Starting Friday, October 5 at 6 p.m. and running through Monday, October 8, O Fest RI, spearheaded by Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, celebrates autumn with beer, live music, and general merriment. The festival features fall-themed libations from as far away as Germany itself—with Oktoberfest brews from Spaten, Hofbrau, and Paulaner—and those from closer to home from brewers such as Harpoon, Sam Adams, and Shipyard. In addition, the festival will feature a lineup of musical acts, including What Matters and Those Guys.
Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, whose whopping 82 taps helped earn it an award for Best Bar and Beer Selection in The Phoenix's Best of Providence 2011, will anchor the celebration from their dark-wood bar. The bar itself serves a host of culinary treats from Prince Edward Island mussels in zesty zuppa sauce to blackened jerk salmon. An outdoor patio plays host to al fresco dining and lassoing the moon to impress dates.
Leather sofas sit across from a large wooden bar, whose polished surface reflects the flashing lights of flat-screen TVs overhead. The casual, yet elegant, atmosphere of Corrine’s dining room mirrors the distinctively American sensibilities that inform the restaurant’s menu. Chefs pluck their culinary inspirations from regions as diverse as the North East and the Deep South, arriving at a selection that includes rotisserie chicken, bourbon-glazed tips, and seared fillets of Atlantic fish. Though far-flung in origin, these dishes have at least one thing in common: each pairs nicely with a beer or cocktail poured by the barkeeper.
Corrine’s isn’t just known for its food, though. Three banquet spaces, including a grand ballroom, host private events seven nights a week that range from casual cocktail parties to wedding receptions for up to 300 guests. Back in the dining room, live entertainment takes place nearly every night a week; the schedule features everything from DJ-hosted ladies’ dance parties to cover bands and Dad playing his favorite Grateful Dead songs with a borrowed guitar.
The staff at Sullivan's Publick House cherishes three things: good food, good beverages, and good company. These pillars of traditional Irish hospitality shape the restaurant's day-to-day business, beginning in the kitchen, where chefs prepare authentic beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips and shepherd's pie. At the bar, the barkeeps pour one of 24 on-draft brews, such as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or Hoegaarden. To fulfill the good company portion, the restaurant hosts trivia events and build-your-own burger nights that spark lively conversation about whether cheese belongs on top of a beef patty or securely in one’s front pocket.
At Lucky's Bar & Grille, the crunch from hand-cut french fries and hearty Irish-American pub fare competes with the cheers from sports games on 16 flat-screen TVs. Grilled pizzas brim with locally sourced tomatoes and exotic toppings such as roasted corn and grilled eggplant, and chefs stir macaroni into thick cheddar cheese sauce. On Friday and Saturday nights, live acoustic music echoes off the hardwood floors as bartenders top off pints of 30 varieties of draft beer at the 35-foot granite-top bar.
Hercules Mulligan's combines American traditions with Irish flavor, not unlike the man for whom it was named. The real Hercules Mulligan brought his family to the newly prospering New York City in 1746, eventually becoming a friend of Alexander Hamilton, an intelligence agent for the Revolutionary Army, and a backup singer for musician Joe Cocker. In tribute to Mulligan’s hearty disposition, customers can fill up on dishes such as irish nachos, made with thinly sliced potato chips, cheddar cheese, bacon, and sour cream, or the Hercules sliders—butter-grilled, locally baked rolls topped with housemade meatballs or handcrafted crab cakes.
Mulligan's fearlessness may be best reflected in the restaurant's ghost-chili chicken-wing challenge: participants eat 10 wings or 8 tenders that have been tossed in a sauce made from the ghost pepper, one of the world's hottest peppers. Those who can devour them all in 10 minutes and withstand 5 additional minutes without drinks, blue cheese, bread, or sing-alongs of “Frosty the Snowman” to cool their tongues receive the dish for free, plus a $10 gift card.
A pair of spat-clad feet decorates the sign outside Spats Restaurant & Pub, where patrons put their feet up as they sip craft beers and dig into hearty American and Italian entrees. Lunches of turkey-avocado wraps and thin-crust pizzas loaded with mashed potatoes and cheese make way for dinners of fish and chips and the California Girls burger, whose bites of avocado, onion strings, and bacon taste best when punctuated with the word “like.” Bartenders shake specialty martinis or blend extra-large frozen margaritas, and the bar’s taps release beers from breweries such as Magic Hat, Hoegaarden, and Stone. To keep things lively, Spats hosts special events throughout the week, such as karaoke and trivia, and plays major sporting events on its big-screen televisions.