Providence’s 9 Best Secret Bars and Speakeasies
Providence's nine best secret bars and speakeasies for indoor, outdoor and takeout cocktails, beer and wine.
One of the cool things about Providence is the number of off-the-radar bars and speakeasies that take a little sleuthing to stumble on. Locals know where to go, but visitors need inside intel to know where to search for these hidden gems. Many have outdoor patios and some offer indoor imbibing, but you can always order takeout cocktails, beer and wine and snacks to enjoy at home, too.
This semi-secret bar has been embracing its patio this year to welcome guests in a socially distanced manner. It used to be very secretive about its identity, and there wasn’t even a sign in sight, but now it’s more open to welcoming the world. Enjoy a safe night out with friends and cocktails, especially now that it’s finally warming up outside. The twinkle lights and fountain make Luongo Square a magical spot to sip cocktails and craft beer, plus, you can order takeout from Big King across the street.
The details: 18 Luongo Memorial Sq., Providence, 401-262-9009, averyprovidence.com
Located behind a velvet curtain in an incognito lingerie store, Justine’s is the perfect secret bar experience. Cocktails are inexpensive and the decor transports you to the past when speakeasies were the only way to imbibe.
The details: 11 Olneyville Sq., Providence, 401-454-4440, justines.com
The Southern-style restaurant comes from the same owners of Broadway Bistro and small plates are the way to go. We love the fancy toasts and the fried chicken is super spicy and kept simple on a piece of white bread, accompanied by potato salad and sweet pickles.
The details: 425 West Fountain St., Providence, 401-351-0006, theslowrhode.com
This spirit company is the first distillery in Providence since Prohibition in the 1920s. It boasts tasty cocktails mixed with made-in-house gin and vodka and locally sourced and foraged ingredients. You can enjoy the food and drinks from the comfort of your own home or select from the house menu on the heated and covered patio. Order food from various food popups, or Caribbean cuisine from Garden of Eve restaurant, which can be delivered from down the street.
The details: 1 Sims Ave. #103, Providence, 401-626-4696, iscospirits.com
Travel to 1920s New Orleans without leaving the state at the Royal Bobcat. This bar serves up Hanju Kitchen‘s Korean-Cajun food and seasonal cocktails that are sure to fuel a fun night. Patio seating is limited.
The details: 422 Atwells Ave., Providence, 401-537-7777, theroyalbobcat.com
This new speakeasy with both indoor and outdoor seating is a great place to enjoy a night out in Providence. Soak up the ornate wood detailing and plush seating indoors or grab a sidewalk table (just bundle up, it’s still chilly out there). The menu offers a wide variety of cocktails like the Fish House Punch (dark rum, cognac, peach brandy, lime and lemon juice) and Thirsty Sailor (rum, curacao, yellow chartreuse), plus a beer menu with something for everybody. Stay up to date on Instagram at @thewalnutroompvd.
The details: 245 South Main St., Providence, 401-227-9500, thewalnutroom.com
Courtland Club, reopening for the season on May 5, is a bar with no sign and a keypad on the door, down a nondescript side street on the West Side of Providence. Just turn the knob and find out if you’re in the right place. The gathering spot is welcoming to “all genders, races, ethnicities, religions and personal identities.” Guests can become members and gain privileges like access to lockers to keep special bottles and monthly perks and special invitations.
The details: 51 Courtland St., Providence, 401-227-9300, courtlandclub.com
Needle and Thread is a brand new bar located near the extinct former Red Fez. Look for the logo, then head down the spiral staircase into an underground bar with a speakeasy vibe that previously housed a former tailor shop for more than forty years (hence the name of the bar). Handsome leather chairs, brick walls and a tin ceiling await along with a small and large plates menu of street corn, tiny tuna tacos and roast chicken, plus a cocktail menu that spotlights smoky whisky and mezcal. Inventive bevvies include the Stoned Fruit with apricot-infused vodka, mezcal and lemon oil and the Money Clip with blended scotch, Cherry Heering and house bitters accented by a hundred dollar bill.
The details: 45 Peck St., Providence, 401-437-8725, needlenthreadpvd.com
This dark and sexy bar opened right in the middle of the pandemic and it has persisted with several intimate nooks for guests to get cozy within their own pod parties while social-distancing from other groups. Sip cocktails labeled by dominant flavors like the strawberry-infused vodka with herbal wine, pink grapefruit and lime and the apricot-infused gin cocktail with lavender, amaro, rosemary and lemon. There’s also a Baklava cocktail made with baklava-spiced whiskey, sweet vermouth, blossom water and honey. Bartenders create most ingredients for the cocktail menu from scratch, including infused spirits, housemade syrups and dehydrated citrus and fruit garnishes. The vegan and vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean food menu features various versions of hummus, tahini, salads and flatbreads.
The details: 1 West Exchange St., Providence, 401-666-0088, marcelinosboutiquebar.com
Rachel Dvarekas also contributed to this article.