Old School Class

Bartender Mikaela Newell on Providence's newest speakeasy


What is Vanity?
Vanity is a 1920s-themed speakeasy restaurant and lounge. It’s classy, old school and it’s one of Providence’s only underground bars. You don’t see the same faces in here every week. There’s a different crowd with a little bit of every type - hipsters, preppy people, nine-to-fivers, artists.

Tell us about the menu.
Chef Paul Jalaf created an amazing menu of classics with a twist. Everything is tweaked. I am a picky eater and I love everything on this menu. My favorite item is his Marsala Marciano – a pan-seared porcini dusted chicken served in a sweet mushroom wine sauce with a cheesy risotto and crispy onions.

How does Vanity transition from restaurant to lounge?

It’s a smooth transition and it works out well because people tend to finish dinner around 9:30pm and then linger at the bar. When the kitchen closes at 10pm, live entertainment - usually a DJ - starts up. Vanity offers entertainment every night. The lounge is for 21+ only – you won’t find any of that 18+ rowdiness here.

Which cocktails do you recommend?
Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. They’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, but both very delicious. Baby Face Nelson is made with Captain Morgan, apple juice, muddled apple and cinnamon. Pretty Boy Floyd is made with St. Germain, Grey Goose La Poire, grapefruit and cranberry juice.

What is your signature drink?
Caramel Apple Martini. I rim the martini glass with brown sugar and then mix Stoli Gala Applik, Sour Apple Puckers, Butterscotch Schnapps, sweet and sour mix and a little freshly squeezed lime juice for this delicious martini.

Can you recommend a refreshing spring cocktail for readers to impress their friends with?
Our Houdini Double: Double Cross Vodka, grape fruit juice and a lemon twist. Easy and impressive. 

As a bartender, what have you learned about yourself?
I’m definitely a little bit ADD and OCD. I love being busy. The bar always has something for you to do. Whether it’s cleaning, serving customers, meeting new people or making drinks. What do you enjoy most about bartending? I’m a very creative and artistic person; I love the creative freedom bartending allows. I love enjoying the music and the atmosphere while creating drinks. I’m a night owl, so these hours definitely work for me. Also, I’d rather be making the drinks than drinking them.

What’s your most embarrassing bartending story?
Jarvis Green – who was playing for the New England Patriots at the time – came into Smoke [where I used to work]. I don’t know if I was nervous or just being my normal klutzy self, but I spilled a cranberry cocktail on his pink shirt.

vanity, speakeasy, bar, lounge, cocktails, providence, providence monthly


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