GIFT CERTIFICATE GIVEAWAY: Seaside Tavern, Your Favorite Neighborhood Bar and Heavy Metal Holdout

Chris Kelley Seaside Tavern
Chris Kelley: “Your metal band can play at my bar.”

In the decade that I’ve been on the fool’s errand of playing metal in Fairfield County, I’ve seen the handful of consistently metal-friendly venues dwindle to one: Stamford’s Seaside Tavern.  It’s no secret to Alternative Control readers that my band Jimmy Junk Bird and the Stiffs plays there often; we’ve also been able to host popular bands from outside of the immediate area, like Continuum, Kali Ma, and She Walks Without Legs, to give this region an earful of what the rest of the state is listening to.

So I was more than happy to sit down with owner Chris Kelley to talk about what’s going on at Seaside.  Right around the time that I started playing metal, Kelley and two friends bought the Cove Road bar and changed the name from Jimmy’s Seaside to Seaside Tavern.  Much like his own bar is Fairfield County’s last sometimes-metal venue standing, Kelley is the only one of the three partners who is still involved with the business.

“By trade I’m a chef,” he said over a pint of Big Cranky, “so at first I was in the kitchen for most of the time.  After three years, I was thrown into the mix of everything — I took over the whole music department, the front of the house, managing the restaurant… And fell in love with the music scene.”

Conveniently for me, Kelley has a soft spot for Connecticut’s metal bands.  “There’s a great community behind metal musicians,” he said.  “They stick around for one and other — I see a family behind the whole metal scene, and it’s nice.  They appreciate the venue… And I appreciate the music behind it.  You can see the meaning and the passion that the musicians have.”

But if I tried to pass the place off as a metal club, I’d be lying.  At its heart, Seaside Tavern is a neighborhood bar.  When I stopped in tonight to take a picture of Kelley for this article, a man and a woman were sitting in the front room talking — no lie — about all the reasons they love coming to Seaside.  The game room, the food, the quieter front bar, the live music in the back…  Seriously.  Can’t make this stuff up.

The only thing those folks missed on my list is Seaside’s beer selection, which is quite good for a place this size — Kelley makes it a point to carry local breweries like Half Full, No Worries, Thimble Island, and Stony Creek.  (Haven’t heard of No Worries yet?  It’s from Hamden and on tap at the back bar.)

stony creek big cranky IPA

And speaking of “music in the back,” Seaside has a diverse lineup of shows for the rest of this month, in addition to the weekly open jam on Wednesdays:

Stay tuned for more information about a battle of the bands this summer and mark your calendars for Saturday, October 1st — there will be a most excellent Alternative Control-sponsored event, details forthcoming. See a trip to Seaside in your future?  Enter the giveaway below to win a $25 gift certificate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends Thursday, May 19 at 12:00 AM.  Contest winner must provide name and mailing address within 24 hours of email notification or another winner will be chosen. First name and town of winner may be shared on social media. Gift certificate will be mailed from Stamford, CT on Friday, 5/20 or as soon as a winner is chosen.

Be sure to find Seaside Tavern on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the web.

Seaside Tavern is located at 891 Cove Rd. in Stamford, CT.

(203) 964-9225

For band booking, contact Chris Kelley at [email protected] or message Seaside Tavern’s Facebook page.

And for more from Alternative Control, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and bandcamp.

Disclosure: In addition to being a regular customer, I assist Seaside Tavern with social media.


  1. Let’s see…truckloads of underground bands for a ridiculously small sum, local craft beer, the occasional appearance by a certain legendary mind and Tarot/Palm reader, food I really should try, great location off 95… we even need to make sales pitch for this place? 🙂

  2. Seaside rocks, and recently thanks to Chris they’ve really stepped up their beer game and have been having some pretty awesome stuff consistently! Hopefully this gift card works for beer…

    Was this where I was supposed to “leave a blog post comment”?

  3. Seaside Tavern is one of our favorite places in the state to play. From the band’s perspective the place is easy to load in and out of, the stage is a good size and good height and has some cool lighting! The sound is good and there are some nice vocal monitors on stage as well so we can all great what’s going on. That’s surprisingly something you don’t find all that often so it’s a plus for us to play at a place with a great setup!
    The place has a good crowd that shows up for local acts and has a good menu and drink selection. The workers are curteous to the bands and do a good job working the door. The food is also good and there drinks after good and priced very well! That game room in the back is really cool and a great place to chill between sets and after youve eaten before the bands start up! We will be back soon!

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