Locale Profile: Arigna Irish Pub and Coal Fired Kitchen
Arigna opened in 2015 in my Pawtucket hood, on the corner of Armistice and Newport Ave, right next to Kip’s Diner. Since moving to this area about a year ago, I’ve made Sullivan’s across the intersection my neighborhood bar, and it’s treated me well. In the wake of a blizzard, my fiancee and I decided to trek the extra block and finally give Arigna a fair shot.
Almost every table and every barstool was filled, which is always a good sign. The interior is new, sleek and well-lit with a jukebox in the corner and a stone archway leading to the dining area. I’ve heard tell of a dive bar previously in this location, but that was clearly gutted.
Arigna is one of these places that tries to balance remaining vaguely Irish while still trying to be as trendy as possible. Million-inch screens broadcast basketball games above the bar, and alt-rock like Alt J and the Lumineers blare from the stereo. Generic, sepia photos of a train and what look like coal miners drinking beer decorate the walls, which I guess are supposed to honor Irish immigrants.
The coal-fired pizza oven is all the while pumping out what I assume are traditional Irish pizzas. I like Irish pubs as much as the next lad, but I feel like there is some venture capital firm just pumping these places out across the country, and saying, “It’s cultural enough.” But there are Guinness posters everywhere, so I guess there’s that.
We sat in the dining area where, as at the bar, there are more than enough boob tube options to be able to ignore your parents/date/family, etc. The booth was comfortable and roomy, and close to an awkwardly placed pool table.
Arigna is definitely a beer drinker’s joint, with a formidable 27 drafts of quality options, including Ballast Point, New Belgium and Stone. However, I must distribute a demerit for no beer prices anywhere on the menu. This can be a little annoying for budgeters, and the beer ended up being a little pricey.
The tables near the bar include taps at the table that you can pour yourself. I’m not sure how those things work, but they seem like an easy way to get eight beers deep and not even realize it. They also have what looks like a solid selection of wines, whiskeys and scotch.
We tried the crab cakes, which were more crab than filler, and came with a nice aioli. We also ordered a strictly decent Siracha fish wrap with fried white fish and veggies.
You can’t order everything, so I tried to do a loop around the restaurant to see what everyone else was eating, without looking too much like a creep. Most of the food is what I would describe as “upper crusty” plating, with diagonally cut wraps, a smidgen of greens as an accompaniment and the like. It’s a nice touch that takes the typical bar meal to the next level.
But now to the heart of the matter. I realize I poked fun at the pizza oven earlier, but this pie is no joke. We tried the vegetarian, which had delicious diced veggies and those black spots of charred flavor that only can come from a super-hot oven. And for this kind of quality, the price seemed pretty fair. Pizza is right in the name of this place for a reason, so you should make it your meal if you plan on eating.
We had absolutely no complaints about the service, and left full and with a few slices to spare. In the end, what can be said about Arigna that hasn’t been said about these kind of fancy pubs? When I feel like a beer and pizza, I’ll mix it into the rotation … if I can handle walking the extra 500 feet.