Maybe we shouldn’t get all sentimental about a bar, but c’man, TOTT was great.
I won’t pretend to be a TOTTer from way back, because I’m not. There are plenty of people who could tell some great stories about this place, and Sunday nights Mike Kelly and Jamie behind the bar and the Colonel spinning rockabilly, tiki, lounge, and punk favorites just couldn’t be beat.
The bar itself had character and characters. The crowd was different almost every night of the week. Walnut and oak lined the walls, and there was a series of photos from the Hurricane of ’38 over by the pool table arranged into the letters TOTT. When it was packed, you could hardly move, and when it was empty, maybe you were too intimidated to go in.
The bar relocated to the end of Atwells Avenue, past Lilies but not into Eagle Square (right on the edge)... but part of the charm of this dive was its prime location right downtown. As more and more places go upscale, or get demolished for another hotel like this one, we will lose more and more of the establishments who were able to stick it out through the rough 80’s, but for whatever reason, can’t hold on during the new boom period. Will the establishments that replace them be able to hold on if Providence goes through another bust?
Jeffrey Allcock Sep 16 2015 I remember the first Cuban Revolution and Talk of The Town in this building. I never went into the latter, which I regret now because it was such a landmark downtown. And I’ll always remember New Japan as the place where me and my actor-boyfriend at the time had the best bowl ever of fish soup, after one of his performances at Trinity. I never understood why this building with thriving businesses was demolished. Today it’s a parking lot.
Truly a lost Providence. Nothing but greed could have motivated demolishing this building for the parking lot of a boutique hotel — which used to be a strip joint/hotel. Providence has been scrubbed of everything that was edgy and interesting. Today it’s mummified.
gregory banks April 17 2008 i can going in to the bar in the late ’80 and early ’90 when was a kid. i used to shoeshine downtown. i walk down to the bars to make money. Some people today remember someone going in there to shine shoes. i remember going to shine St patty’s day and always busy on tha day
Erik George and Nancy (the owners) were great people and were always on hand for a laugh and a good time. Place had an eclectic crowd as there could be. Bums drinking the $1.25 drafts during the day, then the working class crowd that came through from 5-7 PM and then the evening crowd that came by afterward that could be anyone and everyone from PC alum to Briuns fans to the local crowd having a few pops before the clubs got rocking. Me, I think I fell into almost every one of those crowds from time to time and enjoyed the place immensely. The charm of Providence was (and I use the term “was” purposely) these little friendly places, and not the sanitized corporate operations where the bar tender is usually older than you are and he doesn’t speak to you unless he’s checking your ID, asking you to leave, or telling you how much your drink order was.
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