Dining Out

Table for One

Comfortable East Side haunts for flying solo on Valentine’s Day


You work your tail off. Whether you are career-oriented, newly single or just want a night out with the gals or guys, you highly value your time. Well, allow me to make the most of it. It is becoming more and more important for us singles to have a place to chill after working our buns off all day. There are a few things that come to mind when choosing the place to spend our hard-earned free time whether that be after work, on the weekend – or, this month, on the dreaded Valentine’s Day.

So, how does one choose where to go? Let me provide the criteria. I like choices, so any time that I go out I want to be within walking distance of another establishment so that I have options. Other driving forces behind my decision are places with good cocktail options, beers on tap and fairly priced food items. Lastly, good ambiance is key whether I’m flying solo or going to hang out with friends.

I’ll start with South Water Street. I’m a huge fan of this area. I’m a sucker for anything on the water with a fantastic view. It is also an amazing representation of the rejuvenation that Providence continues to go through. Well, lucky for me, there’s Lola’s Cantina. So I’ve got my view, I’ve got my water and now I have an entire menu of tequila concoctions including their signature margarita, The Lola, ringing in at $4. Now, if it’s too chilly to be outside too long, don’t worry, the bar is a dazzling feat of eye candy. Slathered in bright colors reminiscent of South Beach, it’s a feast for the eyes and the perfect spot to mingle with other singles in a bright and lively environment.

Just across the street, in an ode to the World War II era, complete with bartenders dressed in pin up girl regalia and a wall devoted entirely to looking like the side of a shiny metal airplane is Gavin’s Pub & Restaurant. With big comfy couches, mood lighting, a unique bar with custom bar stools and a free pool table, Gavin’s will take the edge off of any stressful day. The ambiance is killer. I personally love the Marilyn Monroe mural tucked into the corner. And if you’re feeling adventurous, a must try is Executive Chef Iannotti’s Louisiana Alligator appetizer. Dredged in white cornmeal and crisped to perfection and served with a spicy remoulade, this snack is a must try. What is so perfect about South Water Street is its proximity to other really cool bars and restaurants. You will be sure to mix with other groups of singles as you hop from one place to another.

Now, let’s move over to Wayland Square. Red Stripe hits the spot when it comes to ambiance. With a fabulous marble-topped bar with comfy seats, an open kitchen and open dining area, the restaurant feels seamless, as if you are part of any and all conversations. It is an easy place to go solo because the bar area is packed with friendly folks. The cocktail menu is stellar. The Eiffel Tower martini erased my winter blues in one fell swig. The calamari appetizer left me wondering why other restaurants don’t fry up cherry tomatoes with the calamari as well. What a beautiful and simple addition to a beloved dish. The bartenders had fabulous suggestions and, oh yes, there was a table wait on a Thursday night. Looks like the secret is out!

Barely one block over is Lim’s Fine Thai and Sushi Restaurant. Come here for sushi. Saddle up to the sushi bar and make a connection while watching the sushi chefs work their magic. The spicy tuna is right on par, the mutzu nigiri makes my mouth water and the spicy blue crab has single handedly created a new craving for me. I love that Lim’s uses full slices of fish and doesn’t grind it into a paste. I know exactly what is in my sushi, no question.

Finally, let’s take our fantastic selves over to Hope Street. This is another great area to fly solo or meet up with a group of single guys or gals. Although there are a slew of great restaurants, here are the two that have caught my eye and palate. Let’s start with Blaze East Side. Have no fear, ambiance is here. With warm wood tones throughout the restaurant and the welcoming personalities of the staff, I have no fear of coming here solo. There is always someone to strike up a conversation with or singles group to make friends with. Whether over delicious apps or specialty cocktails, be prepared to feel right at home here.

Take a short walk across the street and find yourself situated at Kitchen Bar. The high-top tables located directly behind the bar area fuse the two sections and voila, welcome to an entire section devoted to socializing. But try as you might, you might be too busy slurping down a thoughtfully made cocktail or having a moment with some sweet potato gnocchi to talk to that hot guy sitting next to you. To each their own. Maybe this is an issue I should address considering that I am starting to prefer the company of food. But I digress.

You know what is fabulous about being single? Being able to do whatever you want whenever you want without answering to anyone. For me, that entails copious amounts of laughter, food and drink. Stay happy my friends.

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