Dining Review: Clementine Cocktail Bar in Providence

Co-owned by Congressman David Cicilline, Clementine creates a perfect balance with a simple space and extravagant offerings.

Kiss of a Rose cocktail. Photography by Angel Tucker

Clementine doesn’t offer much in the way of food, but no one seems to care because the mixology is a coveted and artistic event. Housed in the tiny space that was formerly home to birch and, before that, Tini, a bright orange U-shaped bar shows off the rainbowed drinks that intoxicate as much with the eyes as in the blood. The bar offers eight specialized drinks (in addition to wine and beer), each one with components so intriguing that you feel you’re in a museum that’s memorialized noteworthy cocktails in American history.

The bar is a joint effort between owner and Congressman David Cicilline, and manager Cristian Cantaragiu, who create a balance between the simple space and its extravagant offerings. There is a liminal area in which food exists — a modernist charcuterie board ($25) and an ample, addictive bowl of crunchy fries with harissa aioli ($6) — but this sixteen-seater bar in stainless steel has an apothecary quality to it that demands all attention focus on the concoctions of the evening. (Various housemade infusions in bottles line the bar like scientific potions ready to be mixed.) The menu even offers artistic renderings of each drink because drama is in no way dissipated by foreknowledge.


House-cut fries with crab Rangoons. Photography by Angel Tucker

There are fizz drinks which arrive in highballs — a clementine-infused tequila with sherbet as well as a cognac mixed with honeydew marmalade — both citrus-hued and reminiscent of summer. But the other options are decidedly more striking, both in appearance and taste. Kiss of a Rose ($17) centers around oregano-infused vodka made magenta with a splash of rose cordial — something like a cosmopolitan with a Ph.D. But the most intriguing part of the drink is the hand-chiseled ice cube (cut from a rugged block) that floats like an iceberg with a sprig of oregano playing Kate Winslet’s part, perilously perched on top. It appears decorative — this herb sprig — but the savory scent in a sweet drink is so compelling, slightly disorienting, and greatly welcome. 


The bar at Clementine. Photography by Angel Tucker

The Sea Gibson ($16) is more austere: a peppercorn-laced martini with a knotty sea bean balanced on top, an oceanic punctuation in a fully alcoholic sentence. The Fashion Forward ($17) is a microphone-drop nightcap of toasted buckwheat in rye with Demerara sugar and a wedge of dark chocolate. It goes down hard but, again, the scent is so dessert-like as to play mind games with your already loopy brain. Clementine’s hallmark drink, however, remains the 21 Lighthouses ($17), a mixture of fragrant Italian aperitifs in a flute. It’s topped with a quivering smoke bubble that bursts open at the slightest touch, releasing a cloud of perfumed vapor that settles languidly back into the drink. Extravagant? Yes. Also reason enough to eschew dinner and spend all night at the bar.



200 Washington St., Providence, 533-1000, instagram.com/clementinecocktailbar

Closed Monday. Street parking.

Must get: Obviously drinks, and enough snack food to keep you from falling off your stool.