Last Call at McBride's
This Providence pub puts a whole new spin on the "Irish goodbye."
Photograph by Michael Cevoli
The clock strikes ten, a bartender tolls a bell and a few dozen strangers raise their pints for Russell Grady. The family man and avid motorcyclist died three weeks earlier, and his niece sought to honor him with a Last Call toast at McBride’s Pub in Providence. The nightly remembrance for the departed was born the day the bar opened in 2011. “It’s something I figured would fade away, but we still get requests. People love to do it,” says Mark Russell, who, alongside his brother, wife and children, built the pub out of a little-used garage attached to the family’s funeral business. In lieu of a request, the staff commemorates fallen soldiers from Rhode Island. “It’s nice to just run them by someone one more time,” Russell says. “People ask if it’s an Irish tradition. I just made it up, but it does seem to fit. The Irish, certainly during a wake or funeral, find some time to raise a glass.”