fb-pixel Skip to main content
DINING

On Providence’s East Side, a new speakeasy offers plant-based mocktails, cocktails, and elevated bites

Plant City opened a new cocktail lounge and speakeasy where guests will have to enter through a bakery to get inside.

Low lighting and greenery greet guests at the recently opened 345 by Plant City in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — Tucked just far enough away from the bustle of South Main Street is a brightly lit bakery without a name. It’s where the confectioners and sweet-toothed creators of Providence’s nearby Plant City mold their craft. But now, it serves a second purpose.

Through the double doors of the bakery, past the racks for sheet pans and commercial-sized mixers, stands an unmarked door that opens up to a sultry speakeasy, illuminated by the peridot-tinted chandeliers hanging above the wooden bar.

It’s 345, Plant City’s newest concept. And having to seek it out is the point.

At 345, moss green-colored couches line the walls, and tiny candles are placed on each table ahead of their nightly service. Greenery is sprung in the corners and around the bar. Secret lounge rooms are tucked on either side of the bar for larger groups and black-and-white photos from the Prohibition times are hung in the hallways and in the bathroom, framed in vintage gold.

Cocktails — with or without alcohol — are showcased in various glass coupes, flutes, and goblets. Their mocktails ($10) include the Passion Potion, coupling celery juice, passion fruit, their house-made five-spiced agave, and a butterfly pea powder. Or the White Wedding: chrysanthemum tea, oat milk, and cacao-coconut cordial.

Advertisement



Mocktails, which are becoming less of a hospitality trend and more of a staple at cocktail lounges, restaurants, and pop-ups, aren’t just for those who “never drink,” said Neomy Delacruz, a bartender at 345.

“Already, we’re seeing so many people asking if they can put liquor in the mocktails, and then others asking if they can have one of the cocktails and make it non-alcoholic,” said Delacruz, who explained the staff makes all of their own cordials and juices in-house.

Bartender Neomy Delacruz crafts a Mum's The Word cocktail at the recently opened 345.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe
The Watermelon Sugar High cocktail at 354.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Their boozy creations include the Watermelon Sugar High, which blends Italian amaro, fresh watermelon, tomato water, squeezed lemon juice, a house-made five spice agave, and cava (which is a traditional, Spanish sparkling wine made with Parellada, Xarel-lo, and Macebo grapes for a floral, citrus flavor. Cava is made similarly to the way champagne is made in France.). Three melon balls are sticked, becoming drunk in the amaro and bubbles.

Advertisement



Their Phat Beet cocktail tingles and waters the foliate papillae part of the tongue like a bite of a lemon. It’s a complicated fusion of cachaca (a distilled spirit that’s popular in Brazil and made from fermented sugarcane juice), rye whiskey, golden beet juice (mashed and blended on the spot for each order), pineapple, citrus, and aromatic bitters.

Bartender Neomy Delacruz serves a Medical-Medium cocktail at 345 by Plant City in Providence.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe
A cocktail at the recently opened 345 by Plant City in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Their Medical-Medium, named for Anthony William Coviello, the father of the global celery juice movement and to use food as medicine, combines gin, celery juice, yuzu, green chartreuse, maraschino, and sparking water over ice and sprinkled with black pepper. A celery stalk is dunked inside, matching the lime-green hue of the cocktail.

The lounge has small bites — all quintessential for sharing on a date, or at a table’s spread — like “One out of Ten” ($12), which are blistered shishito peppers with a black garlic aioli. Or the “Truffle Explosion” ($16), a short tray of arancinis, truffle, and lemon zest.

The New York System are reimagined hot weiners as roasted carrots with a sweet mushroom chili.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe
The seasonal raw bar appetizer.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

There are Rhode Island staples, reimagined, too. The New York System “all the way” ($15) is a fun play on hot weiners. But instead of meat, play to Plant City’s vegan brand, using carrots and a sweet mushroom chili (with onions and mustard, of course). Or the seasonal raw bar ($40), which anywhere else in Rhode Island would have oysters and other shellfish, are now lightly cooked and chilled seasonal veggies that can be dipped in vegan blue cheese, avocado, or a smokey red pepper hummus.

Advertisement



The melting pot ($20) defines a sweeter tooth, which is like a chocolate fondue, said Sydney DiGregorio, the culinary manager for Plant City. She said diners can dip cuts of fresh fruit, graham crackers, and marshmallows into the warm, velvety cocoa.

“It’s something interactive. People like to play with their food,” said DiGregorio. The playful aspects of the menu are something she said they’ll mimic again in other specials and as they update the menu for seasonality.

Their chicharron ($15) is similar in the sense that it’s communal for the table; Tapioca (a South American starch that is extracted from roots of the cassava plant) gets dehydrated after it’s cooked and then put in a fryer so it puffs up. “It’s fun bringing something like that to a table. Everyone looks at it like ‘How exactly do we tackle this?’” laughed DiGregorio.

“One out of Ten” are blistered shishito peppers, chili flakes, with a black garlic aioli. Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Plant City’s executive chef Luis Jaramillo, who previously received the Michelin Guide’s prestigious Plate Award for freshness for his restaurant Fifty in Manhattan (which has since closed), said as diners crave social interaction coming out of the pandemic, it was important for him to add intimate elements throughout the menu.

Advertisement



Kim Anderson, the owner of the Plant City locations in Rhode Island, said she wanted 345, similarly to her other establishments, to be inclusive for anyone who might be venturing out.

“There’s people who want to be kosher. Others that don’t want to drink... Ever, or maybe just that night,” she said recently. “We wanted to answer that question of ‘How do we open a place for all?’ And that’s 345. It’s not just a bar where people drink.”

345 by Plant City is located at 345 S. Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island. They are open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 5 to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight. Reservations are recommended by calling 401-347-4429. Updates are posted to the lounge’s Instagram @345PlantCity.

The newly opened 345 by Plant City in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.