Downtown Entertainment District Progressing

comedy club construction
Downtown building’s makeover for comedy club and beer hall. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

The area around McLevy Green Downtown is growing a brighter face with building renovations, new housing units and ongoing construction for a German beer hall and comedy club scheduled to open this summer.

CT Post reporter Frank Juliano has more:

The once brightly lit last marquee of the former Playhouse on the Green was removed on this week to make way for a new downtown entertainment district.

Come summer, the space will be lit up again with two entertainment venues–a German beer hall in the former Roberto’s Restaurant and the Stress Factory Comeday Club in the theater space.

“Construction has been underway for a couple of months now, and we’re maintaining the historical character, with new finishes,” said the developer, Brett Wilderman of Forstone Capital LLC of Darien.

Forstone owns the two adjoining buildings on State Street and construction is underway to fit out those spaces and to create 32 apartments on the upper floors.

Full story here.



  1. Okay, not a bad idea. Is there a plan for secure parking in one of the lots? The comedy club could have a big draw for a popular act and Tiago’s could be full too. Not to mention the pool hall and the German club. No one wants to worry about their car while trying to have a few laughs.

    You don’t want to feel like Ichabod Crane walking back to your car or the train station. These venues are going to need security in some form, security guards or cops.

    Either choice must be visible to the patrons at all times. What is going to kill this project are people who don’t feel safe or those who become crime victims. There are a few lots within walking distance or either venue but they will need stationary security.

    Let’s hope the folks who are running these are thinking that far ahead.

  2. These are nice ideas, but they are premature for Bridgeport. Too TID/housing dependent. To be successful, a local BRIDGEPORT population with adequate disposable income is needed to provide a patronage base. The ‘burbs aren’t going to come to downtown Bridgeport for these attractions when they can get better quality in a perceived safer environment by heading to downtown Fairfield and points west.

    There will never be enough people living downtown to sustain these venues.

    Without a fully employed, local (Bridgeport) populace, earning living wages, these venues/attractions will wind up like the Bluefish and the Arena/Ballpark, which were nice ideas, but premature. All these entertainment venues are really great types of venues to have to SERVE healthy, economically viable cities. Bridgeport isn’t there yet, nor will it be, until and unless we develop tens of thousands of local, living-wage jobs, along with redeveloping a really attractive downtown retail sector, as well as a substantial, downtown commercial/business sector, to attract/secure patronage capable of sustaining the aforementioned.

    Nice redevelopment ideas, but being done in reverse order with respect to other supportive, downtown development. And most importantly, not being done in the context of an otherwise economically healthy/viable city.

    First, job-intensive development, logically, in the form of a diversified, advanced manufacturing sector. Then, some attractive retail options supported by some dining/entertainment (enhanced Bijou, Cabaret). Then the whole mix can take off and thrive.

    Right now, a scenario of “more of the same/destined to fail” is being pursued. Bridgeport is ultimately going to see nothing but tax-supported housing in large areas of the city per the present redevelopment non-plan (and higher property taxes, otherwise).

    How much is it costing us to support the premature Arena/Ball Park/Bluefish? What has it brought to the city/downtown? Again, nice ideas, but a back-asswards, premature redevelopment non-strategy/non-plan.

    No one wants to see Bridgeport thrive again more than me, but we can see where the present strategy of housing + housing + housing + unsustainable entertainment + useless TID infrastructure has gotten us.

    It’s looking more and more and more like a Bridgeport beer-hall putsch (coming out of the Gold Coast/suburbs/Hartford) “One Coast, One Future” still.

    Grab the wheel and turn away from the Finch-Malloy rocks, G2!

  3. Blah blah blah blah blah! Jeff, are you sure you’re not a Gold Coast elitist in disguise? Ganim’s a Republican posing as a Democrat from what I’ve heard. What does “First, job-intensive development, logically, in the form of a diversified, advanced manufacturing sector” even mean? Would Derecktor Shipyards manufacturing fall under that category? I believe it failed.

    Thes “‘Burbs” you speak of, who have these so-called “disposable income” jobs, where do they work? GE moved out of Fairfield. What diversified, advance manufacturing sector does the Fairfield ‘burb have that allows them their disposable income jobs to patronize these premature venues being developed in Bridgeport, if the wish to, over venues in surrounding towns?

    If Bridgeporters are commuting to Stamford for their cheap labor pool, as you allude to in every post you make about Bridgeport’s economic woes, can they commute to where the ‘burbs work and get a job where they can receive that disposable income job?

    Are any of the ‘burbs commuting to Bridgeport for these disposable income jobs? Most city municipal jobs, I would hope, give their employees some type of disposable income, like cops, firefighters, etc. If so, are you saying ‘burbs should not be allowed to commute from the suburbs to work in the City of Bridgeport, and should all city jobs with disposable income be given to only someone who lives in Bridgeport? Should only Bridgeporters be allowed for those jobs or own any business in the city?

    Jeff, by the way, I did read Lennie’s book, Only in Bridgeport.

    First of all, that book is over 30 year old. Lennie, if you’re going to advertise and sell it on your site, you can update it. You know? It’s not crime. Even God updated His books every so often.

    Do you think God was done with His Son and the prophets ending with Muhammad before God gave them and the masses toilet paper and indoor plumbing? (Let that sink in, that’s right, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad all crapped behind a tree or bush and wiped their a$$es with leaves.) To be fair, Jesus might give Mormonism some consideration, if they clean up their act.

    I would add L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology to the body of God’s work, but that s**t is as crazy as Tom Cruise and as insincere as Jeff Kohut’s writings about his concerns for Bridgeport residents earning a living wage (disposable income).

    Secondly, Gaming in Bridgeport didn’t start with “President Trump’s” proposal (for or against) a casino in Bridgeport in the mid-’90s. According to Lennie’s book, it goes back to the early ’70s, and probably a lot farther than that

    Jeff, I question your sincerity for development that will bring tens of thousands of local living-wage jobs “along with redeveloping to support attractive downtown retail sector, as well as a substantial, downtown commercial/business sector, to attract/secure patronage capable of sustaining the aforementioned.” Because you are opposed to a Bridgeport casino not because it will not produce local living-wage jobs and all you aforementioned, but because it is not your type of salvation for the city.

    Republicans wearing Democrat masks or vice versa. On one hand you can’t say you don’t want to increase taxes on society to subsidize basic needs like food, shelter, health, security, needed for the people in that society; and on the other hand not ensure jobs (employment) with the ability to provide for themselves these needs. These are not recreational needs to pass time until death. If you don’t want to increase taxes on society for these basic provisions and these necessities, or to ensure gainful employment for them to acquire the basic needs, where do you expect them to come from? If an employer or employment doesn’t or can’t provide health insurance to their employees either the employer doesn’t or can’t give it to them or the means so they can acquire it for themselves.

    This is basic math, people. It’s a sad state of affairs when the object of one’s satisfaction is not solely based on the object in itself, but the deprivation of said object from another. Good luck, people. If I don’t see you,

  4. Thanks, Lisa. I read a book many years ago called “Overcoming the Fear of Success.” I thought the whole premise of the book was really absurd and stupid. Not wanting to succeed because you just feel you aren’t deserving and don’t measure up, because of race, gender, or birth circumstances, etc. Now I think the author was really on to something. And I think it even works on a macro/societal level, in this case, on the municipal level, where all we (Bridgeporters) think all we deserve is lower-end development with a few low-end jobs.

    Well, as has always been known in education; what teachers and students expect of each other will play out in classroom success, or the lack thereof. And so it would also seem with cities, et al. If we don’t think we’re smart, deserving and capable, we won’t attain and achieve and we will continue to play into the hands of those who think lowly of us and don’t particularly want to see us thrive, for whatever reasons (nefarious or based on ignorance/prejudice. Makes me think about what MLK would do and say were he alive and serving as mayor of Bridgeport.)

  5. I never did quite understand this continuous fight for voter IDs. The Democrats have been fighting the Republicans since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I don’t understanding the party switch after it was signed into law (again). Ron’s premise of the Southern Democrats didn’t like to be told what to do so they joined the Republican Party that told them to give the rights to blacks, is beyond my comprehension. Even so, what was the Republican’s reason for them to switch to the Democrat Party? I mean they won the fight. Reverend Burns tries to give an explanation for it but it still seems weak because the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement still would have known the Democrat Party was their biggest obstacle in their fight for the Civil Rights Act. At any rate back to my point. For the last 50-plus years the Democrats have been the lead advocate for blacks and in that timeframe, we still hear Democrats fighting Republicans about voter ID laws. I’m not a smart man, if a black person doesn’t have a proper ID to vote, they don’t have much. Forget a home, car, decent job etc. if you don’t even have an ID to vote. I get voter fraud in many forms but fighting for blacks to vote without a proper ID seems backwards. Give them ID to vote, if you haven’t given blacks an ID in 50 years something’s amiss.

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