Visiting the CT Convention Center, Connecticut Science Center or the Riverfront in Hartford? Here are the best restaurants near the Convention Center right across the street on Front Street.
Arch Street Tavern
Good bands, decent pub grub, good tap list. Arch Street technically isn’t on Front Street but any discussion of this area needs to include the home of so much good live music in Hartford.
Good for: group happy hours, seeing a band, solo dining
Everyone loves Bears Smokehouse and for good reason. They do BBQ so well that they just keep expanding. They’re set to take over a larger space on Front Street proper next to Ted’s and across from Infinity Hall.
Good for: kid-friendly, groups, solo dining, a quick meal. I ordered their catering for a recent party and everyone loved it.
I’ve only eaten in the bar. Once Mike and I ran in and had burgers and a glass of red wine before a movie. The food and pricing is definitely on par with Max Downtown’s tavern menu and we may have liked their burger even better. I’ve been two other times with my friend Moriah for dinner in the bar. The cocktails, wine and food were all great. While the prices in the bar are reasonable (for Capital Grille), the dining room is very pricey.
Good for: groups (in the bar), romantic, going solo (in the bar), happy hours
Front Street Bistro
Oh Front Street Bistro, you messed up. The bistro at the movie theater was the only game in town (save Arch Street) for quite a while before the rest of this list opened up on Front Street. They should have locked down a good customer base before everyone else opened up.
Alas, every time I tried to eat the the food was mediocre and the service was sooooo slowwwwww. For a while I thought it was just me, but then I ran into my friend Katie who said she and her husband went to the bistro to eat before a movie and the food took so long to come out they had to take it to-go into the movie theater.
Front Street Bistro had a lot of time to work out these kinks in service before the other restaurants opened, but it just never happened and now they have seriously stuff competition for pre- and post movie diners from the rest of this list. While the bar has some great happy hour deals, and it’s nice to bring a glass of wine into a movie, I wouldn’t recommend the food here.
Good for: happy hours
A convenient place to get a drink or a quick meal before or after a show. The bar also has a great trivia night on Wednesdays that my Wednesday night happy hour crew been dominating. The food is iffy: burgers and fries are good; anything more complicated is not so good. I recently had a decent lobster cobb salad. The next week I had a flatbread that tasted like crap. It’s not great, but if you want great, head to Capital Grille. However their french fries are highly addictive.
Good for: happy hours, groups, solo dining, quick meals
Good for happy hour and bar bites. Mike and I had dinner there once and the food was a little overpriced for what it was. My coworkers love their drag show brunches. They have a nice lounge area that you can reserve for happy hours when you have a large group. They’ve got giant screen TVs that would be great for watching games or big events like the Oscars.
Good for: groups, happy hours, brunch
Ted’s Montana Grill
Good burgers, salads and other comfort foods. I love their pickles. Terrible french fries. Ugh, they are awful. Other than that though, this is a great place for some comfort food and they have a nice, big bar area.
Good for: kid-friendly, groups, happy hours, solo dining
Front Street makes me feel good about Hartford. It’s nice to see a street dedicated to eating and drinking and movie watching. I’m excited to see what happens to this area when UConn opens up.
- Will people go to class and stay for drinks?
- Will a take out place that caters to college students also open up?
- Will Front Street Bistro ever get their act together?