Metro

On this side of the pond, Liquid goes British

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, March 22, 2010

After 13 years, Liquid Lounge will be closing its doors for good. On April 1, the English Cellar Alehouse will open in its place under the same ownership.

According to owner Umberto Sorbo, who also operates bars in Cranston and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the decision to close down Liquid Lounge was partly due to its age. “It’s ran its course after 13 years and it needed renovations and a facelift,” he said. Sorbo also revealed that “business has decreased over the last couple of years due to the economy.”
“But you have to remember as well that the Liquid Lounge was more of a watering hole. Once you have food, it rounds off the whole business well,” he added.

The Alehouse, modeled after a classic English pub, features  brick walls and a replica red telephone booth. “I knew I had a very old building to begin with,” Sorbo said, “so I wanted to make this as authentic as possible.”

According to Sorbo, the main attraction of the English Cellar Alehouse will be its extensive liquor selection, English cuisine and a wide range of games and entertainment.

“We’re going to have a lot of craft beers, such as Dog Fish,” Sorbo said. The Alehouse will feature over 180 varieties of liquor, with an emphasis on European and English brands.

The lunch and dinner menus will include English dishes such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. Sorbo also said the Alehouse will organize a Cellar Dweller Beer Club that offers tiered prizes to aficionados who sample more than 25 brands of foreign beers.

A section of the pub is dedicated to billiards and darts with weekly league competitions. Televisions will broadcast the Soccer Network and the Rugby Network.

“We’re specializing in the European thing,” Sorbo said.

To Sorbo, opening a pub in the midst of a slow economic recovery is a calculated risk. “In general, the market is doing pretty well with pubs that are not overpriced,” he said.

“High-end restaurants are the market that is getting hit hardest in this economy, but an appetizer and beer for $10 will always do well.”

Sorbo considers the Alehouse’s location in the heart of Brown’s campus to be a competitive advantage. “We’re going to get college and graduate students, as well as local professionals,” he said. “There are Brown students from across the world, and they make the neighborhood very cultural.”

“I appreciate the quality and uniqueness of the East Side,” Sorbo said.

Theo Spiridis, manager of Spats, Viva and Paragon, welcomed the new competition. “The more people in the area, the more customers we have,” he said. “There’s enough business for everybody.”

“Business is good in Providence,” said Sarah Chase, manager of Abe’s.

At present, there are no plans to offer exclusive discounts to members of the Brown community.

At least two Brown students were receptive to Sorbo’s concept. “I’ll go if it’s an actual English experience,” said Chris Catoya ’13.

An English pub “sounds awesome,” said Adrik Mcllroy ’11. “There’s no English food around here, like fish and chips, so it’d be great if they have that.”

Mcllroy did not express dismay over the closing of Liquid Lounge. “You mean that shady place under the Vietnamese restaurant?” Mcllroy asked of the soon-to-be defunct bar.