Breweries Are Back: Your favorite breweries and bars are adapting to the new normal

The King’s Bowl at Galactic Theatre in Warren; photo by Gina Mastrostefano

As the dust of coronavirus finally begins to settle, breweries and bars in Rhode Island are making accommodations to adapt to the new normal. Phase II allows restaurants and breweries to open with a long list of restrictions, including limited capacities, face mask requirements and no bar access unless assisted by a server. While some breweries continue to thrive on can sales only, a handful of RI breweries have reopened their doors and have made the necessary changes to serve their thirsty guests safely. For Apponaug Brewery in Warwick, this means new procedures and a dozen new tables added to their patio aback the converted mill. 

My friend Michayla and I made our reservation on a Saturday, eager to get out of the house and put on something other than sweatpants. Apponaug was bustling with patrons who seemed just as thrilled about coming out of hibernation. Upon arrival, at least one guest was required to give their contact info in case of a future outbreak. Masks on, we were kindly led to our table where we were then allowed to take them off while dining/drinking. Because of the limited bar access, we also had a server. The satisfaction of being handed an ice cold beer straight from the tap was something I truly missed. The condensation, that first crisp sip and simply interacting with other humans are just a few things I’ve been yearning for since March! Apponaug is one of the first breweries to reopen in Phase II along with Union Station Brewery, The Guild and Long Live Beerworks.

While bars still do not have a clear reopening date, Galactic Theatre in Warren is still slinging everyone’s favorite ice cold indulgence, and it’s not what you think. Galactic has become a staple for locals in Warren and even a destination for some victual-seeking visitors. Before the coronavirus outbreak, this rockabilly-themed bar served craft cocktails and beer in the glow of the silent movies they’d play around the clock. Eclectic and delightfully dark, this Main Street bar is the passion project of Providence-based musician Dave Podsnap. When learning that bars would not be allowed to open in the wake of the virus, Dave channeled that passion and creativity to put a new twist on his business — ice cream. 

Within just weeks of receiving the news, this bustling bar was quickly converted into a one-of-a-kind ice cream parlor. Dave has always had a passion for ice cream however he quips, “I never had a clue I’d EVER be serving (ice cream) out of an apocalypse driven take-out window.” But we are so glad he did. With a music and pop culture inspired menu, Galactic Theatre gives its guests a taste of what they’ve come for since the beginning. “The King’s Bowl” is a play on Elvis’ favorite with vanilla bean ice cream, peanut butter sauce and sliced banana. All sundaes are made with Rhode Island favorite Warwick Ice Cream

“The community response has been amazing as always. They never let you down and that’s why we never let them down,” says Dave. “We have seen local folks ordering two or three times per week so far and have also had a large amount of guests driving from other towns, some as far as Boston!”

Galactic plans on rocking the take-out window until they are allowed to go back to normal. But will they still serve ice cream? I posed this question to Dave and his response was a simple “FOREVER!” There are even plans to renovate to accommodate an ice cream window that will be open in conjunction with the bar. A flatbread menu and to-go bottled cocktails will also be added in the coming weeks. “We are blessed to be in such an organically grown area. No strip malls on our street and we will keep it that way. Keep Warren weird, one sundae, vintage film or original song at a time.”