Create The Anchor Spa for the New Millennium. Iconic cocktail club and beloved dive bar—combined, they represent the spectrum of The Anchor’s 75-year history.
Owner Karl Franz- Principal
Karl Franz is a Yale Graduate (’97), a seasoned entrepreneur, and noted bar owner with over 10 years in the industry who has conceptualized and opened two restaurants including the highly regarded 67 Orange Street, a mixology bar in NYC. He is an established spirits professional and consultant who has consulted with major restaurants (like the Cecil – picked Best Restaurant in America late last year) and major spirits producers including William & Grant, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey, and Bacardi. He currently represents D’USSE Cognac as their National Ambassador, consulting with bars across the country on developing and improving their cocktail programs and their bartenders. Karl is one of a small group of people around the world who have passed the B.A.R., the most rigorous and respected mixology and bartending course offered by the founders of the current cocktail movement. Karl began his career with a more traditional path, working for 10 years in the operations, marketing, brand management, and innovation departments of Procter & Gamble and Pepsi Cola North America, in positions of increasing responsibility.
Karl decided to resurrect The Anchor Spa by carefully preserving core aspects of the physical, historical version of The Anchor that those in New Haven grew so fond of over generations, while aiming to please both fans and newcomers by reviving many of the establishment’s intangible graces as well: community, camaraderie, exposure to new people—from all ports of call and walks of life—and new ideas, shared experiences, and a sense of belonging.
The Anchor Spa distills the essence of the old Anchor—and its endearing community values—while adding a new, audacious chapter to the storied past of one of Americas oldest and most renowned cocktail clubs.
A lustrous indigo facade loops around the stylized bubble of a window. Vintage nautical lamps hang above the bar while candlelight’s flutter against the brick walls. The aroma of an oversized chocolate chip cookie wafts on its way to another table and the bartender pours a sherbet-shaded drink with an anchor etched in its foam. This is the Anchor Spa, a New Haven immortal that has taken many shapes over the decades. Tonight, it takes the form of a slick oasis, brimming with curated sounds and ornate offerings.
The Anchor Spa opened in its current incarnation in 2015. The owners resurrected the staple in the ninth square district. Heeding the public outcry at losing the time-tested watering hole, the reboot of Anchor was careful to maintain much of the aesthetic of the original bar.
“The feel hasn’t changed at all. You still feel the Anchor. We moved the bar from the back to the front. But people still come in and say they feel the spirit of the Anchor.” Gregory Genias, of Bootleg Greg Cocktail Co.
Vibrant art leans in from the walls. Regal etchings of natural haired sisters goad the eyes to one side of the room while a seaside mural swells behind the bar. What is the magic of the Anchor?
“Originality. We’re bringing it back to the beginning of cocktails. In the 1930s, they didn’t have 9 ingredients. We go against the grain of modern day mixology,” said bartender Jonathan Murray. Genias demonstrated the house craft by roasting pineapple on the spot for custom syrup in the riotously named Original Bumbaclot, a word still illegal to say in Jamaica.
“It’s like when people used to dress up fly. Now people come with sandals and all ten toes out. We want to bring back the style.” Genias said.
The Anchor’s menu spans a cultural diaspora. Drinks like the Kid Creole boast the power of sweet potato to invoke Louisiana. Appleton rum sets off the Ocho Rios-inspired Some Kind of Blue.
“We have two bartenders running the show with about 30 years’ experience between us. We have owners with a genuine love for the business and serving. You combine that with the history of the Anchor and that’s a one of a kind experience.”
Hours of operations:
Sun, 12 pm – 12 am
Mon & Tues, 5 pm – 12 am
Wed & Thu, 5 pm – 1 am
Fri, 5 pm – 2 am
Sat, 5pm – 2 am