Welcome to the first (hopefully) annual Rockies!

Okay, sure, I know it’s 2016 and I should’ve written this a week ago. But it’s hard to find time to write articles when you’re binge-watching To Make a Murderer, playing Metal Gear Solid V, and eating approximately six pounds of lightly salted peanuts for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

Chipmunk eating a peanut

Pictured: My Christmas break

But we’re back! And even though it’s 2016, I wanted to look back and reflect on some of the things that happened in 2015. And award them for being awesome. Or terrible.

So without further adieu, I present you, the 2015 Rockies! (I was going to call them the Betweenies, but that’s just silly.)

Note that there will be no cash prize. Or, if the award winners would like to split the profits of this site, each award is worth approximately $-12.47.

The Donald Trump GOP Primary Chances Award (Most Improved)

Winner: Elm City Social

Yeah, that’s right. I’m gonna say it. Briq was crap.

Sure, it had a rooftop bar and swank, confusing bathrooms. But it also has overpriced cocktails and a schizophrenic menu and the most comically terrible service in the Greater New Haven metro area. Which, if you’ve been to a restaurant or bar in New Haven, is really impressive.

Elm City Social streamlined the menu into simple New American fare, while improving service, adding craft beer, and even cutting a few bucks off the cocktails.

Elm City Social

You’ll notice the menu doesn’t have 200 wildly disparate options.

When summer comes around, that rooftop bar will be hopping. With any luck, they’ll have learned from Briq’s mistakes and actually staff it. And maybe throw some booze up there.

Like Donald Trump, this bar has risen from the disgusting ashes. Except, you know. Without hating immigrants. (As far as I’m aware.)

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Award (Most Likely To Go Extinct)

Winner: Canditopia

Listen, I love the idea of a nostalgic candy store. We all used to love them as kids. Sugar-fueled nightmare shops for parents, I imagine.

But it’s just not 1996 anymore. New Haven is a pretty health-conscious city, and CandiTopia sits in the heart of Chapel Street near Yale, where stores half-lives are approximately two months.

Canditopia Grand Opening

I walk by twice a day and have literally never seen this many people there.

Plus, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more than one person in the store at a time. Do you know how much candy one person has to buy to keep a store afloat?

Cause if you do, I have some follow-up questions.

Honorable Mention: Green Tea House, just cause I can’t imagine a tea house surviving in New Haven.

The Unicorn Award (Most Likely To Not Exist)

Winner: LiveWorkLearnPlay

Oh sure, supposedly it’s still happening.

Meanwhile, the City of New Haven needed to move a bunch of utilities in order to even do the site survey. They need to finish the next part of the Downtown Crossing project which involves reclaiming land over Route 34 and extending Orange Street.

And then construction can begin. Which will probably take like four bajillion years.

But if it makes the whole “weird wasteland between New Haven Union Station and Downtown” better, then great. Supposedly it has this enormous public courtyard space, a fancy hotel, apartments, retail. The whole deal.

LiveWorkLearnPlay rendering

Oh, sure, it LOOKS nice.

We’ll see.

The Sex In the City Award (Best Place to Meet Attractive Opposite Gendered Humans)

Winner: Geronimo/Cask Republic

I’m going with co-winners on this one. I’m also going to disqualify Bar cause I’m 35 years old and dancing at Bar makes me feel about 100. But if you’re like, 23, I bet it’s the best. But you’re probably not 23, buddy.

Meanwhile, Geronimo caters to the 30-40 crowd and I have to say, I don’t know if there’s something in the margaritas, but everybody around is really good looking. Though there is a douchey vibe permeating.

Group of people with drinks at nightclub bar

Why the fuck is everybody here so HAPPY?

Cask is generally one of the most packed bars around New Haven, and I’ve found it is shockingly even-gendered, given it’s a beer bar. But it is huge and caters to a good cross-section of humans.

So get out there and make some bad choices!

The Hermes Conrad Bureaucrat Award (Best Government Official)

Winner: Toni Harp

I thought about others, but the truth is, I think Toni Harp is pretty much killin it. Whether it’s economic development with Matthew Nemerson or transportation changes with Doug Hausladen, she’s put together a good team and continues to engage the city on all facets.

She’s smart, she’s accomplished, and she seems thrilled to be the Mayor of New Haven. For others, the job would, perhaps, be a stepping stone, but I truly believe Harp loves the city and wants to be a part of it and helping it grow.

Plus, if you’ve ever heard her speak on WNHH Community Radio, she is incredibly well-spoken and has a firm grasp of the issues and the city. Color me impressed.

Hermes from Futurama

Hermes would be proud.

The Known Universe Award (Biggest Story of the Year)

Winner: Barcade Comes to New Haven

Sure, you might think the biggest story in New Haven was the reduced crime or the enormous amount of apartments sprouting up everywhere. Or the bike lanes or the future of public transportation or the gentrification of The Hill.

But you’d be wrong.

Cause judging by pure traffic to this site, Barcade coming to New Haven was, by far, the biggest story in New Haven.

Barcade

And why not? It’s going to have vintage arcade games. It’ll have snacks. It’ll have craft beer. It’ll be packed. Probably with dudes.

But so what? Sometimes, it’s okay to go to a bar full of dudes and play Paperboy until you’re drunk. Isn’t that what America is all about?

(Yes… ?)

(And no, I don’t know when it’ll be done. Sorry. Stop asking.)

Well, I hope you enjoyed our First Annual (?) Rockies Awards. If you run a business which ended up on this site… sorry. But lucky for you, I don’t know anything about running a business, so maybe your candy-based business is going to MURDER it. I’m rooting for you.

I’m just not betting on you.