Drinks, Clinks & Holiday Cheer: Providence Dive Bars

Yes, it's unseasonably, and freakishly, warm this December, but that doesn't make it any less stressful. And sometimes, the best mini break from all the pressure of what to buy and what to give for Christmas or nonsense like the wrapping paper vs. gift bag debate is to go for a drink. Or two. That's why today's #PattyJDotCom is a guide to the coolest current PVD dives as well as the five infamous ones that are a big part of local mythology in the OS. 

  1. Captain Seaweeds - According to one 20-something contributor who shall remain anonymous, this place is "entertaining but sketch" (But isn't that what everyone wants in a dive?). Mad props for its ship/nautical theme, the lobster raffle every Thursday night, and not having a web site or FB page (some major dive Cred there).
  2. Wild Colonial - Dive bar light. An Irish pub vibe that appeals to everyone from millennial to Gen X'ers and boomers. (Shout out to the person who asked if I was the mother of one of this blog's contributors. I look young, ok? Everyone else says so!!!)
  3. Scurvy Dog - Dive bar heavy. Legit punk rock bar, on the edge of Olneyville, painted blacker than Chanel Vamp nail polish. It's beer-tastic and the real deal. 
  4. The Parlour - I so wanna say that the name The Parlour is an homage to the old LivingRoom on Promenade St. (See below.), but I don't know that for sure. It does, however, remind me of the LR in a lot of ways, especially because people there are not at all hipster standoff-y (Read: pretty friendly) and patrons are an eclectic mix. 
  5. The Red Fez - Dive bar high end. A favorite of many peeps featured in My RI Life series on this blog for it's nifty interior and inexpensive eats. 
  6. The E & O - Owner was a bartender at the iconic Met Cafe in its Downcity  incarnation. If you're curious, but cautious and want a dive light experience, go on a Sat night. And Joaquin Phoenix may or may not have spent some time there while he was in RI filming that Woodie Allen movie last year. 
  7. Nick-A-Nees - Popular motorcycle-ish bar (Think Bill Maher libertarians who want to legalize weed, not Hell's Angels, who at some point, actually set up clubhouse across from the building on the west side where I went to elementary school.) with live music and a jukebox. A former friend of mine once tried to dump a guy there. I wouldn't recommend it for that, but you should go just to check it off your bucket/f*ckit list. 


Dive Hall Of Famers

  • The Old Green Bar (on Westminster) - Neighborhood, blue collar featured prominently on Showtime's Brotherhood tv show about two Irish bros (one gangster and the other politician) in Providence. Current home of The Scurvy Dog. 
  • One Up (Steeple St.) - One of my ex's used to go to drink, shoot pool, and (probably) pick up side ho's. I also brought a friend there and she developed a huge crush on one of the bartenders who happened to be a member of one of PVD's most popular local bands during the 80's. Who, as the story goes, almost got a record deal. 
  • The LivingRoom (on Promenade St.) - Now high end offices and apartments. Used to be the place to see everyone from the Buttonhole Surfers and the Ramones to Todd Rundgren to Bon Jovi (Yes, they played there in 1984 when Runway was a single.) and The Goo Goo Dolls (before they went Top 40, back when they played with locals like Boneyard).
  • The Met/Lupo's (Downtown PVD) - First thing to know about the Met Cafe and Lupo's is 1/2 the people who tell you they used to hang out there probably didn't. Second is that it's the spot where you could see local bands along with the occasional rock god who would stop in after playing a show over at the nearby Civic Center (now The Dunk). 
  • Club Babyhead/The Rocket (on Richmond St., The original AS220 was a block down the street btw.) - Not even sure if there's still a club there or what, but I did get served there while I was still in HS. You could find the usual suspects from the 80's, early 90's music scene, including Iced T (Pre-Law & Order SUV, where he now plays a cop, during the uber controversial tour for his album Cop Killer) and musician/poet Jim CarrolI (Leo Dicaprio played him in The Basketball Diaries, the movie based on one of his cult classic books.).

Ciao for Now,

Patty J


Photo Credits: Photo by Ed Giles/Getty Images News/Getty Images