Rarely is 400 years of history and presidential name-dropping relevant to a CTbites review, but allow me to digress.
Bar Ordinary, New Haven's newest incarnation of its oldest bar, sits on a storied site on the corner of Chapel and College Street. Nearly 400 years of New Haven history converge on this location, beginning with its role as the town’s first ordinary, or tavern, in 1659 where it hosted a few early visitors you may recognize, including the infamous Benedict Arnold as well as General George Washington as he made his way to command the Continental Army in 1775 (other presidential visitors may have included Lincoln in 1860 and Taft in 1914). In subsequent centuries it was known as The Beers Tavern (18th), the New Haven Hotel (mid-19th) and the Taft Hotel (beginning in 1910), serving as the locus for the city's social stratum for the greater part of the twentieth century.* By the 1980’s, The Taft Hotel's bar room became Richter’s, a popular spot owned by Yale grad and crew instructor Richter Elser who embraced its layers of historic patina, keeping much of the wood paneling and its original plaster ceiling until it closed in 2011.