After Black Bear Saloon closed down, I wondered what would take its place. After all, this was Black Bear. A place which wasn’t sure if it was a shitty sports bar or a shitty dance club.

Why Not Both?
Because it’s a terrible business model, apparently.

Our first clue to its successor was its brilliant name: Tavern New Haven.

Obviously they used an exhaustive process with market research, changing demographics, etc. to come up with this one. Or maybe they just asked a 8 year old girl who happened to walk by and figured: good enough!

Tavern NH Sign
They clearly broke the bank with the marketing firm which dreamed up this one.

So what is Tavern New Haven? That’s a great question.

Welcome to New Haven’s Newest Pizza/Sports/Live Music Bar?

When you walk into Tavern New Haven, you’ll probably be trying to figure out what they’re going for here. Is this a sports bar? A pizza place? An upscale beer bar? (Haha. No.)

Certainly, the renovations are much, much better than anything going on in Black Bear. So that’s something. And while there aren’t nearly as many TV’s, the ones they do have are rather massive. Not that I’m complaining.

You ever try to watch a game on Cask Republic’s tiny broken-ass TV’s? Of course not. Cause you’re not an idiot.

Cask Republic
What is this, Cask Republic, a TV for ants?

But seriously? Another pizza place in New Haven? Who asked for this?!

Nobody. Nobody asked for this.

We’ve already got Pepe’s and Sally’s and Modern. And Bar. And Da Legna. And Abate.

And about a million others.

Well, sure, but maybe the pizza is really, really good.

Yeah, maybe. One of my Facebook friends, in fact, swore it was brilliant.

After trying the pizza myself, I came to worry that perhaps my friend had suffered irreparable brain damage. I mean. It’s not the worst pizza in the world. But it’s not the best. It’s not even close.

It’s decent. That’s what I’ll say about it. I got the Tavern pie, which has red sauce, garlic, spinach, mozzarella, and ricotta. Sounds pretty good, right? I like those things!

Well, it was… pretty good. It was totally not bad. It was probably a little better than Marco Polo’s pizza. Except it’s not 3 am and you’re not that drunk yet. And this pizza thinks it’s fancy. At least Marco Polo knows it’s not fancy. It knows why you’re there. And why you aren’t wearing pants. But don’t worry, your money’s still good to ol’ Marco Polo.

And this is a very serious pizza city. When you’re up against Modern and Bar, you gotta bring the heat, and I don’t think they’re quite there yet.

But hey, they at least have some pretty good beers on tap.

Tavern NH As a Bar: Meh?

Tavern New Haven does have a somewhat respectable beer list. It’s not the greatest, but it’s decent. They’ve got Lagunitas on tap. They’ve got some local stuff like Two Roads. Nothing too crazy. It won’t knock your socks off.

Tavern NH

If you sit at the bar, you can expect decent service. The bartenders are pretty good, actually.

The waiters? Ehhhhhhhh.

I sat with some friends who were already there and I waited about 10 minutes and nobody noticed I was alive and thirsty so I ended up ordering at the bar. Five-ish minutes later, a waitress came by and seemed a bit annoyed I ordered at the bar rather than here.

Sorry, lady, but if I don’t get some beer in my face in the first 10 minutes of being somewhere, I’m gonna take matters into my own hands.

Skeleton with Beer
But hey, at least I look thin!

However, I do dig the overall feel of the bar. They really put in a lot of work on the atmosphere, whether it’s the lights, the finishing, or the cool metal top to the bar. Plus, when it’s nice out, they can open up all the windows/wall panels and it gives a great open air vibe.

They also seem to have live music quite a bit there, especially on Thursdays through Saturdays. So if you’re into that, you’ll probably enjoy that sorta thing. It’s the same acoustic-y cover songs you’ve heard everywhere else.

So basically the live music version of their pizza.

Final Grade: C+

What I Liked: Pizza was decent, not great. Not a bad beer list. The actual decor and atmosphere is pretty slick. The open air windows in the summer are awesome. Potential is there.

What I Didn’t Like: Another pizza place? Really? Confusing vibe. Live music can make it hard to converse with friends. Service can be spotty.



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