Bar Specials

6 Bars With Creative Entertainment

When you want to do more than just sip drinks, these options deliver alternative entertainment.

The Spot Underground
101 Richmond St., Providence, 383-7133,
The Spot’s open mic nights celebrate art and artists. On Madcap Mondays, performers share the stage with 2-D visual art, and you may just watch the artist working on a new painting while listening to a duet or solo act or a local slam poet’s latest work. Re-Creation: Tuesday follows up with a live band jam session on the main stage, or an acoustic session on the den stage. The high-top tables, spindle legged chairs and soft couches give the Spot a ’90s coffee shop vibe. An added perk: Both nights are free (and include snacks!).

The Salon
57 Eddy St., Providence, 865-6330,
The Salon’s events are as eclectic as its picnic-table-and-pinball aesthetic. Comedy open mics, set in the downstairs Cutting Room, draw comics of all ages and experience levels. The intimate environment ensures that people can find it if they are looking, but won’t wander in by mistake. For a more active night out, check out the Hop, a biweekly oldies and new wave dance party (Wednesdays), or visit one of the many deejay nights, with mix-masters spinning almost every day of the week. Two levels mean two choices, and a fun night out no matter which floor you choose.

Bit Players Newport
4 Equality Park Pl., Newport, 849-3473,,
An improv troupe and live band bring spontaneity and energy to the Firehouse Theater on Friday and Saturday nights (with two shows on Saturdays). This is a good place to watch talented locals play such improv favorites as the Dating Game (similar to the TV version, three contestants vie for a date) and Stunt Doubles (the audience makes suggestions and two actors perform the ongoing scene). Using spectator input, the performers create an entirely new, hilarious show every time. Go ahead and BYOB — corkscrews, bottle openers and cups are provided for free, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Call ahead for tickets.

276 Westminster St., Providence,
Aurora is both a bar and a vibrant performance and art space. Motown Mondays feature funk. Tuesday nights are all about the Baby Grand Piano Lounge. The ambient light casts a dreamlike haze over the interior while the pianist keeps up a steady, haunting melody. This is a good place to do some thinking, or even write or draw if you don’t mind the dim lighting. But it’s not always calm. The schedule varies with variety shows and live bands on Thursdays, Friday night live music and all-vinyl deejay dance parties, and Saturday afternoon cartoons and nighttime salsa dancing lessons. Some Sundays feature kiddo dance parties. For the adults, a slushy machine churns out spiked painkillers and mudslides. Sit back and sip one and let your creativity flow.

Point Street Dueling Pianos
3 Davol Sq., Providence, 270-7828,
Maybe you’re getting married. Maybe you’re turning thirty. Maybe you’ve had a rough week and just want to sing your face off. If you’re looking to kick back and escape the day-to-day routine, Point Street Dueling Pianos has you covered. This place keeps the music playing, the (usually inappropriate) jokes rolling and the drinks flowing. For a dollar or two (which can sometimes erupt into a bidding war), request a song or get the message of your choice written on the onstage mirror. Send a friend up to the stage to become part of the show or spin the wheel of destiny. They just might end up twerking with a stranger.

Perks and Corks
62 High St., Westerly, 596-1260,
Looking for a low-key open mic night with original music? Perks and Corks has been a mainstay on High Street for fifteen years, and it’s known as a cozy, supportive environment for singer/songwriters debuting new material. Drop by in daylight for all your Dave’s Coffee needs, and come back at night for a fancy martini, a grilled cheese and live local music. The venue’s two-room setup helps prevent overcrowding at the bar, while video monitors tucked away in a back corner ensure that no one misses out on seeing the band. Feeling antisocial? Play Nintendo from the 1980s or watch a movie like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory playing on loop.