Metro, News

The future of ‘Whiskey Wednesdays’

New management takes over the Whiskey Republic, plans to rebrand

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Whiskey Republic is a bar frequented by Brown students. New management plans to remodel the interior and the exterior in March.

Local entrepreneurs Garry Williams and Frank Manfredi Jr. took over management of the Whiskey Republic, a bar on the Fox Point waterfront, on Jan. 1.

Williams said they plan a rebrand of the bar in order to attract a crowd who “may not want to go out to nightclubs, but want to enjoy the waterfront.”

The partners hope to bring more live music to the venue, attract members of the surrounding Fox Point community and change the name of the bar. Williams could not confirm what the new name would be, but did not rule out the name Fish Co., which was the name of the bar prior to 2011. The bar will close for two weeks in March for remodeling, according to Manfredi. They plan to remodel the interior and exterior of the building and refurbish the outside deck area.

Although the bar will be undergoing changes, the owners plan to preserve the themed nights that have made it so popular with college students.

The Whiskey Republic has been a go-to spot for local students for years with the 18-and-over night “Whiskey Wednesdays.” The Fish Co. also hosted “Brown nights” on Wednesdays before it closed in 2011. 

Alice Lange ’23, who attended the Whiskey Republic three or four times in her first semester, thought that the venue could use a change, describing the space as “run-down.”

“It looks like it needs to be redone,” she said.

Jonah Eick ’23 frequented the Whiskey Republic at the beginning of last semester. He likes “Whiskey Wednesdays,” as well as the location on the waterfront and the outdoor space.

“They structure (Wednesdays) so it’s easier for kids from Brown to come,” he said. “That makes a much better atmosphere.”

Eick and Lange both hope that “Whiskey Wednesdays” will continue under new management.

The Whiskey Republic isn’t the first time Williams and Manfredi have taken over and rebranded local venues.

The duo are partners and co-founders of the Rosendale Group, a hospitality company which has tackled three other venues in Providence: the Rosendale, the Strand Ballroom and Theatre and Studio Lounge. The partners plan to adopt a strategy for the Whiskey Republic similar to their past ventures.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Manfredi said.

“We bring in people from the Rosendale Group who work on the marketing end or even the management end (to) work with the team that’s already there,” Williams said.

According to Williams, all of the current employees are welcome to stay “as long as everybody is up for a change for the better.”

Williams also posted on his Facebook page that the Whiskey Republic was hiring for all positions on Jan. 13.

“We see that there’s a rebranding of this whole area with the new apartments, the walk and other buildings going up,” Williams said. “We want to be more versatile — not just a college nightclub type of bar.” New developments include the high-end River House Apartments, which opened across the river this summer, as well as a $22-million pedestrian bridge linking Fox Point to the Jewelry District.

Despite recent local developments, the Fox Point neighborhood is familiar to Williams — he was hired out of high school 21 years ago to work at the Fish Co.

Williams says he and Manfredi will work to “bring (the bar) back to the days when this was the place to be.”

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