On Thursday afternoon, I had the chance to stop in New Haven and visit one of my closest friends Christina, who began her PhD this past fall at Yale. I knew I wanted New Haven pizza for lunch, but I had a hard time deciding which place. Frank Pepe and Sally’s are the two classic options. I had been to Frank Pepe’s once several years ago. Christina was hoping to try Sally’s but unfortunately they are closed for lunch. I was more than happy then to try out Bar, which I had read several favorable reviews of.
Bar is located in a spacious building that used to be an auto showroom. Large windows flood the space with natural light. Bar doubles as a nightclub and they also brew their own beer. Dave tried the AmBAR Ale which had a pleasant caramel flavor. Bar keeps the pizza menu very simple. Diners have the option of a red pie, red pie with mozzarella, or a white pie with any of a dozen or so toppings.
We ordered a large red pie with mozzarella. I like to gauge a pizza’s merit beginning with the most basic incarnation. When I think of classic New Haven pizza, I think of oblong pies with a good amount of bubbling and char from either a coal or wood-fired oven. Bar, being not as old as Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s, has a gas-fired oven. The sauce and cheese, funnily enough, reminded me of a slightly thinner version of some of the New York pizza I grew up with. The sauce was pure and sweet, not heavily spiced or flavored with herbs. The cheese was on the saltier side, but not offensively so, and was applied evenly across the entire pie.
The crust was uniformly chewy. The edges were slightly crispy but nowhere near the crispiness of the slightly charred crust that comes from a coal-fired oven. I enjoyed the chew though, and the crust was substantial enough to support the large quantity of sauce and cheese.
I will hopefully get to the other New Haven spots in the near future to provide a more up to date comparison, but I was extremely pleased with my experience at Bar. The pizza was flavorful and well-made, and if you would rather do without the long lines and characteristic attitude at some of the older establishments, then Bar is the perfect choice.
254 Crown St
New Haven, CT