Please enjoy this contribution from Neighborhood Champion and great friend of Local Return Jenn Steinfeld.
Nestled between Route 10 and Mount Pleasant is the Valley Arts District, a corridor of relatively new (re)development along Providence’s Woonasquatucket River. Long an area for industrial production, the mill buildings and working history of this area made it a natural fit for artists. But while the former informal artist spaces like Fort Thunder have been displaced, there are still many working artists living and working in the area, and a crop of businesses that cater to them. Here are some of my favorites.
60 Valley Street is the mixed use development called The Plant, which is home to the bookstore/bar Riffraff. Their small space is packed with an incredible selection, they host writers talks and book clubs, and if they don’t have the book you want in stock, they can get it quickly! You can take your new books (or even one you’re considering, carefully!) to the bar and enjoy it with a cocktail or coffee.
And if you find yourself peckish, Troop is located in the same building; I recommend the Street Noods!
Down the river a bit at 1 Sims Ave is The Steel Yard, a community industrial arts studio that is also home to many arts businesses. Here you will find the Industrious Spirits Company, or ISCo, Providence’s first distillery since prohibition. In addition to their very fine tasting room, where you can sample their gins and vodkas, they have a lovely covered patio set up for year round enjoyment no matter the weather! Live music, pop-up food vendors, or bring your own treats to enjoy this gem.
Right across the street you will find New Harvest Coffee (also with a very fine patio) and next door at 50 Sims, Revival Brewing and Lost Valley Pizza if you want a snack. Lost Valley delivers to the ISCo patio.
One of my favorite local businesses is K-Zao Studio, newly relocated to 49 Rathbone St. This full service bespoke tailoring studio caters primarily to the queer community and those who can’t find affirming clothing that fits. I got my first suit from them last year and it was a life changing experience; I immediately started planning for the next one. When I stopped by the studio to visit Bao and Atlas, they surprised me with the beginnings of the jacket for the 3 piece flannel suit I’ve commissioned for fall. If you’ve ever struggled to find tailored garments that fit your style, or to feel seen in your vision, I recommend checking them out.