A Weekend in The Beat

Just one of Hartfords offerings I hit up this weekend.

Just one of the Hartford establishments I hit this weekend.

As I previously promised, I took advantage of much of what Hartford has to offer this weekend. It started with dinner at a place we’ve reviewed before –Tamarind Bar & Grill on Pratt Street– moved to on to The Hartford Stage, and then spilled over into the next day at two other local establishments, and the XL Center. I have come to one conclusion: anyone who says there isn’t anything to do in Hartford isn’t trying hard enough.

Following dinner at Tamarind, the boyfriend and I went to go see Dying City at Hartford Stage. I know the play was named one of The New York Times‘ “Ten Best Plays of 2007” and was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but I only found it “pretty good.” The general story line is this: Kelly lost her military husband, Craig, in Iraq a year ago under some suspect circumstances. His gay twin brother, Peter, shows up at her place looking to commiserate, find comfort, whatever. The play goes back and forth between the “present” and Craig’s last night before leaving — an interesting but not novel method of story-telling.

The show started out a little slow but then did pick up the pace a bit; though that may not have been the script, but the acting. The actress playing Kelly was very good — she played some of the last scenes so well I felt the wrenching nausea of finding out the man you love doesn’t love you in return. The actor who played Craig and Peter, well, I never got lost in either of the characters as it seemed like he was acting too hard, if you know what I mean. However, his costume changes, exits and entrances were impressive as he was playing two characters! There was quite a bit of  “adult language,” mainly referring to sexual situations. Now, this doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all as I have the mouth of a trucker/sailor/felon, but considering most of the audience was older and more proper (including my boss and her husband!), I wonder how that went over with most of them.

Saturday night brought us back to the Hartbeat for dinner at Vaughn’s, one of my favorite bars on Pratt Street. A corned beef Reuben and a Boddington’s was the perfect dinner before heading to the XL Center for the Wolfpack game against the Providence Bruins.

For $10 a ticket, you really can’t beat AHL hockey for two and a half hours of entertainment. Alas, we did not make it in time to receive a Mr. Potatohead from Click It or Ticket. My toy collection will have to do without it. We never made it to our seats, wherever they were, because we headed up to the bar on the fourth floor (take the escalators by the Church Street doors) to watch the game from the rafters with some booze. You do have to have a ticket to get up there, and tables are reserved for the buffet-eating folks (at $20 a pop)…but the seats are open and it wasn’t very crowded.

The game was a blast–even though the Wolfpack played like crap and lost 4-1. But since I didn’t really care who won, there were enough decent plays and fights to keep me entertained. Honestly, I don’t really understand people who don’t like hockey–it’s easy to understand unlike, say, football and is fast-paced so you can’t really get bored. And who doesn’t like to watch some young, attractive, and athletic guys beat the snot out of each other. Let those gloves and helmets go flying, and it’s on. The only disappointment is that I didn’t hear Brass Bonanza.

Following the game, we went to The Tavern Downtown on Allyn Street, next to Agave. None of us had ever been there before, and while the menu doesn’t excite me, it was a good place to grab a couple of drinks. The atmosphere is a tad more upscale than say, Vaughn’s or the old Standing Stone, but it’s still relaxed. The crowd looked legal, unlike Pour House or Pig’s Eye…even a little older! Our waitress was very friendly and on top of things as well. I’d definitely go back there again–especially since it’s right near my parking lot!

So a good weekend in the Hartbeat for this Asian from the ‘burbs…I regret none of it. Except maybe the cold, but Hartford had no control over that.

Or does it??????