Locale Profile: Three in One: A night on Cromwell Street

When I was growing up, the only type of doughnuts I was accustomed to were Krispie Kremes. They overtook the southwest when I was in high school, and because our options were lacking, we would drive hundreds of miles just to pick up a few dozens doughnuts to sell for club fundraisers. Then in college, I moved to the same city as a Krispie Kreme store, and whenever my friends and I would see the red light shining from the storefront window, we would veer dangerously across the road, U-turn, and pull into the parking lot to request one of their hot-off-the-oil dougnuts, which they’d give away for free. There’s nothing that compares to a freshly made doughnut that’s still warm when you bite into it.

That’s why I was so enamored when I talked to Adam Lastrina a couple of months ago during the opening of Knead’s third location on Cromwell Street, and he mentioned the possibility of a doughnut window: a Friday evening affair in which people could turn up at the back window in the patio space that’s connected to Long Live Beer Works, and get a freshly made doughnut.

I’m here to tell you that this doughnut window is a reality, and when I discovered I could visit Long Live Beerworks, Knead Donuts and Far West — a new speakeasy nestled inside of the Rooms and Works establishment — I knew this trifecta was the perfect way to end my birthday week.

On Friday evening, at the celebratory hour of 5pm, my friend Jen and I met at Long Live Beerworks. Neither of us had been since they moved from Fountain Street, and we found ourselves in the company of a dozen other fine people who beat us to the weekend punch.

Long Live has a great setup, with tables along the windows, a few booths offset from the bar and an entire second floor. The production area can be seen in the back behind the bar — giant conditioning tanks where the new batches of beer are maturing. The aesthetic is modern and funky: wooden countertops, red brick walls and twinkling lights on the ceiling, reminiscent of the outdoor string lights hanging above the alleyways in Germany.

The couple in front of us ordered a flight of four drinks, so Jen chose that option immediately. There were eight beers on tap, six variations of IPA, one pale ale and one stout. The stout, All This and More, was brewed with raspberries, almonds and cacao nibs, and if I weren’t allergic to almonds, I would have dove headlong into a growler of it. Instead, based on the recommendation of the bartender, I ordered the Isosceles Dimension, an IPA hopped with Citra and Vic Secret (which, I’m no beer expert, but I’m guessing is different from Victoria’s Secret). Along with our beverages, we ordered a cheese plate from Solid Gold Provision, who were popping up that night; I saw burrata and looked no further. It was the perfect complement to our beer.

After an hour of what we considered a reasonable dinner, it was time for dessert. The doughnut window is open from 6 – 9pm on Friday, and we arrived just after the owner of Rebelle Artisan Bagels grabbed her freshly made old fashioned. The menu at night is limited to one flavor each of brioche, old fashioned and cake. That night, there was a delay on the brioche, my go-to doughnut, so instead of waiting for 30 minutes, I opted for a vanilla glazed old fashioned while Jen got a chocolate cake doughnut.

What heaven! What bliss! We sat at one of the outdoor tables, the sun shining after a brief rain, and I was transported to my college days, only better. A warm old fashioned is a different experience than a “regular” old fashioned, the glaze melting into each bite, and I know this will not be my last time at the doughnut window.

But we still had one final stop in our trifecta: Far West, a speakeasy style bar that opened only a couple of months ago. There’s a call box on the entrance to Rooms and Works, which you can use to find “Far West,” or dial 075 if arriving to the front entrance; from the courtyard, where we were, you can dial 401-369-7252. Once inside the building, Far West is behind a faded blue door, opposite of the giant stone fountain filled with spoons.

Jen and I entered the dimly lit bar, which is remarkably cozy despite the very industrial surroundings: exposed pipes on the ceiling, hanging metal light fixtures, a bar made of file-cabinet style drawers. There are beautiful aesthetic touches, like vases of flowers on each round marble table, a Persian rug in the center of the floor and plush velvet seat coverings on the booths.

We chose two bar stools so we could more easily chat with the husband and wife duo, the same couple that owns Weenie Wizards, Luke and Michele of Fantastical Food Group. Their cocktail menu recently underwent a seasonal change, switching from spring to summer flavors. We came for the cocktails, but they do have handpicked beer and wine selections that are super and not to be overlooked.

I couldn’t decide between the Pearl Heart (vodka, lemon, crème de violette, elderflower and flower garnish) and Charlotte de Berry (silver rum, strawberry, coconut water and velvet falernum), but when Jen ordered the Pearl Heart, I knew what to do — sharing is caring, after all — and I loved both! The Pearl Heart was refreshing, an adult-like version of lemonade, and the Charlotte de Berry felt like a classy version of a daiquiri, smooth and not too sweet. Both were in keeping with summer, and the perfect way to wrap up our evening.

The next time you’re looking for a three-in-one evening, head to the West Side of Providence. The red light is on, and the weekend is destined to be sweet.  

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