New Canaan’s Top Spots for Cocktails

Thank you to Suburban Jungle for sponsoring this post.

If you’ve never been to New Canaan, you may have heard that it’s a “beautiful, but sleepy New York City suburb”. While most places do close by 11pm, New Canaan is anything but sleepy. Whenever we have friends visit, one thing is consistent- they’re always in awe of how many restaurants there are in such a small town. There is no better pastime than grabbing a drink and having some ‘girl time.’ My girlfriends and I often opt for places in downtown New Canaan to satisfy our cravings for an evening libation- or two. Now let’s get to the good stuff- where can a gal grab a drink in this town?

Baldanza Cafe recently relocated to 129 Elm Street, and the space is gorgeous- wine bottles and large canvas paintings adorn the walls in this bright, open space. Let’s talk about the drinks that bartenders, Tyler and Chnoo, whipped up. They were nothing short of works of art. If you visit during the week, Baldanza Cafe has Happy Hour Specials and a small bites menu. My friend, Lindsay, couldn’t stop raving about the ‘Sriracha Hot Chili Margarita’. The ‘Hibiscus Fizz’ is more up my alley- Saint Germaine, Prosecco, and a hibiscus flower. (All the pictures in this post were taken inside Baldanza)

Hashi Sushi opened its doors last year, and it’s been one of our favorite spots for date night. Hashi has also quickly become one of my favorite spots to visit with my girls, too. Several months ago, I visited for a cocktail and sushi with one of my friends, Jenna. The bar is quiet, and their wine list is rather extensive.

I can’t mention great spots to grab drinks without talking about Cherry Street East Cafe. Self-described as an ‘unpretentious neighborhood institution serving classic American fare & beer in a converted house.’ That completely sums it up! If you’re looking for a casual spot to hide away, drink, and talk- this is the perfect spot.

Cava Wine Bar is another favorite. Their ‘wines by the glass’ list is very extensive, and their food is great. Whether you’re opting for seared salmon on a salad or a decadent wood-fire pizza, you won’t be disappointed. Fun fact, Chef Nube is an incredibly hard-working and sweet person. You can read more about her amazing story here.

Special thanks to these sweet friends for joining in on the fun- Lindsay Brown, Shamika Pandit, and Helen Phillips. Tyler Moss, thank you for having us at Baldanza.

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What are the chances?

My maternal grandfather was a pretty big deal. He was a 6’3″ “Dennis-the-Menace” turned football star turned businessman.  In the 1950’s, he had a successful football career that began as a player at Bucknell University. But to everyone who knew him, he was so much more than his resume. He was witty, charismatic, intelligent, and quick-on-his-feet. Yes, he could be rather intimidating with his unique sense-of-humor. Above all, he was a loyal husband to his teenage-sweetheart, my grandmother, for over sixty-years. He was a proud father who worked his butt off for his family.  To all of us grandkids, he was just our ‘Pa.’ I remember bringing the Wall Street Journal into my first grade class for “Show and Tell.” There was Pa, on the front page. We were always so proud of him and his biggest fans. He had such unique relationships with all 8 of his grandkids.

I visited Pa one of the last days he was awake. He was in the ICU at Yale fighting an infection that his body simply couldn’t fight anymore. After years of battling dementia, he was no longer the same “Pa” we all knew. Somehow, there was one thing that remained constant- his humor and charisma. Even as he was unable to drink through a straw anymore, he was still cracking jokes with the nurses.

During our last visit, he tried to sell me to several cardiac residents while they did their rounds. Like, literally sell me. “I will even pay you to marry her,” he teased as I sat in the corner laughing. You never could take Pa too seriously or be offended by his humor. He truly was hilarious.

I remember my mom urging me, “Tell Pa what you’re doing tomorrow!” I rolled my eyes in an attempt to hush my mother. Daughters always have a subtle way of doing that. I finally told Pa, “I have a date on Friday with a Bucknell-guy.”

“A Bucknell football player,” he insisted.

“Well, no. He was a Bucknell tennis player.”

He nodded, smiled, and said, “I’d prefer a football player, but that’s good enough.”

It was so ridiculous that I was telling my grandfather about my upcoming date. (Insane, right?) Pa passed away one week after my date with Ben.

I forget sometimes that Pa and Ben never actually met. I know they would have bonded over so much more than their shared Bucknell pride.  Visiting Bucknell a few weeks ago for homecoming was such a special experience.

In front of the chapel where my grandparents were married in the 1950’s

Grabbing beers at the Bull Run

Pa’s favorite golf hat