Airport Bar

Airport Bar

There’s a handsome and desolate stretch of road between downtown Stratford and its coastal neighborhood of Lordship. It’s bounded on either side by protected wetlands and runways for the largely forgotten Sikorsky Memorial Airport. And though untold airfields have similar adjacencies, few if any can boast about being neighbors with the likes of the Windsock Inn.

The Windsock shares a parking lot with the 1929 Curtiss Aircraft Hangar, a denuded and remarkably historic structure that’s seen Igor Sikorsky, Amelia Earhardt, Charles Lindbergh and Howard Hughes. Though currently lacking a roof and any indication that it’s being cared for, the hangar’s exposed steel trusses and brick walls lend the scene a midcentury action movie quality that puts me in the mood for a strong cocktail or a light beer.

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The Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center

Filling up quickly after opening on weekends, the Windsock is more of a destination than the airport, which caters to private and charter flights. The building itself is a straightforward and unremarkable affair, but the walls are decorated with images that try to capture the site’s significance to the history of powered flight. Sitting on the back patio or the picnic tables dotting the grass, you can watch the takeoffs and landings every 10 minutes or so.

The people that hang here seem a fine and motley group of characters as likely to order a Cutty on the rocks as a margarita or a Michelob Ultra. The Windsock caters to all kinds—Harley riders, golf cart drivers, pickup truckers, antique sportscar collectors. Don’t expect anything fancy, but do expect the staff to do their best to make sure you enjoy your stay.

On my first visit, I chuckled when a man walked out of the bar’s tiny kitchen wearing a chef’s jacket. Who are they kidding, I thought? Their weekend special porchetta sandwich, served with gravy and hot peppers, was an instant clapback to my hasty condescension. So are their perfectly fried buffalo wings, smoky chili and satisfying pastrami sandwich. And though I normally have a rule about mixing bars and organ meat, I’m ordering their liver and onions sandwich the next time I visit.

I can’t see a good reason not to go to the Windsock Inn. There’s stirring history, tasty food and free entertainment. And now I know how much I enjoy watching a beat-up Cessna land at sunset with a cold drink in hand.

The Windsock Inn
295 Main St, Stratford (map)
Sun-Thurs 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am
(203) 378-9117
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Written and photographed by Chris Renton.

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