Think of a German beer hall, and you’ll probably imagine a boisterous place with heavy food and even heavier drinking. Bayberry Beer Hall, tucked into a quiet street on the West Side, is Providence’s lighter take on the concept, a self-described “modern American beer hall.”
Bayberry is as much garden as hall. The lofty former stable is strung with small globe lights and brightened by a wall of live vines. A photo of the space might fool you into thinking it’s outside.
But Bayberry is far from traditional. Beer isn’t available in Oktoberfest-style liters; patrons instead sip from dainty tulip glasses. The food is light and creative, showcasing a variety of local ingredients. And don’t expect dirndl-clad waitresses toting trays of beer – Bayberry is self-service unless you sit at the bar. Some may balk at the lack of waitstaff, but Bayberry’s setup is advantageous: you can order separately and avoid complicated check-splitting, or you can order before the rest of your table arrives, putting less pressure on the kitchen during a busy Saturday night.
Bayberry has another fine feature: brunch. My husband and I recently found a seat at one of its picnic tables, which are communal and have a modernist angularity. The brunch menu is short but covers all the bases, with breakfast dishes alongside a smattering of dinner items. I ordered the Seasonal Frittata, made with turnips, shallots, and feta. I often find myself disappointed by brunch potatoes, but the “peewee” potatoes accompanying my dish were exceptional, crispy and well-seasoned. My husband’s Huevos Rancheros, a special, was a colorful plate of blue and white corn tortillas, beans with pork belly, and two sunny-side-up eggs.
The Kale Caesar surprised us as our favorite dish of the meal, with lacinato kale, radicchio, and fennel providing a hearty base for a creamy cashew dressing. Our side of Slab Bacon had a sweet drizzle of Bourbon maple syrup. The daily pastry, a raspberry coffee cake, was moist and subtly sweet.
With fourteen beer taps and even more bottles and cans, Bayberry’s craft beer menu spotlights New England breweries. Though we are beer lovers, this time we set our sights on brunchier drinks. My husband tried the Nitro Stout, made with stout beer, Nitro Cart cold brew (available on tap), and amaro. Topped with whipped cream and nuts, it was indulgent and a bit boozy. Craving something light and fresh, I had the Kombucha, a fizzy, fermented, non-alcoholic drink, this one made by Rhode Island–based Luluna Kombucha.
Though Bayberry is an alcohol-focused establishment, it’s surprisingly accessible to family dining. Perhaps because they are recent parents, owners Tom and Natalie Dennen added child-friendly touches to the restaurant. Noting these on a previous visit, we brought our month-old baby for his first restaurant experience. The restroom’s wicker chair was a quiet place to nurse, and the designated marble surface in the ladies’ room will probably be the most elegant place I’ll ever change a diaper.
Though the similarity to Munich beer halls might end at the delicious house-baked Sourdough Pretzels, Bayberry is a uniquely Providence place to seek craft beer and community.
Bayberry Beer Hall
381 West Fountain Street • 401-383-9487