Every year, tourists and locals alike flock to the island’s most popular and well-marketed restaurants and venues. Although beloved by islanders and visitors alike, Newport is also host to a number of very cool, lesser known establishments (and some, best kept secrets!). These local gems have become favorite hubs among natives as well as the subject of many stories told by the fortunate travelers who have stumbled through their doors.
For bolder atmospheres, adult crowds, and broader beer selections, look no further! Here is the Ivy Lodge list of favorite locations to let loose and enjoy the local flavor. These pubs, hubs, and diamonds in the ruff are some of Newport’s best places to kick back, enjoy a fresh brewski, and have a few laughs with friends. Be sure to check out the local, underground scene during your next visit to “Rogue Island”!
- Pour Judgement
Stepping into Pour Judgement can often involve traversing through a large and excitable crowd, but that’s one of the reasons why it’s one of our favorite bars in town! The first thing you may notice is the abundance of decorative beer signs and a generous selection of craft beers.
While the beer list alone makes this establishment great, the creative menu makes it AWESOME. The “gouda fries”, a mountain of French fries with a crock of melted cheese, and the “Thai shrimp nachos” slathered in sweet and savory curry sauce are must-tries. Pour Judgement also offers a dollar off any beer with the purchase of any burger, and they also participate in the locally famed “Battle-of-the-Chefs” where tickets can be purchased in advance.
- Newport Storm Brewery
Teetering on the Middletown line, Newport Storm Brewery is worth the ride. Tours and tastings are always a good time, but the brewery also hosts its own events such as the upcoming “Annual Release '15 Launch Party” taking place on 10/29 from 6-8pm.
This craft brewery always delivers, from its tried and true Rhode Island Blueberry Beer to its seasonal and limited releases, there is something to offer every microbrew lover. And here is a local hack for you, Newport Storm Brewery also offers free tastings on Fridays for the first 50 sign ups on Facebook, so make sure you take advantage of this generous opportunity!
- Firehouse Theater
Now I’ve been to my fair share of comedy shows, and there have been very few evenings where I’ve laughed as hard as the time I went to see “The Bit Players” perform at the Firehouse Theater. Needless to say, this talented group of comedians knows just how to entertain an audience. Their improv style skits allow the crowd to participate by offering suggestions to influence the plot, much like the TV show Whose Line is it Anyways?
Located on Equality Park (off Broadway), The Firehouse Theater allows you to bring your own beer. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door in cash, and performances take place Friday nights at 8:00PM and Saturday nights at 8:00PM and 10:00PM. Be sure to bring friends, because the more the merrier!
- The Wharf Pub
While shopping around the heart of Newport, allow The Wharf Pub’s rustic, dimly-lit atmosphere to pull you off the street. Especially in the off season, this is the perfect place to warm up with its excellent craft beer selection and comfort food! Although this place might fill up fast in the evening, The Wharf Pub is a great place to catch local, live music on a Saturday night.
Nestled in Bowen’s Wharf, The Wharf Pub’s tater tots have no rival, served in cast iron pans in assorted styles and flavors like truffle and bacon wrapped. Cozy and comfy is their specialty, featuring dishes like “chicken and waffles” and BBQ pulled pork sandwiches; the portions are generous and the food is delicious.
- Hope Underground
Yet another great stop off of Broadway St, Hope is a bar with two floors and a lot of character. A great list of rotating cocktails, wines, and beer, their menu is also among the most creative we’ve seen in pubs. Not your average menu, Hope offers atypical treats like “jalapeno shrimp Rangoon” and duck confit, and their $20 Tuesday menu is bound to fill you up on a budget.
Their food and beverages will not disappoint, and neither will their night life! Best known for the cellar level, “Hope Underground” hosts DJ’s, events, and live bands on weekends. Though tickets may sell out fast, this is a great place for dancing and jazz fusion – be sure to check out updates on their Facebook page!
- Genie’s Hooka Lounge
If you’re looking for a unique place to unwind with friends in a totally groovy atmosphere, you’ve got to check out Genie’s Hooka Lounge. Colorfully decorated and inspired by Middle Eastern culture, Genie’s is the best place to enjoy tea, tobacco, and even traditional belly dancing!
Although you may pay a cover charge when they have a DJ, this venue is BYOB and also offers a diverse menu featuring Persian and Middle-Eastern cuisine. Whether you’re there to dance or melt into their comfy furniture with a hot cup of herbal tea, you’re bound to enjoy yourself at Genie’s Hooka Lounge.
- Diego’s Mexican Restaurant
This West Coast inspired, Mexican restaurant makes our list, because although it is very well-known, Diego’s unique atmosphere, creative menu, and wild spirit makes it a significant part of Newport’s local, underground scene. Located in Bowen’s Wharf, Diego’s pays homage to the punk rock era with its band-inspired T-shirts and edgier attitude. You won’t find a harder working staff, as this place is usually bustling and full of energy.
The menu is extensive and innovative, featuring classic Mexican cuisine with creations of their own such as seafood infused plates and tasty vegetarian dishes. Taco and nacho nights are some of our favorites for great deals and generous servings. Diego’s also features imaginative cocktails, margaritas by the pitcher, and craft beer. If you’re paying Bowen’s Wharf a visit, popping into Diego’s for even just a drink and an app is a must.
- Celtica Public House
Located on Long Wharf, Newport’s own Irish pub is one of the island’s best local hangouts. Friendly bartenders, pool table, darts, and trivia makes Celtica a great, casual bar to unwind with friends. With its dimly lit, laid back atmosphere and vintage Guinness signs, Celtica has a nice full length bar and plenty of comfortable seating.
Celtica features a small menu with essential and tasty pub food like pizza, buffalo wings, and hot dogs. Our favorite thing about Celtica is its Karaoke nights every Friday and Saturday at 10:00PM. Be sure to rally your friends and head on down to Long Wharf to sing with the natives!
- One Pelham East
“The Pelham” is the place to go for a really fun and wild night out in Newport. Look for the old white building on the corner of Thames and Pelham St. Known for their live music, DJ’s, and dueling pianos, One Pelham East will bring the noise to get you dancing.
Be prepared to pay in cash, and if you can see past the plastic cups and aluminum bottles, the bartenders are a blast and at least you won’t have to step on glass while you’re on the dance floor! The Pelham hosts a younger crowd, many college students and locals, and don’t be surprised to run into a bachelorette party during your night out. Overall, The Pelham is a great choice for a late night of entertainment and good ol’ shenanigans.
- Jimmy’s Saloon
If you’re looking to rock out in Newport, Jimmy’s is the best! Hosting serious talent with bands across genres, Jimmy’s Saloon is a hub for performers, music lovers, and local legends. Located on Memorial Boulevard, this roomy venue has a large bar, pool tables, and plenty of space to hang out. The beer list and menu are limited, but the food is tasty and you can purchase beer by the pitcher. Check out their event list in advance to plan your next night out!
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