Seeing the shiny, new-ish Dean Hotel, it's pretty hard to imagine it was once a seedy strip club/brothel, first during the 70's as The Civic View Inn and later, during the early 2000's, as The Sportsman's Inn. (For a hiccup, in the 90's, it was also a rock club called The Church House Inn, a spot a womanizing ex of mine used to frequent on a very regular basis.) Anyway, I thought I'd already blogged or Instagram'ed absolutely everything noteworthy about the place - until, that is, I started reading my friend Alexandra Lepore's (aka, The Wax Queen RI) recent My RI Life post. She listed The Magdalenae Room as one of her fav spots and described it as 'THE sexiest bar' for a cocktail. I was intrigued. And more than a little surprised since I'd been to The Dean a dozen times for coffee (at Bolt) or dinner (at Faust) and had no idea this bar even existed. #HowDidIMissIt #IAmTheOriginalClueless
So, after checking out the annual sale at the PVD Art Club yesterday afternoon, we piled back into the car and made a beeline for The Dean and The Magdalenae Room. The vibe at the hotel was mellow, but no big surprise there because after all, it was a lazy late Sunday afternoon. TMR opened it's doors about 15 minutes after we arrived. In the mean time, my niece kept talking about this bartender mentioned by name - and billed as Providence's most noted barman! - on their website. Once we got inside, she went to work, interrogating the bartender, wanting to know if he was the guy named online. (She can usually get away with doing stuff like this because she's in her mid 20's and gorgeous.) He wasn't. I figured out later on though that the bartender guy mentioned online was actually someone I'd gone to uber competitive Classical High School with ages ago. (He's since go on to develop some of the coolest Euro-inspired restaurants and film noir'esque bars in PVD, including of course this one.) Only in Rhode Island kids, only in Rhode Island...(Cindy Adams won't mind my co-opting the signature sign off from her column and replacing NY with RI, right?)
Besides a guy I went to HS with being involved, here are the other key points to know about TMR:
- It's low key, retro classy with an undercurrent of mystery and sex, thanks mostly to the dim lighting, velvet couches, and the vintage drawings of nudes on the walls (a remnant of its brothel days...Alexandria had already clued me in about these in advance, so I knew to look for them.). So, whatever you do, don't bring that one friend who after his/her first drink, starts talking really loud and acting like a complete jack*ss.
- The drinks we had were delicious. True Story: Someone in our party, who shall remain anonymous, could not stop raving about how good his drink was. (He had The Rob Roy.)
- As you can see from some of the photos, it's not the best location to Instagram from because of the lighting (or lack thereof), but what better time to stash your phone, kick back and have a few drinks?
- It's a fab after dinner destination to take anyone you're trying desperately to impress, aka, that person you're going out on a second or third date with maybe.
Ciao For Now,