Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore New Haven nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our New Haven Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

8 Alchemy Nightclub
Alchemy is hopping from Wednesday through Saturday. The expansive main space features two bars, a juice bar, a dance floor with state-of-the-art light show and digital sound and even a 30-foot waterfall. Upstairs, meanwhile, Lounge 215 offers a more relaxed vibe along with an intimate dance floor, pool tables and several comfortable places to sit and chat. The crowd varies each day, from 21-plus college crowds on Thursday to young professionals. Exciting weekly events and celeb DJs ensure Alchemy's always got a packed house. (203-777-9400)

7 The Playwright
A little piece of the Emerald Isle can be found in New Haven at this Temple Street treasure, where you'll find yourself transported to old-time Ireland. The towering bar greets guests upon entering, perfectly complimented by lots of dark, ornate, vintage wood and intimate booths that allow for more quiet conversations. Enjoy the pub grub menu and live entertainment. Check the calendar to see what is happening. Then, grab a pint of Guinness — it's not hard to fit in. (203-752-0450)

6 Bar and the Brü Rm
The simple name befits this simple, laid-back establishment, where the music is pumping, the dance floor is packed, and the sports crowds head to the front to watch the big events on the big-screen. Students and the twenty- to thirty-something crowd hangs out here during the week, attracted no doubt by the tavern-like atmosphere. Adding to the spot's popularity is the Bru Room, which serves up outstanding brick-oven pizzas to complement its tasty blondes, pales and stouts. Things pick up pace a bit on Saturdays, when trance and hip-hop music get the masses moving. Sundays bring in live acoustic acts. (203-495-1111)

5 Gotham Citi Cafe
Gotham Citi Cafe is one of the hippest spots in town and a top venue for dancing. Great DJs lead the crowd onto the floor with a fun variety of alternative, house and urban music. Certain nights feature predominantly gay and lesbian crowds while other nights cater to a more mixed crowd of partiers. Comfortable lounge areas, hardwood floors, mahogany and marble accents, great music — at Gotham you can always count on finding a very cool scene. If you're looking to carry the good times past closing time, be sure to check out neighboring Oz, a suave after hours lounge owned by the same group. (203-498-2484)

4 Toad's Place
Over the years, crowds at Toad's Place have seen countless outstanding live performances from terrific folk and rock acts — big names like the Stones (yes, THOSE Stones), Johnny Cash and the Dave Matthews Band as well as musicians whose fame is more ... esoteric, to say the least. Here, it is all about the music. No food is served — music is the sole entree on the menu, and they serve it like it's hot. If you're looking to laugh or dance, keep up with the calendar, as they also book stand-up comics and celeb DJs from time to time. (203-624-8623)

3 Christopher Martin's
Live music is provided Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at this eclectic restaurant and pub. Bank on excellent food and a variety of beers and spirits, including Guinness and a pretty mean selection of martinis. Patrons also can catch any of a variety of bands, from hard rock to zydeco and jazz. Toss in the warm, friendly service, and you just can't go wrong with a night at Christopher Martin's. (203-776-8835)

2 Anchor
This centrally located favorite is just off the Yale campus and has been popular with students (including Jodie Foster) and locals for 40 years. The owner, Kathleen, has been here since the beginning, and she still greets guests and serves up excellent cocktails and interesting conversation. The turn-of-the-century building features pressed tin ceilings, loads of Yale memorabilia, and an unpretentious attittude that welcomes patrons young and old. (203-865-1512)

1 Oz After Hours Club
Is this scenario familiar: The club you're in is closing, but you absolutely don't want to go home? Well, this after hours spot's got you covered from now on. Long after all the "respectable people" have flipped off their lights and gone to bed, Oz opens its doors and gives the fashionable folks who've posed and preened all night at Gotham Citi a cool, relaxed place to wind down the night. That's not to say that things here are overly mellow — if dancing's still in your system, Oz certainly encourages it. (203-498-2484)

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Maps and Directions

Alchemy Nightclub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Dance Club, Late Night / After Hours, Lounge
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
The Playwright 10Best List Arrow
Type: Pub
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Bar and the Brü Rm 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Brew Pub, Dance Club, Late Night / After Hours
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Gotham Citi Cafe 10Best List Arrow
Type: Dance Club, Gay and Lesbian, Lounge
Toad's Place 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Music
Neighborhood: BROADWAY
Christopher Martin's 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Music, Pub
Neighborhood: STATE STREET
Anchor 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Oz After Hours Club 10Best List Arrow
Type: Dance Club, Late Night / After Hours
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