The Anchor Spa Restaurant & Cocktail Club opened its doors in 1933. Named for the Milford, Connecticut beach where its first location was founded, the business moved to New Haven in 1939.
Located on College Street, the club attracted artists, actors, writers, and Yale students. Over the decades, famous patrons have included playwright Thornton Wilder, writer Wally Lamb, actress Lucille Ball, legendary rocker Jim Morrison, and Yale alumna Jodie Foster.
Despite its legendary clientelle, the Anchor Spa folded under pressure to modernize after 80 years in business.
However, as soon as the establishment closed its doors in 2015, the public outcry began. An online petition to save the Anchor began to circulate, garnering over 1200 signatures.
In June of 2016, a new owner took over, reopening the New Haven institution under its original name. According to the website, the new and improved establishment's mission is to:
"Create the Anchor Spa for the new millenium. Iconic cocktail club and beloved dive bar - combined, they represent the spectrum of the Anchor's 75-year history."
To honor its humble beginnings, a large display case in the dining room features antiques from New Haven vendor, English Builders Market. The original atmosphere has been painstakingly preserved while the cocktail and food menus have been modernized to keep the Anchor current with the times.
Guests adore the Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos, Sweet Potato Cornbread and Smoked Jerk Wings appetizers.
Dinner options include pasta and seafood selections as well as unique sandwiches like the Blackened Catfish Po Boy and comfort food like the famous Anchor Meatloaf.
When it comes to the bar options, the Anchor lives up to its reputation as one of Americas oldest and most renowned cocktail clubs.
Drinks are inspired by "the world and its ports," with cocktails crafted in the style of Rio de Janiero, New Orleans, Shanghai, New York City, the UK, and of course, New Haven.
Ready to visit? The Anchor Spa is open Monday - Thursday from 4 p.m. - 12:30 a.m., Friday from 4 p.m. - 1:30 a.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. - 1:30 a.m., and Sunday from 5 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Visit their website for more info.