Owners of The Strand taking over Whiskey Republic

The Whiskey Republic remains closed temporarily_549771

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The owners of The Strand Ballroom say they’ve bought the Whiskey Republic, a Providence waterfront bar on the Fox Point marina.

Garry Williams and Frank Manfredi Jr., business partners at the Rosendale Group who turned Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel into The Strand, said they officially took over the Whiskey Republic’s lease on Jan. 1.

Despite his own social media post declaring “The return of Fish Co.,” Williams would not say whether the two plan to give the bar its old name back. But he did say a “re-branding” would take place over the course of several months, which could include a new name.

“I think we’re gonna follow the same process as when we purchased Lupo’s,” Williams said in a telephone interview. “Go in there, assess their company as it is now, fix it internally.”

“There’s always a possibly that Fish Company could be the name again,” Williams said. He said he got his first job at that bar back in 1998, long before the venue became the Whiskey Republic.

Williams said the goal is to draw a young professional crowd to the venue, which is next to Tel Aviv cigar bar and two doors down from Hot Club, a popular outdoor spot on the marina.

“I think it needs some fresh air, it needs some energy,” Williams said. “And I think we want to bring back some live music, some bands, really utilizing that deck outside with the good weather.”

He noted that many people have shied away from the bar because of its cover charge, and said he wanted to change the establishment’s reputation as a college bar or nightclub.

Whiskey Republic has been cited in the past for underage drinking, and was briefly closed following a brawl outside in 2017.

Manfredi said the bar will be part of the portfolio of the Rosendale Group, which also includes The Strand, the Rosendale and Studio Lounge in Providence. The hospitality group also books concerts including at Foxwoods Resort and Casino.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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