With warmer weather just around the corner, many Connecticut residents look forward to eating or enjoying a cold drink at outdoor bars and restaurants. But on days where it’s raining, there’s no need to just stay home. These state bars provide not just shelter from the rain but good company, top-notch menu items and fun times.

Hearthstone Pub & Grill
42 W. Main St.
Plantsville, CT 06479
(860) 628-0877

Escape from the cold rain outside by taking refuge by one of the Hearthstone’s sixteen fireplaces. This handsome pub will also warm you up with its stellar comfort food – loaded potato skins, Shepherd’s Pie, and the XTrodinair Burger with smoked ham, fried egg, onion rings and barbeque sauce. Patrons may also enter suggestions for its rotating selection of craft beers, and if their choice makes the cut they get two glasses on the house. Hearthstone has plenty of martinis and red and white wines to choose from as well.

Birch Hill Tavern
1320 Manchester Road
Glastonbury, CT 06033
(860) 430-5550

There are no fancy bells and whistles associated with Birch Hill Tavern, just an inviting neighborhood hangout with outstanding food and drinks. Start with its stellar beer menu, one of the best in Connecticut. Spanning more than one page, it lists dozens of bottled craft beers, and there is a constantly changing rotation of first-rate draft brews as well. If you’re hungry go for its Rex Burger with cheddar, avocado, bacon and egg along with a side of its delectable onion rings.

Box 63
338 Elm St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 821-7772

The fun, informal atmosphere at New Haven’s Box 63 is the perfect antidote to the rainy day blues. You can’t help but feel better by digging in to some truffle fries or eggplant sticks and joining them with its own Box 63 Blonde Lager. Or go for one of its several unique cocktails named for celebrities, like the “Marilyn Monroe” with beer, tequila, raspberries, blueberries, fresh lime and ginger. Show off your moves on its large dancefloor, with live DJs every weekend. And don’t miss its Saturday and Sunday brunch with fried chicken and waffles, and bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas.

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The Yarde Tavern
1658 King St.
Enfield, CT 06082
(860) 254-5778

The Yarde Tavern hosts fun events almost every night of the week to make you forget about the lousy weather outside. Play trivia on Wednesday nights for a chance to win prizes or stop by Thursday for some Jukebox Bingo followed by karaoke with DJ Pete Devine. Local artists perform live on Friday and Saturday. Along with the twenty beers on tap is a creative selection of martinis, margaritas and frozen cocktails. And you can’t go wrong with the Yarde’s celebrated wings or a bowl of its award-winning chili.

The Harp And Hound
4 Pearl St.
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 572-7778

This is one of the most authentic Irish pubs in the state, because it was started by an authentic Irishman. Limerick, Ireland native Leo Roche opened the Harp and Hound in one of Mystic’s oldest buildings and decorated it to look like the pubs in his native country. Order a pint of Guinness and listen to the live music every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Or visit on Thursday for Burger & Brew night – the beer of the day and a custom-built burger for only $12. The Harp and Hound also distinguishes itself with its fine Irish coffees and whiskeys, and English Premiere League Football on three screens.

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