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Monday, January 20, 2014


We seem to always hear that there is nothing to do in Hartford.

 This might be the weekend to end that idea.

Start off the weekend by enjoying one of the last few weekends remaining of Ice skating in Bushnell Park.  Afterwards , as the weather turns much colder and we might be digging out from snow, why not check out one of Hartford’s not so new gems and warm up watching a first run movie . I am behind the times but I recently visited the Spotlight Theater at Front Street. The theater has been open a little over a year now and features 4 full size theaters playing the latest releases. It also offers the convenience of being able to watch a movie while enjoying food and drinks at your seat. Or if you prefer, eat in their large dining room or at the full service bar serving various appetizers and entrees. There is also a private area for fundraisers or corporate meetings and events.

The Spotlight opens daily at noon for lunch and hosts a Happy Hour daily from 3:00PM to 7:00PM . They also offer a Sunday Brunch
Check out the Spotlight Theater and what’s playing now here

Also, if you enjoy a good cigar, stop by the Smoke Shop on Pratt Street. There is almost nothing more relaxing than sitting by the front window puffing on a good Cigar and watching the world walk by. There is an interesting mix of customers in the shop and almost always an interesting conversation to jump in on.

Also, check out the new menu at the Tavern Downtown. Even though my favorite, the meatloaf, is no longer on the menu there are many great appetizers and entrees on it. The lobster mac and cheese is great comfort food on a cold day and the coconut shrimp are a good addition to the menu . The burgers and sandwiches are very popular also. If you are west of Hartford, check out the newest addition, The Tavern at the Exchange across from the UConn Health Center in Farmington.

Here is the Tavern's new menu

If you are looking for something to do on a Friday night downtown, stop by Vito's on the Park. I went last Friday night with a couple friends for Vito's Trivia Night. We actually won the $50.00 first place prize. I think I had an unfair advantage though.

The question that helped put us over the top was "What Fortune 500 Company is named after an insect?" My mother is from Peoria , Illinois and most of her family, including her brother who was a Vice -President, all worked for Caterpillar Tractor.  The final bonus round category was "politics", something many would argue I know very little about. The trivia contest takes place at Vito's every Friday night from  8:00PM until done. The full menu and appetizers are available.

And if you are attending a UConn game or an event at the Bushnell, the Hook and ladder is an easy stop at 207 Main Street, right next door to the home of the Hartford Fire Department Engine 1 and Ladder 6. Plenty of free parking is directly behind the restaurant on John Street.

Check out their menu here

And remember, when you support these businesses, you are also supporting Hartford jobs and the local economy.

See what Hartford has to offer and enjoy


DPanagore said...

OMG, you sound like a happy Hartford booster Kevin, your most upbeat posting on Hartford since I can recall, which is only back to 2009.

Anonymous said...

All sounds good and plenty but how do you convince people to come and spend their money in downtown Hartford? Oh, I use to live in Hartford but moved because I would not put my children in Hartford public schools. Or, I work in Hartford but the suburbs have much more to offer and parking is always free. So,why would I want to come and spent any time or money in Hartford. Also, the Hartford Public Library has a day time parking fee. If you are lucky you can park free but there are only several free spots. How ridiculous is that? The suburbans come when the Riverfront Recapture, Bushnell Park or something in downtown Hartford is having a free venue. Hartford on the Rise!!!! What a joke?


Parking is a large barrier to downtown growth. It stems from previous days when parking contracts were given out as political candy to political friends and not done to benefit visitor's to downtown. The Parking Authority has made a difference, but there is a long way to go to make it right, as you correctly point out. Why come to Hartford and spend $10.00 for parking to have dinner when you can go to West Hartford Center and park for 50 cents