Today’s Newport, RI City Guide update comes to us from original guide writer, Andrea McHugh, the founder and editor of Newport Stylephile, Andrea visited Newport on whim and nested there soon after. Today, a decade later, she happily resides (and shops!) in the city-by-the-sea and today she is updating her detailed local’s guide to shopping, eating, drinking, site-seeing, sailing, overnighting and celebrating in Newport. Thank you, Andrea for this wonderful guide! —Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump…
Be sure to check out this Google Map with all of the below listings!
Broadway/Washington Square Area
Madcap Coffee At the top of Broadway’s “restaurant row,” Bistro 162 takes its cue from its European counterparts with a “Hometown Feel, Downtown Appeal” motto.
Corner Café Proves that Irish and Portuguese breakfasts can live together in epicurean harmony. Giant cups o’ joe ensures your caffeinated cravings are quickly met.
Empire Tea &Coffee Students, professionals and hipsters commune at this Broadway hub; some for the coffee, others for bubble tea, some to bury their faces in their laptops, some to community organize, others to play board games. A ton of loose teas are on hand for the anti-java crowd.
The Fifth Element A casual but hip hangout populated by locals, “The Fifth,” as its most often called, offers a somewhat eclectic menu, popular cocktails list (including the savory “Element Martini”) and often times, live music.
Ocean Coffee Roasters In the heart of Washington Square, this spot attracts locals for their morning (and afternoon) caffeine fix.
Mad Hatter Bakery Cupcakes are king at this Broadway bakery across from City Hall. Ethnic favorites too, like Irish soda bread and St. Joseph’s Day Italian zeppoles are worth every calorie.
Perro Salado A cozy, eclectic Mexican cantina set inside an early 18th-century home, each dining space is distinctively imperfect in the warmest way. The snug back bar is the heart of the building with windows open wide in the warmer months and the fire crackles when temperatures drop. It would be a sin to miss the guacamole served with homemade tortilla chips, warm tostones and toasted pipians (pair with their signature spicy cucumber margarita).
Salvation Café A newly renovated, eclectic eatery that is hip and usually hopping. A creative but unpretentious menu will please diverse palates including with ample choices for vegetarians. Don’t be intimidated by a crowded fron; the back is an expansive space with a chic barn feel. Still best known for their pad Thai, creative cocktails and sangria served by the jarful.
The Tavern on Broadway In a newly constructed space formerly occupied by two neighboring businesses, look for classic American dishes in a comfortable setting. Specialty drinks, 20 beers on tap, full wine list, seating for more than 70 and lunch and dinner daily, brunch on Sunday.
White Horse Tavern America’s oldest operating tavern (serving since 1673), this eternally dim nod to colonial architecture boasts exposed beams, clapboard walls, cavernous fireplaces and wide-plank floorboards underfoot. White-linen-dressed tables are illuminated by romantic candlelight; a simple ambiance for rich dishes, including their signature lobster bisque and beef Wellington.
Karma Designer Consignment Boutique How does Dior at a discount sound? Thought so. Find designer duds for a fraction of retail at this upscale boutique. 13 Touro St., Newport, RI 02840, (401) 846-0940
Karol Richardson This London-born designer has a curated collection of clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, and gift items at her Newport boutique including pieces by AG Jeans, Chan Luu, Hobo, Subtle Luxury and more.
Kristina Richards Studio Denim to designer cocktail dresses—think Ella Moss, Alice & Olivia, Hudson, Botkier, Milly, Rebecca Minkoff and Shoshanna.
Hilltop Sophisticated and centrally-located, Hilltop’s room each have their own, individual luxury style with gourmet breakfasts daily. The inn caters to mature clientele as children over 12 years of age are welcome.
Chart House Inn As nautical style meets casual elegance at this circa 1880 inn, if you wake up in the middle of the night, the décor may have you believe you’re out to sea.
photo courtesy of Discover Newport
Upper Thames, Mid-Thames Street & Historic Hill
Brick Alley Pub Synonymous with Newport itself for more than 25 years, BAP or “The Brick,” is about local lore and comfort food. Burgers are king here (with big ‘ol steak fries) and bits of Newport swag from regattas to the US Open to retired street signs and license plates are hoisted and hung across seemingly every inch.
El Perrito The counter-service cousin to Perro Salado, this super-casual BYOB spot is perfect for quick eats when you want something fresh and savory before hitting the town.
Ristorante Lucia Authentic Northern Italian cuisine on popular Thames Street. Two dining rooms offer two different experiences: one oozes authentic trattoria with soft lighting and crisp linens while the other is a casual pizzeria. Both offer the same menu with the same fresh, simple ingredients and ample vegetarian dishes.
Smoke House Barbecue + Summer Cocktails Newly renovated “smoke pit with a sweet side; a New England staple with a nod to the South; an adventurous spirit with a tendency to hang loose.” Mason jar cocktails, craft beers and artisan whiskeys complement a menu packed with handpicked American favorites.
Brick Market Place Four acres of more than two dozen clothing, shoe, jewelry and gift shops. Enough said.
Green Envy Eco-friendly boutique in Brick Market Place that doesn’t skimp on style. Artisan accessories amid colorful, soft, eco-chic clothing for men and women.
Pleasant Surprise Curious and irreverent curios for that person that has everything (because chances are they never received a “crazy cat lady” action figure).
Style Newport Style Newport Jewelry with a nautical twist with sterling, gold and enamel flag charms that are handcrafted in Rhode Island.
The Almondy Inn How does homemade breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese served in a restored Victorian sound? This Inn located on Historic Hill is a stone’s throw away from all the shops, restaurants and attractions that make Newport unique.
Mill Street Inn Centrally-located 19th century mill building-cum-small modern hotel with uncommonly found modern décor including exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings and rooftop patio.
Vanderbilt Grace The widely-praised boutique hotel was originally commissioned by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909 for his mistress Agnes O’Brien Ruiz. Here you’ll find an extraordinary art collection and luxury rooms, a Rooftop Deck perfect for sunset cocktails during the warmer months (and open to the public, so if you’re not staying there you can still partake); a spa for pampering; the Terrace Garden, and the critically-acclaimed restaurant, Muse by Jonathan Cartwright.
photo courtesy of Discover Newport
Lower Thames Street & Ocean Drive
Asterisk Once a service garage with the doors still in place and lifted during warmer months, Asterisk’s adopts a Manhattan-bistro feel with an open kitchen, high ceilings and warm décor. The menu is a mix of land and sea and their experienced bartenders shake a mean espresso martini.
Café Zelda One part sailor’s tavern, three parts semi-formal dining room, and the two areas are equally welcoming. Ever had chicken fried lobster? Here’s your chance.
Scales and Shells No reservations, no credit cards. With its Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant feel, daily specials on the chalkboard and open kitchen, this spot has attracted crowds (on a first-come first-serve) for decades. Landlubbers will be lost in this seafood haven.
Island Outfitters Perpetuating Newport’s preppy persona for men and women with tons of Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Milly, Holebrook, Lacoste and Sperry.
Down Under Jewelry Carries celeb-loving lines including Alexis Bittar, Echo and the Dreamer, Me & Ro, Wendy Mink and more.
Rose Island Lighthouse Ever wanted to fulfill that dream of being a lighthouse keeper? One of the only places in the world you can sleep in a working lighthouse. Stay for the night or stay for the week and work the lighthouse.
Midtown Oyster Bar A new restaurant in a more than a century-old building, here’s you’ll find more than 40 beers, mouth-watering burgers, entrees from land and sea, and as the name implies, a raw bar with oysters from coast to coast. Daily service for lunch, dinner and late-night eats.
Castle Hill Inn & Resort Perched on a private, 40-acre peninsula with panoramic ocean and bay views, this former private mansion offers respite at the inn, a private chalet, and ocean front cottages. No stranger to good press, Castle Hill was voted one of the top hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure, and New York Times called it ‘the best spot in town.’
OceanCliff Once the site of lavish parties and society affairs, this boutique hotel surrounded by 10 rolling acres and overlooking where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here you’ll find 25 plush guestrooms in a mansion setting but with modern conveniences, plus the on-site Safari Restaurant and Lounge.
Bowen’s & Bannister’s Wharves
22 Portside The seasonal outdoor annex to 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille at dock’s edge has an enviable wine list (more than 35 wines by the glass and 650 bottles), light fare and raw bar, but it’s the prime people watching real estate that’s key.
The Black Pearl In the summer, the Pearl’s patio is bustling. Inside, the former sail loft has two dining spaces: the formal Commodore’s Room, and the relaxed tavern, with spindle-back chairs and casual menu.
The Cooke House The epicenter of Newport’s social scene on bustling Bannister’s Wharf, this historic four-story building is situated from the underground up this way: The Boom Boom Room nightclub, the wharf-level Candy Store (a more casual dining space), the Bistro Bar (the main floor of the original house), the Mid-Way (a bar overlooking Bannister’s and Bowen’s wharves, and on the top level, the Sky Bar and adjoining porch (the most elegant of the dining rooms). Peppered with memorabilia of Newport’s era in the America’s Cup spotlight, the Cooke House is a must-visit for your see and be seen lunch or best dressed night out.
Coffee Grinder This tiny outpost sits at the end of Bannister’s Wharf where four-legged friends are as welcome as their human counterparts. Sit on an Adirondack and take it all in or grab and go.
The Cookie Jar This sweet spot on Bannister’s Wharf seems to supernaturally permeate the air around it with the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies daily. 29 Bowens Wharf, Newport, (401) 846-5078
Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen Known for expertly crafted drinks (think: fresh pressed herbs), an unexpectedly delightful wine list and a diverse small and large plates menu. The small but chic third floor lounge may lure you in but the farm to table ingredients, locally harvested shellfish, and classic fare alongside rethought standards will bring you back.
The Mooring A staple on the waterfront, The offers fresh seafood in a casually sophisticated setting. All-stars include the award-winning native scallop chowder and the signature “bag of donuts,” a serving of lightly fried lobster, crab and shrimp fritters with chipotle-maple aioli.
The Wharf Pub Longtime visitors to Newport might recognize the name, but this restaurant on Bannister’s Wharf has a new owner, new menu, and new look. The menu’s creative take on classic pub food includes artisanal pizzas, BBQ pork shoulder mac n’ cheese, four varieties of tater tots served in an iron skillet, fried chicken and waffles and more, plus a raw bar featuring Matunuck Oysters
Alex and Ani Hip jewelry featuring precious metal pieces at every price point—a favorite of celebutants.
Bellevue Beauty Walk Beauty brands, gifts, jewelry—a beautiful girly shop.
Chace ‘n’ Lulu Dresses, tops, skirts, denim, accessories—a pretty palette with smaller lines and a few hot shots including Kate Spade, BCBG and Susana Monaco.
Bannister’s Wharf Guest Rooms What they lack in ambiance they make up for in views. It’s true these simple are decidedly plain but are located directly on the wharf right atop The Coffee Grinder and bustling shops.
Pelham Court Hotel Located directly across from Bowen’s & Bannister’s Wharves, Pelham Court is housed in a renovated (and much expanded) service station, but you’d never know. Baths are stocked with L’Occitane bath and body products and many suites have kitchens.
photo courtesy of Discover Newport
Bellevue Avenue/Memorial Blvd. Area
Jo’s American Bistro This new addition boasts a locally-sourced, farm to table menu in a casual atmosphere with seating for 160 on two-levels, outdoor patio, dinner nightly, small plates, a late night menu and brunch served on Saturday and Sunday.
Katrina’s Bakery Fresh baked goods on famed Bellevue Avenue; can’t go wrong.
Pasta Beach Service can be slow but the freshly prepared Italian dishes, including wood fired pizza, crusty bread, fresh pastas and homemade sauces are worth the wait. Local’s secret: go for lunch when it’s less busy; same menu, less frenzy (the restaurant doesn’t take reservations).
The Apothecary A beauty outpost that is essentially a gal’s dream makeup counter: Bare Escentuals anchors the shop but Stila, Mario Badescu skin care and MD Skincare are at your fingertips, plus airbrush tanning, massage, waxing, facials, etc.
ArchBeauty Skin Care Salon You had us at Brow Bar. With a full menu of full-service treatments for men and women including facials, waxing, makeup applications, bridal parties and brow design/eyebrow shaping, it’s clear ArchBeauty focuses on skin care services and products to promote skin health. Retail lines include G.M. Collin, Stila, SkinCeuticals, Smashbox, and more.
Isoude The boutique studio of couture designer Kate Brierley featuring exquisite cocktail ensembles, formal gowns, skirts, tops and more.
The Linen Shop A staple on posh Bellevue Avenue with luxurious bedding and bath linens, home accessories and ever-so-stunning window displays.
Laura Jean Denim A denim den for men and women carrying well known lines including Hudson, Joe’s, Paige, AG, Citizens of Humanity and more plus Luchesse and Frye boots.
Michael Hayes Duds for the discerning shopper. Gala gowns to day wear with upscale designers including Tory Burch, Sue Wong and Missoni.
Sara Campbell The eponymously named shop under the direction of the Boston-based designer offers crisp, classic silhouettes for fashionistas of all ages.
Sequin With two locations on Bellevue avenue and a third on Lower Thames Street, Sequin ensures no girl has to go without bling. This New York-based jewelry studio designsband manufactures their own brand of affordable jewelry as well as private label collections for a variety of major retailers and fashion designers.
Rib & Rhein Manhattan chic meets St. Tropez boutique with two floors of clothing, shoes, accessories coffee table books, international pieces, glassware and things you never know you needed but must have.
Wag Nation Every dog has its day here with cashmere sweaters, foul weather gear, leashes and collars to suit any furry friend’s personality, top shelf pet food and treats, pillowy doggie beds—pawsitively precious.
Wish An upscale resale shop with big names and little hassle. Tory Burch, Chanel, Givenchy, Lilly Pulitzer–a treasure trove of fashionable finds.
Farmaesthetics Locally made, globally praised 100% natural handcrafted herbal skincare for face and body born from traditional herbal recipes by founder Brenda Brock’s “kitchen chemistry.”
The Chanler at Cliff Walk A luxurious seaside “mansion retreat” living up to its well-earned reputation. Also home to the highly-lauded Spiced Pear restaurant (but the best way to enjoy this locale might just be on The Veranda, where you and wine and dine in the salty ocean air.
Hotel Viking Since 1926, the Viking has been considered “the” place to stay in Newport, which is why the Kennedys, members of the Vanderbilt family, famed musicians and Hollywood hotshots have stayed at the historic hotel on the hill (or perhaps it’s the traditional English afternoon tea and rooftop bar).
Cliff Walk A 3.5-mile walk, some paved, some rougher terrain, along the coastline. By far one of the must-dos in Newport, and a great vantage point to see the mansions.
Newport Mansions The Gilded Age elite with names like Vanderbilt and Astor made Newport their playground and built their seasonal “cottages” that today lure millions to Newport. Owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County, seeing one or two in a visit (definitely The Breakers) will leave you looking forward to more.
Newport Art Museum Home to the oldest art association in the country, this National Historic Landmark keeps things interesting with painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media exhibits in addition to their permanent collection.
Aquidneck Lobster Company At the end of Bowen’s Wharf, see where the day’s catch is off loaded and pick out a lobster to bring home for dinner. Go a little further and you’ll be in the Aquidneck Lobster Bar for some good casual eats—fresh off the boat.
Ocean Drive Just as it sounds, this 10-mile winding road traces the coast and weaves through some of the most stunning views (and addresses) in Newport.
Rough Point One of the many homes of “the richest little girl in the world,” billionairess Doris Duke summered at this jaw-dropping estate for much of her adult life. A gallery inside the home brings exhibits including an intimate peek at everything from her haute couture collections to fine furnishings.
The Redwood Library and Athenæum is the oldest lending library in America, and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country. More than just a sanctum of literature, the library is alive with bibliophiles and the casual readers alike.
The Jane Pickens Theater What started out as a church in 1834 is today a single-screen theater and event center showing everything from major motion pictures to less-known independents resplendent with century old detailing and gourmet concessions (cappuccino, cabernet or chocolate, anyone?)
The International Tennis Hall of Fame At the 1880 Newport Casino, the museum’s galleries chronicle the history of tennis exhibits, video, and classic memorabilia from historic champions and today.
Saint Mary’s Church Best known for setting the social columns aflutter when on Sept. 12, 1953 wedding of Newport summer resident Jacqueline Bouvier to the junior senator from neighboring Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Vineyards Coastal temperatures yield savory grapes in this region and thus, three vineyards in the area: Newport Vineyards, Greenval Vineyards and Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in bucolic Little Compton.
Touro Synagogue A Newport landmark since 1763, Touro is the nation’s oldest synagogue building and played a vital role during the American Revolution.
12 Meter Charters and America’s Cup Charters Sail aboard one of the legendary America’s Cup yachts in this prestigious fleet (the contenders aren’t too shabby either). Raise a sail, grind a winch or simply sit back and let the crew do it all for you.
Rum Runner Built in 1929 during the height of Prohibition, the motor yacht was once once used to smuggle cases of scotch and whisky but today leisurely cruises Newport Harbor for the best views of the city.
Madeleine Sail through Newport Harbor at sunset on Narragansett Bay aboard the classic sailing yacht Madeleine, a 72-foot schooner. The ship maintains 19th century sailboat style with 21st century sailing yacht comfort and convenience—ideal for champagne sipping.
Newport Folk Festival Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger and in more recent years, the Cowboy Junkies, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffett, The Black Crowes, The Lumineers and Avett Brothers have added this defining festival to their resume. Traditionally held the last weekend of July at Fort Adams State Park overlooking Newport Harbor.
Newport Jazz Festival Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra, even rock groups Led Zepplin and The Allman Brothers have graced the stage thanks in part to festival founder and organizer since 1954, George Wein.
Great Chowder Cook-Off “Chowda” is taken seriously in these parts, which is why chefs from around the country (even an international entry or two) look to earn their stripes, and crowd loyalty, in this traditional chowder competition.
newportFILM Documentaries and shorts in unique locales that look to inspire, motivate, entertain and create change.
Newport International Boat Show Four days and fifteen acres of more than 750 new powerboats and sailboats create this largest in-water boat show in the northeast (fourth largest in the country).
Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival A weekend for epicureans and oenophiles with events and tastings at some of the most spectacular milieus in the city.
Christmas in Newport A month-long celebration of all things Christmas with everything from a traditional plum pudding stir to Santa’s arrival by boat to performances of the Nutcracker at a mansion to rides aboard the Polar Express. Events, including lantern tours, tree lightings, and concerts, appeal to adults, children and everyone in between.
International Oktoberfest Biergartens, bratwurst, and Bavarian music are the staples of this festive weekend. Take in two stages with live music, international food (including a visit from the world’s largest grill cooking up many things that end in –wurst), plenty of beers and the ubiquitous yodeling competition.
Newport Flower Show Set in early summer at Rosecliff, see horticultural specimens and floral designs, special garden exhibitions, take in lectures and demonstrations, and shop the Oceanside Marketplace.
Sunset Music Series Held throughout the summer under the waterfront tent with nationally-acclaimed artists playing a variety of music.