"Comedy Connection," wrote the Providence Phoenix, "is our Comedy Central." The winner of the paper's "Best Comedy Club" award for five years running, RI Comedy Connection lives up to its accolades by populating its stage with a slew of up-and-coming and established comedians. Throughout shows, bartenders sling domestic and imported brews while mixing both basic drinks with Jack Daniels and dessert substitutes, such as s'mores and caramel-apple martinis. Aside from regular standup sets, RI Comedy Connection?s fundraising program helps members of the community host charitable events that benefit non-profit organizations, youth sports teams, and families in need.
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.
The friendly sustenance dispersers at Two Jerks, a neighborhood pub and live-music venue, serve up American pub fare and drinks well into the night in an environment full of entertainment-inducing elements including a dance floor, large TV screens, and video bowling. An assortment of chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, and onion rings gather together on the Munchie Platter ($9.95), and the half-pound burger is enough to feed a hungry party of one ($5.95). A bottle of domestic beer ($3) washes down a wild flame-grilled pizza ($10), breaking its spirit and turning it into an amicable companion for humans. Premium beers ($4.50), mixed drinks ($3), and shots ($3) encourage patrons to sing along during live acoustic karaoke on Monday evenings and the open mic jam sessions on Tuesdays. Rock and blues bands create a soundtrack for two-stepping minglers and bar-top video gamers on weekend nights and crickets and summertime breezes entertain partiers in the outdoor beer garden.
Smoke Lounge's historic two-story all-brick building shelters a lounge of delectable eats, a bar boasting myriad libations, and a walk-in humidor lined with fine cigars ready for awaiting lighters. Prepuff, visitors nosh their way through plates of Italian eats including fried calamari tossed with hot peppers in champagne-garlic-butter cream sauce ($9.95) or paninis stuffed with imported Parma prosciutto and homemade mozzarella ($9.95). A bevy of beverages, bottled beers, and liquors intermingles with after-dinner cigars, including stogies from such tobacco wranglers as Rocky Patel, Magna, and Arturo Fuente, easing visitors through smoky exhalations. Smoke Lounge's ventilation system captures smoke as soon as it leaves visiting lips, spiriting it out of the restaurant and into its new job as a mystery-additive in ’80s music videos.
Caribbean transplant Steven Correa brings tropical tastes stateside with Aruba Steve’s eclectic menu of savory Caribbean cuisine. Diners can prime palates with small bites such as the Jamaican jerk chicken skewers served with mango salsa ($5) or a 6-inch pulled-pork pizza ($6.95). Meanwhile, the blackened mahi BLT ($9.95) unites surf ‘n’ turf, with crispy bacon and mahi-mahi served open-faced together with a spicy aioli skilled in land-sea conflict resolution. The chicken caesar burrito ($7.95) wraps a crisp salad in a soft-shell tortilla, and the Aru-BQ dog ($4.95) adorns a juicy hot dog with bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. Dinner comes with a serenade of live music three nights a week, and visitors can show off their brainpower or wombat mating calls at weekly trivia and open mic nights.
The Bradford first opened its doors 30 years ago as a neighborhood convenience store, supplying the community with groceries, newspapers, and quick lunches of classic Italian-American cuisine. But now the aisles have disappeared, and though there are still Italian dishes on the menu, they're joined by upscale pub food. Diners can select from dishes such as nachos, wings, and variety of grilled thin crust pizzas including bbq, pepperoni, and margherita. Meatball enthusiasts can experience this topping on a pizza or paired with seasoned fries.
The Bradford's ambiance embraces a similar upscale vibe. Exposed brickwork and high-topped wooden tables sit among the earth-toned walls lined with framed artwork. In the recently redesigned interior, pendant lamps dangle from the high ceilings, ensuring that the warm space remains more well-lit than Santa's workshop at 3 a.m. on December 23. While guests relax here, they can listen to live music or sip specialty cocktails with muddled ingredients.