Providence’s 11 Best Secret Bars, Hidden Gems and Speakeasies

Providence's eleven best secret bars and speakeasies for indoor, outdoor and takeout cocktails, beer and wine.
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345 Plant City. Photo by Jamie Coelho.

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 all offer indoor imbibing, but don’t forget, you can always order takeout cocktails, beer and wine to enjoy at home, too.

345 Plant City

Your best to get into this secret bar from the owner of Plant City is to follow @345PlantCity on Instagram and call 401-347-4429 for reservations in advance. The bar is located across from Plant City and properly labeled with a sign on the outside, but all the windows are dark and all the doors are locked. After pulling a few handles to no avail, go around the side until you see an open door leading to the kitchen, where there’s usually a cook flipping pizza dough, chopping veggies or showing off some other culinary skill. When they see you confused and hovering in the doorway, they’ll tell you you’re in the right place and lead you to the red carpet that welcomes you into the dark and mysterious, plant-based bar. Get the watermelon sugar cocktail! Open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m.-Midnight.

The details: 345 South Main St., Providence, 401-347-4429, instagram.com/345plantcity

 

High Dive

This is located in the space that “used to be” Far West, as if that was ages ago. The original owners moved out of town, and local wine and cocktail experts and married couple Leah and Chris Rivera took over ownership by putting their own spin on it. They are from California so you know the cocktails are gonna be ahead of the curve. Go to the side of the Rooms and Works building, around the corner from Long Live Beerworks, and look for the door to the right of Knead Doughnuts where you punch in the code. To get the latest code, follow them on Instagram at @highdivepvd.  They are open Friday and Saturday from 4-11 p.m. and Sun., Mon., and Thurs. from 4-10 p.m.

The details: Rooms and Works, 55 Cromwell St., Providence, instagram.com/highdivepvd

 

The Avery

This is the OG semi-secret bar that invented secret bars in Providence. It has more recently embraced its patio to welcome guests instead of hiding behind dark curtains. 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. The twinkle lights and fountain make Luongo Square a magical spot to sip cocktails and craft beer.

The details: 18 Luongo Memorial Sq., Providence, 401-262-9009, averyprovidence.com

 

Justine’s

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 Slow Rhode

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 drinks are some of the best around, and it’s well-known as a hospitality industry favorite while avoiding mainstream pandemonium.

The details: 425 West Fountain St., Providence, 401-351-0006, theslowrhode.com

 

 

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The covered patio at Industrious Spirits Company. Photo from Instagram by @iscospirits.

The Industrious Spirit Company

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

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The Royal Bobcat. Photo from Instagram by @hanjukitchen.

The Royal Bobcat

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

 

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Photo from the Walnut Room on Instagram. Follow @thewalnutroompvd.

The Walnut Room

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. 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

 

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Courtland Club. Photo from Instagram at @courtlandclub.

Courtland Club

Courtland Club 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, but they are welcoming to all who come by for a drink.

The details: 51 Courtland St., Providence, 401-227-9300, courtlandclub.com

 

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Photo courtesy of Needle and Thread.

Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread is a newer 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

 

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The Baklava cocktail at Marcelino’s Boutique Bar in Providence. Photo by Daniel Santiagø from Marcelino’s Facebook page.

Marcelino’s

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. 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.

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