Dining Out

Casual Consumption

A waterfront restaurant with a menu that’s as laid-back as the atmosphere

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Thames Waterside Bar & Grill in Bristol is a good bar for watching sports and grabbing a drink with your friends. There’s a nice, U-shaped bar in the main room, ringed with stools and plenty of televisions, along with a few booths around the perimeter of the bar. There’s a modest indoor dining area as well as a large deck that’s open year-round, overlooking Bristol Harbor and out toward Narragansett Bay. That deck would make a great spot for a large party to enjoy a night full of drinks and bar food.

I’ll make no bones about it, that’s what they serve best at Thames Waterside – bar food like buffalo wings, nachos, clam cakes and stuffies (it is a waterside bar after all). There are some burgers and sandwiches on the menu that can be serviceable with a beer, and perhaps the salads or pastas would be a revelation. But the at- mosphere on a Monday night, with all the TVs turned to football and a few on hockey, definitely called for bar food – so that’s what we ordered.

The menu pretty much said that a great bar has to have a great buffalo wing – and claimed that they did – so I decided to judge that boast right off the bat. The Buffalo Chicken Wings ($8.50) were very good. Sure it’s not the most unique dish a place can offer, but I’ve had plenty of bad buffalo wings in my life and it’s a crowd-pleasing dish when it’s done well. I could have been happy with buffalo wings and Guinness for the night, but then that wouldn’t have been much of a review.

My wife ordered the Lazy Man Nachos ($8.95), which were a little different than your standard platter of nachos in that the Lazy Man is a large bowl of chili with a heaping pile of tortilla chips alongside — again, not hugely original, but very tasty. The chili was really good and both of us said we’d have been happy with it alone. The chips went well with it, and while it might not have been the most graceful way to eat chili, it was perfectly suitable for stuffing chili in your mouth as you watched a game.

For dinner we ordered the Great Steak Sandwich ($11.50) and the Falerna Panini ($10.95). The steak sandwich contained grilled and sliced steak topped with onions and gorgonzola cheese, all stuffed into a bulky torpedo roll with a side of fries.
The Falerna is made of grilled chicken, roasted peppers, prosciutto, provolone and a pesto mayonnaise on flat bread. Grilling the sandwich flat with a panini press unfortunately rendered it a little dry, though some more pesto mayonnaise helped. A burger is probably a better bet, but my wife was feeling a little adventurous.

The beer list is great with about a dozen beers on tap and another dozen by the bottle. Our server also told us there was one special beer addition that evening. Speaking of service, for a bar with a crowd of customers pulling servers in all kinds of directions, the service couldn’t have been friendlier or more attentive.

Part of the beauty of the rich dining scene in Bristol is that there is much diversity in both the foods and the ambiance offered. In the mood for fine dining? I have a recommendation. Pizza? No problem. Want some good bar food while watching the game in a great location? I’ve got the right place for you. Thames Waterside Bar & Brill is located at 251 Thames Street in Bristol. 401-253-4523