Whether you’re a sports fan looking to kick back and catch a game or just a fan of elevated pub fare and cold beers in a lively atmosphere, The Local is the place to be. Not your typical sports bar, this East Providence mainstay features a menu of scratch-made comfort foods, which give the hangout a familial vibe. From football to field hockey, you can count on seeing your team broadcasted on one of many TVs.
Executive chef Sarah Bleich keeps her patronage in mind in developing approachable eats. “Our menu was designed to appeal to what people would expect in a sports bar, but to make sure that we take the time to highlight scratch-made signature items that belong to us,” she shares.
Stepping inside The Local, the sporty energy is strong – but with plush leather couches and luxurious high tops, these are box seats, not the nosebleed section. Sports memorabilia lines the walls, including jerseys encased in glass where you can spot the signatures of iconic athletes scribbled across the numbers. A small corner even has wall-to-wall faux turf, so you can feel like you’re part of the front-row action.
For those less athletically enthused, there’s no need to have this season’s stats down pat to enjoy a visit. The Local is a place where you can bring the family during the day, shares Bleich, and “we have an energetic and fantastic mix of people at night once the music comes on.” The food is the real draw for diners like me. Bleich goes the extra mile to make sure everything that leaves her kitchen will impress, from braising meats in house and pressing burgers daily to prepping house-made sauces and dressings.
I couldn’t pass up The Local Burger, one of the most popular items on the menu. A gleaming, buttery brioche bun holds two juicy patties, smothered in gooey cheese, bacon, house-fried crunchy onions, and finished with a tasty sauce (a secret recipe, according to Bleich). I detected some tangy mustard notes, but whatever it is ties the whole burger together.
The ultimate game day snack, the Chili Cheese Tots are not to be overlooked. The pile of crispy, golden nuggets are topped with melted cheese, seasoned beef, and finished with fresh-cut hot jalapeños – totally irresistible. All of The Local’s shareable apps offer a choice of base (nachos, tots, or sides) and different styles like Carnitas and Buffalo Chicken for a customizable starter.
What’s a fun night out without an enticing cocktail? From spicy-rimmed margaritas to blueberry Moscow mules, diners can choose from traditional and original bevvies, plus a rotating seasonal menu. It wouldn’t be a sports bar without plenty of local brews on tap, too. In the mood for a dessert cocktail, I went for the Peanut Butter Cup Martini, served on the rocks. The ultimate indulgence, this sweet martini is garnished with mini peanut butter cups skewered on a toothpick and perched on the rim.
The Local is giving EP townies a new place to visit over and over, while also drawing a crowd of out-of-towners looking to recharge their game-day routine with a new spin on familiar snacks. This joint lives up to its identity as a neighborhood place that makes everyone feel right at home.
The Local • 478 Waterman Avenue, East Providence • 337-9337
Follow @bunsandbites on Instagram for more of Laura Afonso’s foodie best bets.
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