I Totally Lost Control at Julian's in Providence, RI | Dirtybeerguy.     


In the Federal Hill section just west of downtown Providence lies cozy cafe-styled neighborhood bar, JULIAN’S RESTAURANT, one of the most amazingly eclectic cocktail and food joints any hipster collegiate or beer geek could imagine. Its fabulous all-around vibe starts with its trendy New York-styled art gallery intimacy, creative menu offerings and ever-changing Belgo-American-dominated tapped-bottled selections. Perfect for a hearty brunch (Eggs Benedict and enormous French Toast are recommended) as well as dinner, dessert and homemade ice cream, Julian’s gets packed quickly.


Inside a historic red brick building on Broadway (listed in the National Register), its right side red-lettered EAT sign, glass-windowed frontage, maroon awning and 10-cent pony ride greet lucky patrons through the black door. In springtime, a few tables get set up for outside dining.


Established in 1994, Julian’s was an early morning breakfast hotspot before its passionate management decided to also become a respected craft beer bar around 2007. Julian’s Double Decker Omnibus (pictured above) is an entirely mobile restaurant used for special events and a traveling smoker makes catering easy for backyard barbecues.


Upon entering, Julian’s tight space features several dining tables and an open kitchen behind the 10-stool bar. Much of the colorful decor, such as the big Reagan’s Opium banner and Impressionist art, get credited to Nate Nadeau, a local artist friend. The admirable world cuisine retains a casual country comfort perfect for family-style dining.

On the Monday after St. Patty’s Day ’13, I stop by and grab a seat next to the tap stand for an eye-opener at 11 AM. Available to curious connoisseurs this day are several great Belgian brews, two of which have their own separate mounts (Huyghe’s Delirium Tremens and Van Steenberge’s Gulden Draak) and a few more equally impressive libations (Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux, Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Red, Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic and Dilewyns Vicaris Winter Ale).

Several local Northeast favorites such as Sixpoint 3Bean Stout, Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter and Grey Sail Leaning Chimney Porter sit alongside Britain’s JW Lees Harvest Ale 2011 and Michigan’s Founders All Day IPA. A cooler full of hard-to-find brews is stationed at the front of the bar.

I settle for a delightful newfangled Pawtucket-based dark ale, Bucket Brewery’s Thirteenth Original Maple Stout (with its dark chocolate and black coffee overtones given maple-sugared sinew and dried cocoa powdering). But alas, I’m curious to hit Warwick’s Track 84 (closed on St. Patty’s Day) before making the trip back to Jersey ahead of nightfall.

Within two weeks, I’m back at Julian’s for April Fool’s Day. And they’ve pulled off a great prank. As I walk in, all the tap heads have Bud, Coors and Miller handles. I’m shocked until the waitress tells me it’s a joke. I settle in with a delicious fruit-hopped Goose Island Imperial IPA, salmon poached egg and Monster French Toast (shared with my wife). The brunch time college crowd fills the place up by 11 AM and most of the local students settle into Bloody Marys instead of beers.

During October ’13, took wife and youngest kids to this increasingly popular Providence pub for tasty front-porch 9 AM breakfast. I settle for the excellent Du Buccaneer Omelet (smoked salmon, red onion and capers) while the family splits Jedi Mind Trick Omelet (baby spinach, mushroom, red onions, Swiss cheese) and powder-sugared pancakes.

A small breeze hangs in the autumn air as I quaff a few tremendous and contrasting one-off brews. Exquisite collaborative affair, 10 Barrel/Bluejacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter, drapes honeyed chocolate malts atop calendula-flowered jasmine and syrupy maple. Wonderful red zinfandel-aged Hofstetten Zymatore Granitebock layered its red-wined sweetness with buttery Chardonnay and cherry-soured oaken vanilla.

Beer enthusiasts should look forward to Julian’s exquisite Beer Pairing Dinners in warmer months.

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