Capital of Connecticut, and "Insurance Capital of the World," Hartford is one of the oldest US cities. Dutch fur traders set up a local post in 1614 and English settlers from Massachusetts arrived in 1635. After the Civil War this was America's wealthiest city and Mark Twain wrote of it In 1868: "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief." For almost 20 years, he lived here, writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn during this period. Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom's Cabin fame lived out her last years just around the corner. Their houses are today a museum and research center respectively. Samuel Colt, who perfected the revolver, settled here to build his armory complex alongside the Connecticut River. The park that bears his name was once part of the estate behind his mansion, Armsmear.
Some of the beauty Mark Twain saw survived industrialization, and a vibrant arts scene of theater and music thrives. The Wadsworth Atheneum is the nation's oldest public art museum, and institutions such as Trinity College, the University of Hartford and St Joseph's College bring youthful energy to the city. See theater and stage listings at our map and listings tab above.
Connecticut's gay scene is centered in New Haven (the largest city), Hartford, New London, and Danbury. Each has local pubs and bars, gay-popular restaurants, and several big gay nightclubs. People circulate between these cities for the nightlife offered by each. The bear group Northeast Ursamen, while based in Hartford, sponsors events all around the region.
Besides providing health services, the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, or HGLHC, (1841 Broad St), is a local community center of sorts, with meetings, events and resourses.
Bradley International Airport is in Windsor Locks to the north, between Hartford Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts. With low-cost airlines flying here, this is a good arrival option for anywhere in Southern New England. Just 15 minutes drive from Hartford if you rent a car, the Bradley Flyer bus service from CT Transit is another option for a few dollars fare.
CT Transit provides bus service around Hartford and surrounding areas, as well as other cities in Connecticut. For out-of-towners however, their website is hard to follow, so taxis or a car rental might be a lot less hassle for getting around.
Metroline covers gay Hartford, all of Connecticut, and some other adjoining parts of Southern New England and New York.
The Hartfort Advocate is the alternate weekly paper, and the Hartford Courant is the local daily -- the oldest continuously published newspaper in America. Each has general news, reviews, arts and events listings.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Hartford listings pages.
Going Out - Hartford
Chez Est (458 Wethersfield Ave) mostly men dance club and party bar, monthly beer bash, bear events.
Koji (17 Asylum St) mixed crowd, busy early cocktail lounge, contemporary Asian cuisine restaurant.
Polo Club (678 Maple Ave) 18-plus cabaret and dance club, gay mix, hip-hop/r&b, Friday Latin Nights, Saturday drag shows, theme and holiday parties
Shish Lounge (904 Farmington Ave), upscale mixed cocktail lounge, DJs, house music dancing, international cuisine restaurant, dress to impress mixed crowd.
Tisane (537 Farmington Ave), day or night West End Euro-Asian cafe, tea, coffee, liquors, mixed hip crowd.
Going Out - New Haven
Forty miles to the south of Hartford, in New Haven Connectict, several bars anchor the local gay scene.
168 York Street Cafe (168 York St), gay bar/restaurant at Yale University, with dinner, beer busts, Sunday brunch and summertime T-dances and BBQs.
The Bar (254 Crown St), day/night pizza cafe, lounge bar, pool games, mixed crowd dance floor, live bands, special parties.
Empire aka Gotham Citi (130 Crown St), big Saturday gay night, dancing until 4am
Exhibit X (84 Orange St), the former Center Street Lounge, has Friday 18+ gay dance nights, playing dance music, Hip-Hop, Top-40, and Latin.
Partners (365 Crown St), open every night, has Tuesday male dancers, weekend dancing, karaoke, and theme nights, including first and third Saturday Bear & Leather Blackouts.