Last night, after spending a couple hours at Nikki’s for the Thursday night beer tasting, I headed over to Cafe 412 at the suggestion of Mike (the beer guy and owner of Nikki’s). I had known of the existence of this bar/restaurant, working for Providence College and all. One of my former student employees, Jenny, had talked about this bar quite a bit as I believe she is friends with the owner. So we headed over to this little bar on Douglas Ave and walked inside. It was about 9:00 pm and the bar was completely empty. It’s a small room with a U shaped bar and a couple of bar-height tables around the edge. There’s a little nook with an ATM machine (that is “free”, in that they’ll take a dollar off your purchase for using it and paying the dollar fee) and a bathroom in the back corner. In the middle of the bar are the taps and a row of bottles beneath displaying the beer. There are 2 chalkboards hanging on the walls on either side of the bar displaying the beer list. Behind the bar is a big reebar (sp?) rack to hold wine bottles with a neat arch made of tab handles for various beers.
The beer selection last night was pretty impressive, especially considering this is a college bar. They had the following on draft:
- Allagash White
- Stone Ruination
- St. Bernardus Abt 12
- Victory Prima Pils
- Ipswich Ale
- Rogue Dead Guy Ale
- Left Hand Milk Stout
- Flying Dog In Heat Wheat
- North Coast Red Seal Ale
- Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus
In addition to that, they also had one tap that wasn’t being used. Their bottle list was a little less impressive, though the standouts were Haverhill Leatherlips IPA and Whittier White, Long Trail Double Bag, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, and Left Hand Sawtooth Ale. There were probably about 25-30 bottled beers in total. The beer was served colder than what would be ideal, but with a little time, it warmed up. The Abt 12 was served in a St. Bernardus chalice, which was a nice touch.
Our waitress, Audrey, was fantastic. She didn’t know a whole lot about the beers, but she seemed very willing to learn, and had informed us she was planning a trip to Nikki’s to mix her own 6 pack this weekend. We also ordered some food. I had heard their pizzas are really good. Those who told me weren’t lying. It’s a grilled flatbread pizza. I got a margarita (fresh tomato and basil) on their whole wheat crust. It was awesome, rivaling Bob and Timmy’s (though this was a little different from Bob and Timmy’s grilled pizza). Everyone else also seemed to enjoy their meals (I don’t remember what people got, other than Susan who got nachos that looked fantastic). We left around 11:30 and there were still only a few other people in the place. I’m going to assume that because they actually card, it’s not a big hot spot for the students.
If you’re looking for a great low key bar in Providence that serves great food, Cafe 412 is worth a visit. The beer selection, while not over-the-top, is great, the food is awesome, and the service is fantastic. Check it out, have a beer or two, and enjoy their awesome prices (my pint of Ruination was $4 and the Abt 12 was $5). Chatting with the waitress, it sounded like the owner wasn’t too sure how much longer he’d be able to carry some of the beers because they’re not big sellers and because of their high price. We actually suggested to her that the owner should raise his prices on some of these beers (Ruination usually goes for $5-6 for a 10-12 oz. pour and Abt 12 is usually around $7-8 for a smaller pour as they filled it above the fill line on the glass). I’ll definitely be going back, especially if I end up moving back to the neighborhood.