Providence (or north) good liquor store(s)
- EvergreenDan Aug 15, 2011 06:34 AM
I will be traveling to Rhode Island Hospital to visit a friend. Since I live in Boston, I thought that a good Rhode Island liquor store might have some cool things that aren't available in Massachusetts. The hospital is right off I-95 in Providence. Where would be a good liquor store to visit? I'm most interested in off-beat things, like Italian bitter liqueurs (amari) and such, rather than a wide selection of (say) flavored vodka or spiced rum.
TIA for your help.
Three best stores for my money in RI are Saks in North Providence, Joyal's in West Warwick and Bottles on the East Side of Providence..
Joyal's has the biggest selection in the state but is farther afield, about 25 minutes (mostly on the highway) from RIH. Saks is 10-15 minutes. Bottles is 5 to 10 minutes.
By way of example, I enjoy rye. Saks and Bottles both stock around 4-5 varieties (including Rittenhouse) which is 4-5 more than the average RI package store. Joyal's has over 10. That being said, I am not sure how strong Joyal's bitters/digestif selection is. I never look because I can get what I need at Saks, which is down the road from me. Joyal's strength is wine and aforementioned amazing selection of rum, bourbon, rye, irish whiskey and scotch.
Bottles is newish. Very much trying to find its niche by playing up the current cocktail craze, which nowhere else in RI does. They have several varieties of bitters, luxardo cherries and a wide variety of digestifs etc. By way of example, Bottles is the only place I have found peychaud's or seen creme de violette.
Saks is my local store and has been around for over 50 years. Given your aim, it is worth noting that it is in one of the most heavily Italian-American communities in the country. The store is smallish, especially compared to the other two, but the shelves run floor to ceiling. Saks is strong on wines (particularly Italian) and digestifs etc. John (the original proprietor's son) is working most days and always happy to lend a hand. All that being said I don't know if they carry anything you can't get in Mass (Fernet Branca, Razamatti, Aperol etc).
As to the suggestions mentioned above:
You won't find anything special at Yankee. Their chief advantage vis a vis liquor is price, not selection. Last I checked the only rye they carried was Beam.
Nikki's is near PC (my neck of the woods) not the East Side. Their beer selection is great especially given the size of the space. They are my go to place to fill the beer fridge. However, the liquor side of things is an afterthought basically enough to keep the PC kids coming in .
Thanks for the great post. I'll try to check these out. My friend has been moved to a hospice a bit north of RIH.
I checked out Campus and it was nice. Cute little store, which nice offerings. It had a few interesting things, including El Tesoro (anejo and a really expensive one), Rittenhouse, and the Rogue spirits (gin, whiskey, and maybe it was rum?). I also checked out Standard because it was near the hospital, but the name was well chosen. A handle of Jim Beam was about $26, but I just finished one and want to mix with something more interesting next.
Town Wine and Spirits (179 Newport Ave, East Providence) has an outstanding single malt scotch selection. Also a great store for wine. Excellent staff- very knowledgeable and friendly.