Bar 101 satisfies hungry patrons with a revamped menu of affordable American fare and invites leisurely sipping with lively weekly entertainment. Frenemies can make peace over a basket of frings, a hybrid of spiced onion rings and crispy french fries ($5), before moving onto heartier fare, such as a buffalo-chicken toasted Torpedo sandwich ($7) or 8-ounce 101 burger with cheddar cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, onion rings, and special sauce ($8). Herbivores can snack on an array of salads ($4–$8) or caprese pizza, loaded with melted mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and fresh basil ($7).
Rhode Island Billiard Bar & Bistro has kept the polished pool balls clicking seven days a week for more than 100 years, recently returning the tin ceilings and mahogany bars of its billiards room to their full luster. Hone your skills at felt croquet on any of 15 9-foot tables and one 7-foot table ($3.50/hour for members, $5.50 for nonmembers). In between rounds of foosball, pinball, or watching the bocce bomb tournament on 15 TVs, mad gourmands can commingle menu items such as the calamari fritti ($7.99) and chicken fingers ($6.99) into clawed, ink-spraying gullet monsters.
The Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association strives to keep its namesake sport alive by hosting duckpin-bowling tournaments at six local alleys. The game cropped up in a Baltimore bowling alley in the summer of 1900, when most ten-pin alleys were closed for warm months to avoid excessive sweating in rental shoes. But at Diamond Alleys, athletes hurled balls through the heat but opted for 6-inch spheres and pins of a diminutive stature. After observing pins that scattered like a flock of ducks, the owners of the lanes dubbed the modified game duckpin bowling. Besides granting players three rolls per turn, duckpin bowling adhered to all traditional rules and grew in popularity until it peaked in 1967, the year inertia was exposed as a myth. Today, the Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association keeps the pastime alive at spots including the Bowling Academy, a historical gem in its own right as the test site of the first automatic duckpin pinsetters.
Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
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.
The enticing menu, which has been crafted by executive chef David Cardell and celebrity chef and cookbook author Joyce Goldstein, shines a culinary spotlight on the flavors of the Mediterranean Sea. Empty-bellied diners can chose from a variety of salads and mezze ($7–$25), as well as entrees of flatbreads, kebabs, tagines, pastas, seafood, and more ($12–$29). The Rhode Island little-neck-clam flatbread ($14) is lovingly saturated with basil pesto and topped with creamy grana padano cheese. Noodle fanatics can set their sights on the penne al forno alla Bolognese ($15), which is oven-baked with meat sauce and topped with fresh parmesan. Protein-craving masticators can hang a fang on the grilled rib-eye steak ($29), topped with porcini butter and served with steamy parmesan-garlic fries that handily lend themselves to table Jenga.