J.G. Goff’s Pub

A lovely little pub that we never had to pleasure of visiting. Construction on a 3 mile sewer project damaged the foundations beyond repair.

About this Property

#Reason for Demolition

From The Supreme Court of RI Archives — The FREE & Clear Company v. The NARRAGANSETT BAY COMMISSION et al.

Founded in 1993, the J.G. Goff’s Pub (J.G. Goff’s or pub) was a small tavern overlooking the Providence River and the Point Street Bridge in Providence. The pub was located in a freestanding historic brick building at the Davol Square Complex. Styling itself as “the neighborhood pub that’s not in the neighborhood,” J.G. Goff’s was a favorite destination among patrons on the way home from their downtown offices and the nearby hospitals, as well as university students and families.

J.G. Goff’s was formed, owned, and operated by Free & Clear, an “S” corporation1 that originally was held jointly by Robert Freeman, Jr. (Freeman) and Stephen Cleary (Cleary). In addition to his ownership interest in Free & Clear, Cleary owned the real estate management company that managed the Davol Square Complex until the late 1990s. Freeman, who sold Cleary his interest in Free & Clear in 1998, was the son of the then-owner of the Davol Square Jewelry Mart, LLC (Davol Square). The building that housed the pub (Goff Building) was owned by Davol Square.

The pub did not open for business on December 9, 2003, and it has not served another customer since that date. Two days later, on December 11, the Building Inspector for the City of Providence declared that the building was unsafe for occupancy and use.

Excerpted from Caser Law Archives

#Current Events

The area where this building once stood is now home to River House.


Haven’t been able to find any. Could this have been a building “study’ for the larger Davol Square (Davol Rubber Company)? Its 1820 build date would say that no, it came before the nearby rubber company by 60 years — the Davol buildings were constructed between 1880 and 1913.

In 2020, we am no longer sure where the 1820 build date came from. The Wikipedia page for Davol Square cites our page as a resource, so, we guess it must be true.

Local legend, bar owner, and bartender John “JR” Richard used to tend at JG Goff’s. Known more recently as the owner of The Avery in Loungo Square, West Side, and the PTX Lounge in Pawtucket Village, Cranston.

#In the News

J.G. Goff’s Pub On Point Street Was Condemned And Is Considered To Be A Safety Hazard

By Karen Davis
Providence Journal | December 3, 2004 (abridged)

City officials have approved a proposal to demolish a historic building that was damaged by contractors working on the Narragansett Bay Commission’s combined sewage overflow tunnel last year. The building, which formerly housed J.G. Goff’s Pub, at 7 Point St., was closed last December after work on the multimillion dollar sewer project damaged the brick tavern’s foundation and walls.

The building is owned by Davol Square Jewelrymart, LLC. Richard Jaffe, of Davol Square, said his company has made several appeals to the Bay Commission to try to get the building repaired. A support system that holds up the building extends over the sidewalk and into one lane of traffic on Point Street, and it has been in place for the last year.

After receiving no response from the Bay Commission, the company went to the Historic District Commission to ask for a demolition permit that they are prepared to use if they are unable to get the Bay Commission to make repairs. The company plans to approach the commission one more time in an effort to get the building repaired.

Rent on the building has not been paid since last December.

On Nov. 22, the seven-member Historic District Commission approved a recommendation that the building be demolished, according to officials in the city Department of Planning & Development. The decision was based on an assessment that the building’s foundation was heavily damaged and three of the four sides of the small tavern were unstable and needed artificial supports.

Vibrations were what damaged the building. Contractors had been working in the area since March 2003 to lay the foundation for a three-mile tunnel that will ultimately contain storm water and untreated sewage to keep it from draining into Narragansett Bay. Last fall, workers drove piles into the ground about 10 to 15 feet away from the tavern as a stabilization measure. Bay Commission officials said they believe that driving the piles into the silty soil beneath the riverside tavern caused vibrations that led to cracks in the building. Contractors noticed cracks in the south side of the tavern’s brick wall and alerted authorities, who had the building inspected. A private inspector and city building inspector discovered additional cracks in the foundation, authorities have said. The Bay Commission immediately had contractors install wood and steel supports to help shore up the building.

The building is considered historic because of its location – on the edge of the city’s Jewelry District.