Cafe 55 cultivates a relaxing atmosphere by cushioning guests in plush white booths and turning the lights low. Towering hookahs filled with fragrant tobacco invite patrons to take a puff of rich flavors such as mango and vanilla before expelling smoke into the air to make swirling patterns or 3D Rorschach tests. Appetizers and drinks, including beer, sangria, and nonalcoholic smoothies, pair with the hookah action.
Though recently featured in a USA Today Travel article that praised its “astonishing” chow mein sandwich, Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining is known by locals for more than just its kitchen’s specialties. The restaurant also won a prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive award in 2011, and its world-famous jazz and blues performances have helped cement its self-proclaimed reputation as New England’s "home of eggroll, jazz, and blues."
Long before the sounds of horns and saxophones filled its halls, the New Shanghai Restaurant opened its doors in 1905. It was not until the mid-1960s, however, that the Chan family refurbished the Woonsocket landmark and began serving an innovative combination of Cantonese, Szechwan, Hunan, and Mandarin cuisines. Around this time, the Chans also brought in the live jazz and blues music that continues to fill the main dining area—known as the Horseshoe Bar Lounge—and the famous Four Seasons Jazz and Blues Club.
With its red paper lanterns, traditional Chinese artwork, and colorful paintings of musicians, the Four Seasons has played host to such legendary blues, jazz, and folk artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Rebecca Parris. A buffet spread accompanies musical performances, during which enthralled audiences watch as musicians pound eggrolls against snare drums or slide their hands along guitars strung up with slippery chow mein noodles.
The eatery, a Woonsocket staple since 1983, invites kids, adults, and ageless immortals into its quaint and comfortable confines for classic homecooked meals. Once diners are settled into a cushy booth, they can feast on soul-soothing meals ranging from family-style rotisserie chicken dinners to homemade chowders and overstuffed sandwiches. To complement these hearty morsels, bartenders sling glasses of wine and domestic brews behind a full bar illuminated by the soft glow of televised sports.
At Town Hall Lanes, 32 glossy lanes await the rolling of palm-sized bowling balls towards the short, squat duckpins. Scores are kept by an automatic system, rather than old-school methods by hand and deliberate lies, and on Friday and Saturday nights, the lights turn low for cosmic bowling. Between games, players find refreshment at the lounge or arrange for a bowling party to celebrate birthdays or special events.
You'd probably expect to find a few pool tables at a place called Corner Pocket Billiards & Grill. What you might not expect is that the seven high-grade billiards courts beckon to patrons at no cost on Friday and Sunday nights. Thanks to foosball, darts, and 15 flatscreen TVs, as well as two massive projectors, Corner Pocket is an entertainment power house. The pool room fuels nights out with a menu of hearty pub classics, weekly drink specials, and an ever-present selection of 16 frosty draft beers. Bi-weekly karaoke nights drown out the clatter of sunken shots and give patrons an acceptable venue to try out their one-man barbershop quartet.
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.