Locale Profiles: The Shanty — Your Local Dive Bar, Elevated

shantyUPRIGHTOne day as I drove down Post Road in Warwick, I noticed that a former Irish pub had been transformed into an intriguing new restaurant: The Shanty.  The restaurant’s motto, “Eat Local, Be Local,” sounded promising. Could this be the perfect mix of local bar atmosphere and fresh, craveable food?

My husband and I decided to check it out a few weeks ago. As we waited to be seated, we stood behind a group of 20-something hipsters who had clearly been at the locale before its renovations. Marveling at the décor, one of them exclaimed, “Wow! This place used to be such a shithole!” Clearly it’s come around, as the interior felt modern, fresh and clean. At the heart of the restaurant sat a large, inviting, rectangular-shaped bar with table-top seating on all sides.

Unable to resist the lure of the bar, we sat down and were immediately greeted by an uber-friendly and knowledgeable bartender. On his recommendation, I tried The Gringo:  habanero tequila, passion fruit and lime sour with a mescal float. This refreshing cocktail was spicy and sweet, thought not too much of either – perfect for a summer night. My husband, not afraid to embrace his feminine side when it comes to mixed drinks, ordered the Pampelmousse:  fresh tarragon, grapefruit vodka, grapefruit syrup and soda with a salt and sugar rim.  His only complaint? It went down too fast.

The Shanty’s food menu is limited, but thoughtful. If you’re looking for a traditional bar menu that’s three pages long and replete with salad, sandwich and pizza choices, this is not the place for you. Here the focus is on the food, not soaking up the beer with grease (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Each item is something special and often a twist on an old classic. Take for instance the tuna tartare nachos, served on fried wontons rather than tortilla chips – delightful. Our favorite appetizer was the Korean beef lettuce wraps, served with house-made kimchee.

For our entree we split the TV dinner. Having grown up in the ’70s and eaten my share of Hungry Mans, my expectations were low. The Shanty’s version, however, was outstanding with a buttermilk fried Cornish game hen that was ridiculously tender and juicy and mouth-watering sides like smoked cheddar mac & cheese, bacon-braised kale, slaw and a peach crumble. Everything had a unique, delectable flavor. Though we felt too full for another morsel, we couldn’t resist the pull of the peanut butter and jelly bread pudding with fluffernutter ice cream. To say that it was orgasmic would be an understatement.

As we gushed over the food and drinks with our bartender, he suggested that we meet the owner, Kara. A graduate of Johnson and Wales, she’s developed a passion for food and the Ocean State. After spending a few years in Alaska, she grabbed a couple of chef friends and dragged them here to try something new and realize her dream of a opening a restaurant that focuses on local, seasonal food served in a casual atmosphere.  If that’s what you’re craving, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. Be warned: The menu changes every few weeks, so get there in a hurry if you want to try that bread pudding.

The Shanty is open daily, with brunch served on the weekends. Check out details at theshantyri.com.

6 responses to “Locale Profiles: The Shanty — Your Local Dive Bar, Elevated”

  1. JoAnn Melton says:

    You are in violation of internet protocol by not providing an easily located unsubscribe link. I never asked for this very busy piece that relates to nothing in my locale. Please remove me.

  2. Kim Fogarty Kinzie says:

    the email motif sends out does have an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email, where all unsubscribe buttons are located. if you can't find it or it doesn't work, may i suggest replying to the email and letting them know? Not much we can do with this post. sorry…

  3. Oh my my… aren't you a tad overreacting with VIOLATION OF INTERNET PROTOCOL… phew.. time to chill.

  4. To the author of this article, while the Shanty is very good and deserving of your favorable review, referring to the former Ward's Publick House as a "dive bar" and a "shithole" is so far off base it's not even funny! Do you consider random remarks by "20-something hipsters" research for your writing? Ward's was a wonderful, cozy, Irish neighborhod pub and the building also has quite a history.

  5. well spoken Lyn…loved Ward's…lots of good memories there.

  6. Kim Fogarty Kinzie says:

    You are right. Thank you for giving me this information. Honestly i didn't know the bar at all and was purely going off the comments from the people in front of me in line. I truly apologize and will remember this next time. For the record, when I say "dive bar" i don't consider it an insult – quite the contrary. Every neighborhood needs a great, local bar that isn't fancy or expensive. That said, the comments from the hipsters are unfortunate and a lesson learned. sorry again…i never want to offend a local business!!!

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