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It was Challengers, McFadden’s, and then Hanley’s Ale House. Finally, something new is opening this weekend.
The corner bar space at 52 Pine St. in Providence, which was notorious for attracting rowdy college students, closed in February 2019. For the years that followed, anyone who peeked in the windows saw a scene that looked like someone left in the middle of their shift and never returned: dirty rags, pint glasses on the bar and even half-empty soda bottles.
But a group of local restauranteurs recently leased the space. For the last 10 weeks, they’ve been scrubbing the restaurant down, repainting the dark hunter green wooden paneling that wrapped around the interior, installing custom lighting, having a local artist work overnights to finish various murals, and putting up a stage for live music.
And on Friday afternoon, ahead of Halloween weekend and Comic Con’s return to Rhode Island, Moonshine Alley will open their doors.
Moonshine Alley is a Nashville-inspired restaurant and bar outfitted with a 15-foot video wall for major sporting events, a stage for live acts, and a food menu with specialty items like Southern hot buttermilk chicken and slow-cooked ribs that are finished on the grill. Other staples include bison sliders, burgers, wings, and hush puppies made from a corn bread batter and grilled corn.
Their chef, Randy Carvalho, told me Moonshine Alley is a scratch kitchen, so items like fries and slaw are cut or shredded by hand. But Carvalho, who is originally from Barrington, R.I., and recently worked at Hillside Country Club and cooked at restaurants on the Virgin Islands, wouldn’t provide too many details like the types of spices he uses in various sauces and rubs.
Cocktails like the moonshine sangria — which uses Ole Smoky Blackberry and apple cider — or the Prohibition Old Fashioned — which is barrel-aged in house — could make their bar program stand out. The moonshine flights, which I’m not sure I’ve seen anywhere else in the city, offer four mini-pours of your choice of 12 different flavored moonshines such as apple pie, butter pecan, mountain java, and pumpkin spice.
Co-owner Tyler Almeida, who is a partner at the Dublin Rose in Seekonk, Mass., and previously worked at the now-shuttered Whiskey Republic, said he wants customers to feel as though they walked into a restaurant off Broadway in Nashville. Almeida said he recently booked Jackson Dean, who signed with Big Machine Records last year and has charted with the single “Don’t Come Lookin’,” and customers should expects acts like Brian Higgins, Davi Rak, and Dan Greaves in the near future.
There are several venues that regularly host live music throughout the city, from clubs in the Jewelry District to rock venues around Harris Avenue. But Nashville is known for music with a southern twang, and being a spot for country song artists could be what sets Moonshine apart immediately.
If you have suggestions or need a recommendation, shoot me an email at Alexa.Gagosz@globe.com.
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Alexa Gagosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.