City Steam Brewery Café

Place Score:
City Steam Brewery CaféCity Steam Brewery Café

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

942 Main St
Hartford, Connecticut, 06103-1214
United States

(860) 525-1600 | map

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 108
Photo of WanderingFool
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited City Steam with some friends on a recent trip to Hartford. The building they are in is turn of the century with high ceilings and dark wood paneling. The bar area is very big with the brewhouse just behind the serving area. They have many styles of beer on tap and the couple I tried were tasty. Same with the food, lots of variety and good quality. The fried pickles were great. There's lots of TVs in the bar to catch the game. My friends were part of the mug club and I would definitely join if I lived closer. Overall City Steam is a great casual brewpub with a relaxing atmosphere and descent food & beer.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Went here back in January of 2015, place was really busy, but the staff kept it together. The beers the have are mostly their own, which are pretty mediocre verging on good. With a few tweaks I think they can make really good beer, but I digress. Food was pretty good but a bit above what I would like to pay for it. All in all, worth a trip for the beginner craft drinker, but a pass for the experienced.

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Photo of The_Librarian
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Was in the area to get Chinese food and walked in on a whim. The place was really slow so we had the pick of where to sit. Lots of seating and clean eating areas. They were out of two of the beers that I wanted so I opted for a nurse (possibly their best known). Staff was friendly and attentive. It seemed like more of a sit and eat place than a drink and hang out. Lots of guys in suits eating lunch. I would like to go back on a Friday or Saturday night to see what the place is really like. Food was really good for a brewery.

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Photo of betterthanyourbeer
2.64/5  rDev -31.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3 | selection: 2.25 | food: 2

Should this really even be called a brewery...they've had the same stale tasteless beers on tap for 10 years. Food is all fried and tastes the same. i think they have taken pride in the fact that since inception....they have NEVER had a good IPA.
ok to try, but regular visits are not happening.

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Photo of rorjets
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Went over after a UCONN basketball game at the XL Center. Just a couple of blocks away, so very easy to get to if you are at an event at the XL Center. The place was buzzing with UCONN fans, but not full to capacity. We opted to sit in the bar, and have our beer and meal there. At least 4 big screen TVs allowed us the chance to catch up on the NFL action (it was a Sunday game and we were out by 3 pm). The Bartender was super attentive despite the influx of fans coming from the game. She had our first beers in front of us within minutes of our arrival. I had the Export Lager, followed by an IPA, my buddy tried the DIPA called Innocence.. I have had all the beers that City Steam bottles, so it was great to have a bunch of other choices on tap. We ordered and had our meals in front of us in no time. The burger I had was perfectly cooked, and my buddy was equally pleased with his selection, which was a BLT wrap. Basic pub food but delivered quickly and it was very tasty. Prices were average, beers are fairly priced. I had been to City Steam way back in 2005, and had been impressed with it then, so I was very happy to see it still doing well. Downtown Hartford is not an easy place to have a Brewpub business because it empties out on the weekends, and there is little parking to be had other than at parking lots. I wish I lived a bit closer, as they have a great Billiards Hall in the back room, but I can only visit on the rare occasions I get to Hartford. Overall, a really enjoyable place for a beer and a meal!

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Photo of tkdchampxi
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Not a bad place to have a drink in Hartfood. I went here after a wedding, so I didn't have any food,

Beers are pretty typical of a small city microbrew.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Located in downtown within the confines of a beautiful Romanesque building that was once a department store, City Steam Brewery Café is the only brewpub in Hartford. The venue sprawls through several floors and includes a patio and a pool room; this review is based on two recent visits to the main floor bar area. The bar is rather large, seating around 50 people with room among a scattering of high tops in which thirsty Hartford office workers can mingle and discuss insurance, no doubt. (Hartford is America's insurance capital.)

The beer selection is decent and runs the gamut of styles; my choices: Acapulco Gold, a session IPA; Blonde on Blonde, an American Pale Ale; Sneak Peek, an amber lager; Pugnacious Porter, an oatmeal stout and the favorite being something called Naughty Nurse, which appears to be an English bitter. Extensive food menu that includes all-day omelets and some attentive servers makes this a popular place to imbibe. They offer a Mon-Fri Happy Hour, when beers are $2.00 off.

All in all, an enjoyable place to quaff fresh beer when in the Nutmeg State.

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Photo of Suds
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

During a recent family excursion to Hartford, we visited this brewpub. Located in a beautiful old building, right in the center of town, this is a very inviting brewpub. The architecture, design, decoration, and general feel of the place is amazing. Beer memorabilia and great ambiance are everywhere. The beer selection was deep and varied. I had the Amber, the IPA, and the Stout. All were excellent. The service was professional and light-hearted, and would be worthy of a higher rating other than being a little slow. Food was mostly traditional, although upscale, tavern food. Well made but not really creative. All in all, this is a great brewpub and absolutely worth a visit.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.75

I was in Hartford to see a show actually, at Webster Theater, so not finding many local options, I picked this, the only brewpub in the city, which was only a couple miles away. It was a pretty interesting place, with a somewhat vintage Americana / pre-Prohibition theme going on. The crowd was pretty bustling, but the staff seemed on the ball at all times.

For whatever reason, I didn't go with my usual sampler flight option, and just chose a couple quick drinks instead. The beer was all pretty basic stuff, with options ranging from wheat beers to simple pale ales. The could've been a Belgian ale and/or a porter on too, I don't really remember.

The menu was fairly extensive, with options ranging from general pub grub, to salads and sandwiches, to pricier entrees. Good stuff, no complaints here. Prices on food and beer were pretty much middle of the road, again, with some of the higher-end food selections getting more expensive.

Beggars can't be choosers in Hartford, it seems. This was not a bad place, considering there didn't seem to be many (or any) other options in town, at least none that I know of.

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Photo of datalager
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

The atmosphere here is awesome. Beautiful woodwork and aesthetics throughout. I love the four tiered open stairway eating layout. My wife and I ate in the small two seater tables on the second tier overlooking the city. Quite a nice view.

Service was fast and friendly, food was delivered hot. We only got burgers but they were done just right. The waffle fries were "eh", the Asian slaw was fresh and tasty. Beer selections were excellent. We arrived at 5:30 on a Saturday evening, so it certainly was getting busy, but not quite peak dinner time. I'd like to go back just slightly later to see how service holds up during the real swing time.

In the end I'd have to say it well worth going, and I'm certainly hoping to go back soon.

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Photo of Bootleg
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Let's face it...serious beer enthusiasts seek out brewpubs for great boutique/craft beers. City Steam Brewery Cafe is spectacular in this regard and is my #1 beer destination whenever I'm in the Hartford area. The food as one might expect by the name is pub fare. It exists to allow us to drink more of the wonderful beers. Many of the selections are quite tasty. I love the black-eyed pea soup! The staff is friendly and very engaging. Get to know them and they will bring a smile to your face visit after visit!

As an avid homebrewer for 25 years, I have known about their Brewmaster, Mr. Ron Page, for a very long time. I think of him as the Greg Noonan of Southern New England. His award winning beers were earning him accolades before going professional. In fact, he won top national honors as "American Homebrewer of the Year" five years in a row if I'm not mistaken back in the late '80's and early 90's. I have never met a brewer so passionate for the craft. Needless to say, the beers at City Steam need absolutely NO excuses and there's a style for every palette or mood.

If you love beer, truly great beer and have never been to City Steam Brewery Cafe, it absolutely has to make it to the top of your bucket list!!!!

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Photo of cheesepuffs
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

Atmosphere was nice and it is much larger inside than I expected. You walk in and you're surround by dark wood and the building has a classic feel inside. Beer itself was good and they have a selection of their own brews that covers most every category. Service was friendly and interactive, though I asked two employees if this place offers brewery tours of where the magic happens downstairs (because when you go there you're in the restaurant/bar the whole time) and neither employee really knew, which I thought was odd. Food wise I had boneless wings, and mac and cheese. Wings were not a good value as you do not get much for your money - only four chicken strips and I believe it was around 9 dollars... The mac and cheese was good and a much bigger portion at least.

Speaking overall, I felt like the food and drinks were not a good value for your money, but at least our bartender was attentive and personable so that makes a difference. Would I go there again? Sure, but only if I was already in the area, and only to grab a beer or two. I would not eat here again because there are better restaurants and bars to go to for a meal.

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Photo of Enriquehopnog
1.79/5  rDev -53.5%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 2.75 | selection: 2 | food: 2

This place is awful. The beer here seems like it was brewed out of someone's garage and they yeast wasn’t controlled at proper temperatures and is always infected. I honestly hate to say but I will say it....A bud light as uncomplicated as it is was better than any of these beers. The place was filthy. The tables and bar are never wiped down and in the late spring and summer months you will see tons of flies. This cannot be good around fermenters. This could also be the reason there beer has an awful after taste. I have tried quite a few of these beers because my friend is obsessed with City Steam. I feel he has no idea what quality is and I believe the crowd truly comes back because of the convenience of job location and the bar.

I highly recommend if you have a passion for quality beer to try another place. There are a number of brew pubs and breweries I can highly recommend. I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to City Steam as I will emphasize that all the beer tastes infected

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Photo of buschbeer
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place was very close to my hotel and was recommended by the gentleman as I checked in. I got there on a Friday during happy hour. The place was very busy. I was glad to see fellow Wolverine fans here. I was in town for the Michigan vs. Connecticut football game. I sat in the bar area. The bar was full and only a couple of seats were open at tables. They had very large tables. There would be two or three people sitting at tables for 6-8. I was not a fan of this. My friend and I sat at a table designed for 6, and it was just the two of us.

We checked out the menu, and the happy hour prices were phenomenal. It was $2 off pints and $7 off one gallon beer towers. They even had certain appetizers that were only $3. I chose to have a sampler to get a feel for their beers. Most were average. A couple were good.

The bar area had a restaurant feel to it. I noticed glass mugs hanging about, so I assume they had a mug club. The waitress was friendly and a little slow, but that was do to the large crowd. I had a couple of the $3 appetizers and the sampler. My friend and I were both very happy about how little we paid. We came back the next day, too.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

I stopped in here last week while on vacation with the family. This brewpub sits in and old brick building just dripping with history in a downtown section of Hartford. Old dark wood and Victorian accents adorn the 2 floors of restaurant space amid the huge windows that look to the city. 12 or so homemade brews adorn the menu along with the standard course of pub grub. A Monday night was surprisingly active but the service was steady and attentive. I sampled several beers that ranged from mediocre to great but was pleasantly surprised by the quality overall. The food was decent and the pricing was on par with what I expected to pay. I'd revisit if in the area. again.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I hate driving in cities, even minor cities like Hartford. Parking is even worse. That's one of the reasons I love City Steam. Parking is close, cheap and easy.

As so as you walk in the bar is to the left and loaded with plenty of framed vintage advertising pieces. The bar has this clean industrial feel to the decor. The beers here are of great quality. It seems that they have about six house taps and four of them rotating.

The dining areas are creative and unique. Some dining tables are on stairway landings, some in cubby holes and other various cozy spots. The establishment seems to have done a lot with a little space.

The food is fantastic, get the chocolate cake, its huge. That slice could feed four.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.33/5  rDev -39.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2 | food: 2.5

Visited after checking out the Xmas lights downtown.

Supposedly the City Steam building is a former department store that represents the best example of Romanesque architecture in America. With the Xmas decorations and retro beer art everywhere it looks like a combination of Friday's or Appleby's and the toy store from Home Alone 2.

We came for an a beer at the bar but the bar was so crowded we elected for drinks and dessert at a table. We were ID'd once we entered the door and then again by the waitress who said she didn't trust anyone to check IDs for her. My girlfriend was not happy and the ensuing tension between her and the server carried out through the night. Once our server discovered we were only there for dessert and drinks she pretty much shut down and ignored us. It took 30 minutes and several requests to get a glass of water. The server wasn't familiar with the beer list and described it by listing the things that they didn't have. An extra .5 service points for a courteous and friendly bus boy that was the highlight of this place.

For a brewery cafe City Steam doesn't have a lot of beer. It's mainly a restaurant. They had an pale ale, amber ale, golden lager and saison on tap. Not that exciting. The beer itself wasn't anything special and a peanut butter ganache thing was off but my GFs chocolate martini was pretty good.

In retrospect I wish we had gone someplace else but I guess you never know until you try. Been there, done that.

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Photo of spydo99
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I don't go to Hartford as much as I used to. But when I do, City Steam is 1 of 4 stops I try to make. I would say when I am in Hartford, I stop in for at least a pint 9 out of 10 visits to the city.

The resteraunt is very "Unique" - I want to say 5 levels. Food is average - another place you go to drink and eating is an afterthought.

The comedy club is well worth the visit - you can catch a suprise act from time to time.

The beer all have names and have a regular rotation, colt, naughty nurse, etc. I try to go when I know they will have either the Jamaican Stout or the "Russian" Imperial Stout. Have not yet hat the PV Porter dedicated to the life and times of a former local PV O'Donnell. (Gonna miss the Fiddle)

They do a nice presentation on the "yard" of beer. Designed to serve the table.

All in all worth a visit for a pint or two.


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Photo of socon67
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went here with some friends. The place is more restaurant than beer place, but has a decent vibe. The wait staff know enough about the beer made on premesis to answer questions, and they do have a good amount of selections. I tried the Naughty Nurse and their Belgian Double. Both were solidly good beers. The "guest beers" appear to be the generic stuff. Food was good and better than most brew pubs. Trying a few beers can get a little pricey, but nothing too outrageous. I'd come back on a weeknight to see if the crowd is different.

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Photo of Sammy
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

A nice bar downtown. You can find parkig fairly close. Busy,but a small city crowd with a little fiendliness. it was pre-Tom Petty concert. A working guy's place, the several tables and the generous sized bar were all taken. The beer was nothing too special, the macros were the guest beers. Heavier drinking bar, cocktails and the like. Service was good considering the activity. Worth a stop if and only if you are in the downtown core. A restaurant more than a beer bar, and not somewhere I need to revisit.

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Photo of number1bum
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in here for dinner with a colleague while in town on business. This place was huge - couldn't believe how big it was, with a large downstairs and a lot of seating upstairs as well, plus some private dining areas upstairs. Tons of seating, which made it curious that on a Tuesday night we were told it would be a half hour wait. We actually waited about 5 minutes and passed a number of empty tables on the way to our table upstairs. Maybe they were short on servers or something; who knows. The decor and what not was very nice; lots of wood, very cozy.

They had maybe 8 beers on tap or something like that, plus a wasted guest tap with Michelob Amber Bock on. I tried their IPA and pilsener, and they also had a Belgian IPA, summer stout, light lager, etc. The IPA was solid but the pils sucked; way too sweet, sort of buttery and honey-like. Not good. Selection wasn't overwhelmingly good but seemed solid enough and looks like it turns over a bit.

Food was tasty - we shard some asian wings, vegetable dumplings and a basil and mozzarella pizza and it was all good. Service was a bit dicey. In addition to the stated 30 minute wait, our server was also working a large party and was not as attentive to us as he probably should have been. I think he realized that, however, and was apologetic for it. All in all this was a cool place to visit and I would visit again when I'm back in downtown Hartford for an evening.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This brewpub was a nice little surprise on a recent overnight trip to Hartford for a Pearl Jam concert. It was attached to the hotel I was staying at to make it very convenient too.

The place was packed given that I was there on a Saturday afternoon along with a lot of other out-of-towners who were there for the show that night. We couldn't get a table to try the food but managed to squeeze out way to the bar to get a couple of pints each. I tried their IPA and their Summer Stout. The Summer Stout was a very nice American Stout and IPA was a weak example of the style IMO. Others I was with tried the porter, pilsener and others and had mixed reviews.

The service was great considering how packed the place was.

This was a neat little brewpub. I would definitely go back here if my travels ever bring me back to Hartford.

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Photo of gfbeer
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Had a great experience the other day at City Steam in Hartford, CT before the Jack Johnson concert. Beers were fresh and tasted great and the food was delicious. Had the IPA, which had a great floral smell and hop bite. Summer Stout was also good. The food was also good. Half the party got the buffalo chicken wrap and the other half got burgers. Everyone enjoyed the food and the beer. The place was busy and had a good vibe. Overall, we had a very positive experience and we would definitely go back!!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I was in Hartford for a hot minute - just stopped here for a pint with friends - thought I would give a quick beerfly

Atmosphere was pretty dead while we were there around lunch on a weekday. There were a couple others there, but pretty quiet w/ a small bar area and all the beers displayed that were on tap. They have some cool art deco posters and nice beer ads/comics in the bathroom.

Quality - everything was served fresh and in the appropriate glassware I couldn't really complain as we were treated well

The service was simple basic and up to standard, without really going out of the way- pleasant and friendly.

The Selection is good I was pleased to find a Biere de Garde on and the Pale - Acapulco Gold was as hoppy as some IPA's -with a nice west coast taste. They had a schwarzbier and an unfiltered IPA on as well as a brown ale, wheat and light lager, but not over the top selection was -just a nice variety of solid brews

I would have ordered some food if we hadn't already had lunch at Willimantic, I can't comment on this, but menu looked good

The value is decent, picked up some glassware and had a pint for a quick stop, I would probably return if in Hartford again.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I visited twice this past weekend while in Hartford for some a fraternity leadership conference. On Friday night I went with one friend for a late dinner and had a poor experience. The food was fair at best - both the wings and pizza we got were uninspired. Worse still was that all four of the beers we got between the two of us weren't that great - they all had a really funky aftertaste to them (we got the Black Silk Stout, Carpenters IPA, and Naughty Nurse). Oddly enough, each brew at the same funky after taste, causing me to wonder if perhaps it was coming from their beer lines. Our waitress was also a bit on the slow side, though she also seemed to be serving just about every seated table (which I thought was silly because I saw at least two other servers doing almost nothing while she was serving about 8 tables). To make a longer story short, the first trip was disappointing.

The following evening I visited again, this time with a larger group (10ish) of people. This time around was much better. This visit was much more social and as a result we were ordering mostly pitchers of the amber ale and light lager. Neither of these brews had a funk aftertaste to them - the amber was decent and the light lager was a nice drinking light beer. In regard to the atmosphere, this place is giant: two floors of dining space, a fair sized bar area (which proudly displays brewing equipment) and a comedy club in the basement. There's also a small pool hall in the back of the main floor which me and my buddies took full advantage of.

Overall, I liked City Steam a lot as a social hang out spot. My Friday experience leads me to question their quality control just a bit and I'm not sure if I would go here just for dinner and a beer. Definitely check this place out the next time you're in Hartford, but don't set your expectations for the beer and food too high. They also closed at 1:15 AM on Saturday night. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with Connecticut laws I'm unfamiliar with but it seemed way too early to be closing on a Saturday. They would have easily made $100+ more on just my group of friends alone if they hadn't closed down so early.

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City Steam Brewery Café in Hartford, CT
87 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.