Post UCONN basketball game at the XL center in downtown Hartford this restaurant was one of the most convenient choices within a short two block walk on this rainy late afternoon. We were greeted nicely and seated immediately. I've been here a number of times before but this cool place always impressed me with its 1890's architecture and beautiful, unique atmosphere. We were attended to quickly. One of my secondary motivations to come here was the fact that it is a long established brew pub and beer is a critical criteria in restaurant selection for me. Traditionally I've found their brews to be average but the hoppy Jungle Crush IPA I had was quite good. I had a very tasty beet salad with goat cheese and candied pecans with a solid piece of salmon and my wife had a rather bulbous mediocre hamburger. All in all it was decent food, good beer, in a cool atmosphere. And my wife did enjoy her French onion soup appetizer. The atmosphere is largely dictated by the lively pub on the first floor which opens up to the stairway that accesses the labyrinth of seating areas including stair landings with cozy nooks and various alcoves. The lighting is subdued with lots of old woodwork and a variety of antique brewery and local history decor. Music is lively in keeping with the pub crowd downstairs. They offer a full array of beer styles but not much in the way of big beers (barleywine, imperial stouts, etc). The food menu offers plenty of solid choices but it's all more oriented to a somewhat elaborate pub grub style. Not much health food here outside the salads. But post game, for some drinks and food, maybe play some pool in the back game room, lively social setting, this fits the bill nicely and is a great fit for such occasions. It is fairly unique. The only issue was that our waiter, who had done a great job through the meal, was engaged with a large party elsewhere and took a very long time to do our checkout. Other than that we were glad we chose City Steam. Parking is either city lots or garages within the adjacent blocks, or street parking if you can find it. It's located within just a couple blocks of I-84 for very easy access.
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