116 Crown

116 Crown

A True Cocktail Bar in the Heart of New Haven

Last Tuesday Dave and I ventured into 116 Crown with some friends.  Knowing that New Haven gets crazy, we decided that we’d go around 6:30 in the evening to avoid the madness.  I’ve been avoiding doing the New Haven scene as it’s a magnet for the 20-something college crowd.  Not really my thing.  A late Happy Hour seemed just the ticket so our friends, Jim and Linda, joined in our hunting excursion.


Green Onyx Bar at 116 Crown

So, in we go.  What first struck me was the bar; lit from beneath it was the focal point of the entire space.  Made of green onyx, the first section provided double sided seating while the remainder was the traditional one-sided affair.  With table seating in the rear and several “dining pods” built into the wall, the “hipster” atmosphere was pretty cool and leant itself to a comfortable ambiance. The “hurricane” ceiling along with the informal seating area they call the “eye” was pretty neat, too.


Dining Pods at 116 Crown

Scanning the extensive cocktail list, created by owner John Ginnetti, I was impressed by the selection; they had spirits I’ve never heard of.  We ordered the first round.  After a brief consultation with the on-duty mixologist, I opted for the Forth & Clyde served as a martini.  Linda had a Four Thieves, a Grey Lady for Jim, while Dave enjoyed a Geary’s Pale Ale from Maine


My Forth & Clyde, Hendrick’s Gin, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, local honey and salemme chili flakes was a subtle blend of flavors.  Smooth and aromatic with a slight kick from the chili flakes, it teased and tempted my palate.  Ahhhh, I could have sipped these all night!  Linda’s Four Thieves, organic house-imade blueberry-infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and lavender could be compared to an adult version of blueberry lemonade while Jim’s Grey Lady, Plymouth gin, Rothman & Winter crème de violette, organic egg foam, lemon juice and simple syrup was refreshing with very subtle flavors. 


Cocktails at 116 Crown

Hunting with friends was unique for us and allowed me to sample many more cocktails than I would have, had we been on our own.  (Thankfully our friends didn’t mind sharing a couple sips of their cocktails, thanks guys!).  We always order food when we drink so having been to 116 Crown before, Jim suggested a charcuterie board of mixed meats and cheeses.  The guys made our selections: the house cured Manhattan bacon, Salame Nostrano – Fra’ Mani and several delicious cheeses that I never did get the names of.  The plate was served on a cross-cut wooden board hand-sawed from the tree trunk by owner, John 

Charcuterie with Manhattan Bacon at 116 Crown

The round two line-up included a Kentucky Left Foot for me, an absinthe for Jim and a cucumber concoction for Linda.  The Kentucky Left Foot; Michter’s rye, house-made peach preserves and chervil looked like I was eating a plant.  The peach preserves tempered the Michter’s rye to create a bold profile.  Linda was so gracious to share her delicious cocktail with me; I wish I could remember the name!  Oh well, the photo will have to suffice, it was yummy.  As for Jim’s absinthe, he enjoyed it all by himself.  That’s one that I’ll take a pass on, thank you very much!


To quote their website, “Only the highest quality liquors are used in cocktails and boutique liquors are used extensively. All citrus juices are fresh squeezed and syrups are created in house.” 


Although it took us a while to get there, 116 Crown is definitely top self.  We asked for our check and got up to leave feeling that our first hunt in New Haven was a rousing success.  Cheers!


116 Crown Street, New Haven, CT        203-777-3116





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