Deadbeats to Open This Month in Former Beloved E&O Tap Space

The owners renovated the dilapidated interior while staying true to the original layout, and plan to serve beers in a comfortable, "come as you are" atmosphere.
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Jeff Angell and Courtney Tallarico, owners of Deadbeats on the West End of Providence.

Courtney Tallarico and Jeff Angell have always loved throwing theme parties at home. Now they get to host a nightly gathering at their very own bar. Deadbeats is a new dive-worthy spot that will open in mid-April in the former E&O Tap location on the West End of Providence.

A beloved neighborhood watering hole with a devoted following, E&O Tap sat vacant for a few years. Angell had his eye on it ever since it closed. It wasn’t even ever on the market until they made a happenstance connection to lease the space through a realtor and the former owner.

“Every time we told someone about our bar venture and our need for a space, they’d say what about E&O?” Angell says. Finally, they arranged a showing, followed by a meeting and made a mutual agreement. Then they dove right in. “I was afraid this place was destroyed,” Angell adds. “It was in rough shape, but I knew we could make this work. We could bring it back to life.”

The new bar has been months in the making. The couple renovated the dilapidated interior while staying true to the original layout. They sanded, stained and polished the existing bar, and painted over graffiti and repaired broken windows on the outside.

“It takes longer than you think. Even when you think you have everything buttoned up, it’s hard to get contractors, and to find people with availability to do the work,” Tallarico says.

A few weeks ago, the Deadbeats sign went up, making it a reality. There’s a pinball machine, vintage art and beer advertisements ready for its walls, and a digital, wall-mounted jukebox hooked up to play tunes. The bar – which is named after an endearing term they use for people they have come to know and love – will be a comfortable spot where guests can “come as they are,” order both local and mainstream beers, watch the game and hang.

“When you think about a deadbeat, it’s this lovable loser who kinda doesn’t want to have responsibilities for the day or their life,” Angell says with a smile, wearing a ‘90s grunge-worthy flannel with a t-shirt underneath. “It’s a tough road to live sometimes, being a deadbeat.”

The couple, which has three young sons ages two, six and seven, will run the bar together. They’ve hired a few industry vets and familar faces to bartend shifts, and they are looking forward to being a part of the nightly camaraderie. They’ve always loved hosting parties and made it their goal to one day open a bar together.

“We used to dream up ideas for bars. We have an old notebook with hilarious, really terrible ideas,” Tallarico says. “And we both have a service industry and nightlife background.”

They lived in Key West for a time, and became devoted to neighborhood spots with quirky vibes. When they lived on the West End, they worked in restaurants, and would frequent E&O and other neighborhoody spots.

“This will always be a neighborhood divey kind of bar. It will always belong to the neighborhood. And we want it to belong to the neighborhood, because we are from the neighborhood,” Angell says. “I feel like that is really important. The neighborhood dictates what you are. The people who frequent your place give you that identity.”

The family is also a bunch of Halloween freaks, and they deck out their home in animatronics and host epic creepy costumed bashes, which they hope to do at Deadbeats, too. “This will be Halloween headquarters,” says Angell.

“It’s also fun that Dead is a part of the bar name,” adds Tallarico.

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Of course, any re-envisioning of a formerly beloved spot comes under scrutiny, they say. “This place was coveted, so it was almost like it was off-limits for awhile,” Angell says.

The couple speaks from experience about how hard it was to lose places like Loie Fuller’s, Lili Marlene’s and the Red Fez, but how they now love the bars that have replaced them, such as the Royal Bobcat and the Red Door. But La Pinata is still a tough pill for them to swallow.

“Loie Fuller’s was hard,” Tallarico says, revealing that they were the second party to see the space as a possibility for their bar, before securing E&O.

“Now they have pinatas inside. It’s like whoa, that is a transition,” Angell says.

They knew going into it that Deadbeats might catch a bit of that flak from former regulars, but they are confident they are going to bring this bar back to the neighborhood.

“We want to be a viable neighborhood bar; a comfortable, affordable place where you can actually go to hang out,” Tallarico says.

Adds Angell: “This is our dream. It’s something we always wanted to do. Now we can make it bigger and host our friends and the city of Providence every night. We always wanted to be in Providence, just a stone’s throw from where we used to live.”

“It’s going to be all the things we wanted when we were looking for places to go a decade ago,” he adds.

289 Knight St., Providence,