We surveyed hundreds of you about your drinking habits over the winter. The results helped us bring you the best cocktails, bartenders and music venues around the state — not to mention beer-fueled life drawing, the hopping gay bar scene, car-free crawls and the truth about hangovers. Here’s to going out, and getting away with it.
Photography by Nat Rea
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3 Bar Crawls
There’s no car required at these compact drinking destinations. So get your summer walking shoes on and have fun, DUI-stress-free.
4 p.m. Hand over your keys to the valet at Hotel Providence and say goodbye to your car ‘til the morning.
4:15 p.m. Head to the lobby and ask for a cab to take you to the Hot Club on South Water Street. You’ll be early enough to beat the five o’clock crowd and secure the table at the end that juts out over the water. Enjoy the stunning urban views and the crowd of all — and we mean all — stripes.
5:15 p.m. Stroll back down South Water along the river, pausing to walk up one of the deserted on-ramps for the old I-195 and admire downtown silhouetted in the sunset. Then cross the river and hit uber-casual restaurant Red Fez. Their Ginger Gent cocktail is practically a mandatory rite of Providence passage, and the poutine (French fries with cheese and sausage gravy) is all the fortification you could ask for.
7 p.m. Three blocks over, you’ll want to arrive right on time to grab a seat for the Friday night jazz on the rooftop patio at Aspire, the bar-restaurant at your hotel.
8 p.m. Grab a jacket from your room and order another cab to take you to Luongo Square on the West Side, where the jewel-box space of Ama’s is perfect for some chilled pearl sake and sushi.
9:30 p.m. Stroll across the square to The Avery to ogle the gorgeous interior and put yourself into the knowledgeable hands of proprietor J.R., known for his extemporizing mixing skills.
10:30 p.m. Cab it back downtown to The 201 on Westminster, which offers live music, disco balls and pool tables. When it’s time to leave, don’t worry; you’re 500 feet from your bed. —P.J.
4 p.m. The balconies on each room at the Newport Harborside Inn offer views of town or harbor, so you can start mapping your plan of attack. Don’t forget a quick visit to the hotel’s Harbor Room for complimentary afternoon wine, a chat with fellow guests and stunning water views.
5 p.m. Don’t get sidetracked by all the tempting shopping as you stroll to the top of Thames Street. Catch a pedi cab somewhere along the way to take you to Perro Salado. Sit on the back patio for a margarita and housemade guacamole with tortilla chips.
6:30 p.m. It’s a short walk up Broadway to Salvation Cafe’s Tiki Bar. Don’t resist their signature drink, a glass (or pitcher) of sangria, complete with umbrella to match the kitschy cool interior.
7:30 p.m. Stroll down on back to Thames, but on the way, hit up Yesterday’s at Washington Square and order from one of their thirty-six different kinds of micro beers on tap.
8:30 p.m. As make your way down Thames, stop at Fluke. The upstairs bar has some of the best drinks on the island, many made with fresh herbs and fruits — the Sun Potion is a lemon-verbena flavored favorite. From the selection of small plates, a cheese and charcuterie platter will set you up right.
10 p.m. Walk toward the water and you’ll see chic bar Christie’s, where a recent remodeling lends an urban feel complete with swing seats inside. Order from their $5 martini list (it’s the separate list behind the bar). All are good.
11 p.m. Head for your hotel, but no going up to your room just yet. Under the hotel is H20, with live music on weekends. Dance the night away, then crawl, literally, up to your room. —Nicole Roussell
4 p.m. Walk off the ferry and around the corner to the Blue Dory Inn, drop your bags in your chintz-adorned room, and hit the free wine in the cute little Victorian sitting room. Stash some of the homemade chocolate chunk cookies for later; they’re perfect late-night munchy food.
4:30 p.m. Walk through town and up to the Spring House Hotel. Relax on the amazing wrap-around deck, take in the swan pond and Atlantic beyond it, and sip a frozen mudslide, the island’s signature drink. Reminiscent of a grown-up milkshake, they’re best made with vanilla vodka.
5:30 p.m. Hop over the stone wall in back and onto the gracious lawn of the Atlantic Inn, where you can order tapas — the shellfish platter is all you
could ask for — and a glass of bubbly brought to your Adirondack chair.
7 p.m. Walk back through town to enjoy the last of the sunset from the deck at Yellow Kittens. See if you like their mudslides better.
8 p.m. Duck through the barn-like bar’s interior and into Winfield’s next door to grab one of the high-tops in the restaurant’s intimate bar. Bring your drink from Kittens if you like, but their wine list makes a better accompaniment to an app or two. The shrimp and grits will prepare your stomach for further battle.
9:30 p.m. Stroll on over to the Albion and sit around one of the outdoor fire pits on their deck while you chat with the locals and enjoy a beer on tap.
10:30 p.m. Time to burn off those mud-slides. By now you’ve surely heard the beat coming from Captain Nick’s next door. Get in there and kick up your flip flops to the live music. Your room at the Inn is up the block. —P.J.