W.” in the name of this Washington bar and restaurant are the initials of the country’s first president. George Washington made several visits to this Litchfield County town (which is also named after him) during the Revolutionary War era. G.W. Tavern, housed inside a 19th-century Colonial house, pays tribute to him with a portrait above its fireplace. Have some Applejack brandy in his honor on the patio overlooking the Shepaug River.

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The Griswold Inn
36 Main St.
Essex, CT 06426
(860) 767-1776

The Griswold Inn is as old as America, and has been in operation ever since opening in 1776. The tap room is even older, beginning as a schoolhouse in 1735 before it was annexed to the Griswold in 1801. Its overall quality is as impressive as its longevity, as it has been commended by numerous local and national outlets. Check out its unique vibe for yourself – just order a fish and chips with a tall glass of Revolutionary Ale and enjoy a variety of live performers representing American musical styles from throughout its history.

Roger Sherman Inn
195 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840
(203) 966-4541

This inn, which also includes a bar and lounge as well as a restaurant, has been part of New Canaan since the 18th-century. It was called the Mitchell-Bond House and the Holmewood Inn before its name was changed to honor Roger Sherman, a U.S. senator and New Haven’s first mayor. Sherman’s niece, whose father was a Revolutionary War chaplain, lived in the house for 23 years. In addition to fine cocktails, the bar offers upscale pub food such as Angus sliders and truffle fries, and hosts live music three nights a week.

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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on