Run by a bartender, Kimi’s Bar is Providence’s new gem

Rich has been a bartender and has been running bars for over 10 years, including long stints at boom box and Living roomtwo downtown watering holes owned by New Yorker Ethan Feirstein.

“For years people told me I should open my own bar,” said Rich, who has a large following among other workers in the industry. “I always knew in the back of my head that I was going to break up and open up my own baby.”

And after first seeing the space more than three years ago, she finally opened Kimi’s bar in the West End neighborhood of Providence earlier this month. She is the sole owner of Kimi’s – without any outside investors or funding – making the bar a woman-owned, bartender-owned gem in an industry still dominated by men, and where spots often have multiple partners or fundraisers. external funds.

And she got to this point on her own.

“I thought I would easily find grants and loans to women-owned businesses, but after coming out of the pandemic, nobody was interested in bars. Nobody was funding them,” said Rich, who said he borrowed against his house and used his and her husband’s savings to make Kimi a reality. “Believe me, I looked everywhere for a grant.”

A vintage and artisanal decoration adorns the walls of Kimi’s Bar in Providence.Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe
A garage door opens onto a small patio in front of Kimi’s Bar in Providence.Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe

On a recent visit, she described Kimi’s as an elevated neighborhood bar where various aspects of herself are “strewn throughout”.

Kimi’s front garage door opens when the weather is nice, expanding bar seating with picnic tables, and the cackling of ice cubes in a shaker can be heard from the street.

There is a brilliant emerald green backsplash where each rectangular tile has been hand painted by an artist. There will be plants that will soon scatter the room, which contains a handful of booths and long tavern-style tables with benches. The logo depicts a strong, long-legged fish, holding a beer, and posing in a pair of black pumps, a crop top, and bikini bottoms.

And his beer list is several pages long. There are over 60 cans and pints available on tap in total, including local beers from Long Live Beerworks, Proclamation, Tilted Barn, Night Shift, Maine Beer Co., and Connecticut’s Two Roads.

Bartender Max Prussner whips up a Block Party cocktail in the brand new Kimi’s Bar at 373 Washington St.Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe
Bartender Max Prussner serves a freshly mixed Block Party cocktail.Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe

“I was really intentional not to own a cocktail bar,” said Rich, who later admitted that she built her current menu after writing down about 50 different cocktails she wanted to include before narrowing them down to around six, like Maxamillian’s Butterfly French 75. , named after and created by bartender Max Prussner, who followed Rich from the Boombox. It uses Empress gin, lemon juice, homemade butterfly pea flower simple syrup and sparkling prosecco.

Or the “Maine Man” ($10), which is an easy-drinking whiskey-based cocktail with light amounts of maple syrup to tame the sharpness of the alcohol going down.

Each of the cocktails uses freshly squeezed fruit juices and the syrups are made on site. “We’re not a sour mix bar,” said Prussner, who also makes music and owns Prussner Printing & Design, which serves several area food businesses like PVDonuts, Churros RIand The Capture of Andrade.

Kimi’s kitchen is not yet operational as Rich said they are still waiting for the oven she ordered months ago. But by the end of August, she said she plans to serve snacks such as creative (and affordable) English muffin-style pizzas with toppings sourced from local artisans and farmers.

On the evening of their inauguration, Masa Taquería served their famous tacos and birria under a tent outside the bar, lines of customers ordered drink after drink and parked Triumph motorbikes lined up outside while DJs Norlan and Nick Bishop played music. By midnight, many of those milling about outside Kimi had just finished their shifts at another local restaurant downtown, on the East Side or Federal Hill. Many knew that Rich and the others were shaking cocktails, taking orders and pulling draw lines, and intended to head to the West End to end the night. The other businesses on the lot Rich is on are all owned by women, she said.

“The West End is booming. This could be the new go-to section of town,” Rich said. “And we’re going to help build that.”

Kimi’s Bar is located at 373 Washington St. in Providence. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fridays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. They are closed on Tuesdays. Check them out instagram for updates.

Kimi Rich, owner of Kimi’s Bar, poses for a photo inside her establishment in Providence.Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe

Alexa Gagosz can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.