Named after the Milford, Connecticut beach where it first opened during Prohibition, in its halcyon days The Anchor became a favorite watering hole for actors, artists, poets, writers, and Yalies, and the after-work boîte for bartenders and staff from other bars. Levett created an underground speakeasy in its basement, called the Mermaid Room. Over decades the cocktail lounge attracted playwright Thornton Wilder, writer Wally Lamb, and an array of celebrities, including Lucille Ball, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., George C. Scott, Jim Morrison., and Yale alumna Jodie Foster.
On January 4, 2015 The Anchor closed its doors. The business had been facing many pressures and challenges in preceding years, as it struggled to evolve with the changing times. In the end, it closed when poor management led to rental arrears that ultimately could not be reconciled.
In its 2016 relaunch, The Anchor will effortlessly align with a revitalized Downtown New Haven, in the vibrant midst of Yale University. The bar and eatery will simultaneously honor, embrace, and reflect the City’s economic, social and intellectual diversity—representing a cultural cocktail of town and gown immediacy of a deadline.
The Anchor’s new owner, Yale alumnus Karl Franz Williams’ plan is to preserve the best and most recognizable aspects of the restaurant’s former incarnation: Maintain The Anchor name; refresh and restore its Art Moderne façade; spruce up the original tin ceiling; bring in a new jukebox; and keep its characteristic booth seating largely the same. Williams’ intent for The New Anchor: to create something evocative and timeless.