Water Street curves into Dodge right at the Surf Hotel (Dodge St. 401-466-2241), open again after a five-year hiatus and offering food, cocktails and amazing views from its back deck. Opposite is the Island Free Library (Dodge St. 401-466-3233), the best (and almost the only) rainy day activity for kids. It boasts a treasure trove of books and other activities aimed at younger readers, as well as plenty to keep adults happy, including a well stocked periodicals room. Bird’s Nest (Dodge St. 401-466-5080) and Watercolors (Dodge St. 401-466-8833) are next; both charm with eclectic home goods. A little further down lie Red Bird Liquor Store (Dodge St. 401-466-2441), which keeps up with the times with premixed cocktail options and a small but well curated selection of wines; and Juice ’n Java coffee shop (Dodge St. 401-466-5220), which does the same with pay-as-you-go wifi, Hawaiian shaved ice and to-die-for fresh smoked bluefish.
At Bridgegate Square sit two icons of modern-day Block Island: on one corner, Diamondblue Surf and Kiteboarding (Dodge St. 401-466-3145), with beginner-friendly stand-up paddle-boarding lessons as well as surf and kite-board rentals; and kitty-corner across from it, the Block Island Historical Society (Bridgegate Sq. 401-466-2481), an approachable window into the island’s unique past stuffed with fascinating curios and attended by friendly and knowledgeable staff.
This intersection marks one corner of the island’s Bermuda Triangle of late-night fun. Captain Nick’s Rock ‘n Roll Bar (Ocean Ave. 401-466-5670) and Poor People’s Pub (Ocean Ave. 401-466-8533) lie straight ahead up Ocean Avenue (think sushi and live bands at one, good pub grub and outdoor patio at the other), while to the right, Yellow Kittens (Corn Neck Rd. 401-466-5855) and The Old Island Pub (Corn Neck Rd.) offer live music and frozen drinks vs. pool tables and a locals scene.
If you’re more about the food than the Mudslides, be sure to check out Winfield’s on the Neck (Corn Neck Rd. 401-466-5856) for fine dining, and the freedom to finish that nice bottle of wine on the deck of Kittens next door.
Just around the curve from the bars, where Corn Neck settles into a straight and sand-duney aspect, lies The Beachead restaurant (Corn Neck Rd. 401-446-2249), with consistently executed, straightforward but never dull fare that, admirably, does not trade on the restaurant’s amazing surf-side location. Come here to catch a breeze on the hottest days, and come back during a fall hurricane to sit at the bar and watch the waves wash right up on the road outside.
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