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.
McFaddens Restaurant and Saloon combines the warm atmosphere and decadent fare of a family restaurant with the all the rowdy good times of an old-fashioned saloon. In the dining room, the wait staff shuffles around plates of classic fare for both lunch and dinner, including Black Angus burgers, roasted vegetable flatbread pizzas, and slow-roasted prime rib, with a few treats for kids, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders, and ice-cream pie for dessert. After dark, the bar comes alive with trivia and karaoke on Wednesday nights, supplemented by liquid courage in the form of beer towers and Ciroc ultra-premium vodka. Weekends start on Thursday with a live DJ and wrap up on Sunday with game-day specials during NFL games and professional rock-paper-scissor smack downs.
For six days, a celebration of culture takes over Providence. The annual SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival gives a voice to independent creators of cinema, music, and visual art?as well as audience members themselves. Attendees vote for their favorite shorts, documentaries, and feature films in dozens of categories. They can even meet the artists behind the works during director Q&A sessions where they can learn how the film was made and why Smell-O-Vision has never really taken off. The Limelight party allows guests to relax and mingle with other creative types while admiring an art exhibit and enjoying hors d'oeuvres, complimentary beer and wine, and light desserts.
The casual bistro charm of Cafe Paragon’s dining room, its dark wood furnishings and glowing box lamps setting an easygoing mood, translates faithfully onto dishes that Gayot deemed “healthy and flavorful renditions of Mediterranean and American staples.” The prosciutto panini pairs grilled apples with brie cheese on French bread beneath a balsamic glaze, while the French burger tops off at 8 ounces of Black Angus beef, with applewood-smoked bacon and boursin cheese filling in the margins of the pillowy onion roll. Entrees such as a 16-ounce rib eye topped with garlic blue cheese butter and butternut squash ravioli testify to the diversity of the menu, which balances nicely between fresh eats such as blueberry salads and hearty steaks and fish.
At night, the space transforms into something of a nightclub. Bartenders augment the Mediterranean mezzes and filet sliders with specialty martinis, wine, and cocktails. Club music, meanwhile, booms through the speakers, willing guests to let their hair down, order a specialty drink, and dance.