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About this Property
This former warehouse was first (?) converted to non-industrial use in the early 1990s. The first tenant was a jazz supper club called TriBeCa, a New York-style pasta restaurant with live entertainment. Opened in 19931, the restaurant enjoyed some success for a short time, lasting until the spring of 1996.
The next tenant was a nightclub called Jezebel’s. Local music scene mentions of this club start as early as September 19962, and local college alternative radio station WBRU hosted their Rock Hunt concert series here. It might have been short-lived, because the Providence Journal only mentions them three times and all in the fall of 1996.
The first mention we found of Art Bar was from a Police Report in 2002. Art Bar seems to have been (might still be) a night club and bar open until 2am.
There were other businesses located in this building as well, on the second floor most likely. A local start up called Tracelytics listed this address as their home base before moving to Boston. A design company was rooted here in the mid-to-late 2000s — we forget their name — and rumor had it that they had a little half pipe skate ramp in their space that used leftover parts and surface material from the Gravity Games (held in the late 90s and early 2000s). Youth Pride started using this location as a drop-in center in 2006.3
Some of the latest coverage of Art Bar involved a shooting in 20184, and then any mention in the archives stops at 2019.
We were on the fence about placing this building on the #NotInRuins or the #UrbanDecay list. We decided upon the #NotInRuins list because the building seems to be getting some use and some maintenance. Its not crumbling, but its not in a completely restored state either. Almost all of the windows on the first floor are painted over, and from social media photos, it looks like they are blocked and covered over on the inside. A late-20th-century parapet “cap” sits across the top of the façade wall, looking like a leftover from an early modernization of the façade.
In short, its a nice building but also highly altered and lacking any ornamentation or unique historic qualities. In such a hot real estate market in a very hot part of town, we’d would not be surprised if it and the large parking lot next door were’t redeveloped into some sort of high-rise apartment building like had been proposed for some nearby lots.
Its difficult to tell whether or not they are open without staking out in front of their building on a Friday night. Google says they have open hours, Trip Advisor lists them as permanently closed, and other places say they are open but the most recent event they list is from 2019. The latest Instagram posts with a related hashtag are a year old. Your guess is as good as ours.
From the National Register nomination form for the Providence Jewelry Manufacturing Historic District, 2012 (Boundary Increase)
171 Chestnut Street — Providence Wholesale Drug Company Warehouse (1924). This is a two-story, brick industrial building with significant alterations to the appearance of the façade. On this elevation, the large windows originally filled with multi-pane industrial steel sash now have modern fixed 3-light aluminum sash. The central entrance has a replacement glass and aluminum door. The original garage door opening has been filled in with a recessed pedestrian entrance double glass and metal doors. An original parapet has been sheathed in sheet metal. The north and south elevations retain significant evidence of original fenestration. Original 24-light industrial steel sash with 8-light hoppers survive on the ground floor of the north and west elevations. The glass on these ground level windows has been painted red.
#In the News
DINING OUT: New gem in the Jewelry District New Yorkers’ soups, sauces and sautes are splendid
by Donald D. Breed
Providence Journal | October 1, 1993 (abridged)
Please spare Joe Ferlise any talk about the Yankees. “I’ve stopped torturing myself,’ says this transplanted New Yorker, who came up two years ago with his Rhode Island-bred wife.
They brought some of Manhattan with them, though. It’s TriBeCa, a restaurant in the Jewelry District that’s named after the section of New York where they used to live in a loft. (TriBeCa means Triangle Below Canal, and is bounded by Broadway, the West Side Highway, Canal Street on the north, the World Trade Center on the south. North of Canal is SoHo.)
Located in a former factory supply house, Rhode Island’s TriBeCa has a wide-open see-and-be-seen layout, a raised platform for entertainers and a long bar on one side. Old photos and maps of lower Manhattan are on the walls of the dining area, photos of famous jazz musicians over the bar, and original works by Rhode Island artists in prominent display spots.
It opened May 3.
Ferlise, 38, is a partner with his sister-in-law, Rachel Rafaelian, a Johnson & Wales graduate. His domain is the front of the house, hers is the kitchen, but the title of chef belongs to David Zanoni, who formerly was sous chef at Capriccio.
The menu was a joint effort. “We wanted it to be mostly a saute house,” Ferlise said, because greasy food is “going out of style.” Indeed, there are plenty of saute dishes - beef, chicken, veal and seafood - of which one is what Ferlise calls “our signature dish,” Filet Mignon TriBeCa in which the filet is sauteed with lobster meat, fresh mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, finished in a pink brandy cream sauce. […]
BREED, DONALD D.. “DINING OUT New gem in the Jewelry District New Yorkers’ soups, sauces and sautes are splendid.” Providence Journal (RI), ALL ed., sec. LIFEBEAT/WEEKEND, 1 Oct. 1993, pp. D-04. NewsBank: America’s News, https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=NewsBank&t=custom%3ACustBucket1!Providence%2BJournal%2BCollection&docref=news/15252399C190A280. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.
SMITH, ANDY. “Band Spotlight Local band plays blues, ‘the best music’.” Providence Journal (RI), ALL ed., sec. LIFEBEAT, 30 Sept. 1996, pp. F-01. NewsBank: America’s News, https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info%3Asid/infoweb.newsbank.com&svc_dat=NewsBank&req_dat=D4BD6B42F1AB4706B5E1244D477DEE03&rft_val_format=info%3Aofi/fmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx&rft_dat=document_id%3Anews/15251FED2E69CE30. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023. ↩
CROWLEY, CATHLEEN F.. “Youth Pride will move to new digs on Chestnut.” Providence Journal (RI), Metro ed., sec. News, 22 June 2006, pp. C-03. NewsBank: America‘s News, https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info%3Asid/infoweb.newsbank.com&svc_dat=NewsBank&req_dat=D4BD6B42F1AB4706B5E1244D477DEE03&rft_val_format=info%3Aofi/fmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx&rft_dat=document_id%3Anews/1524285992B43D10. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023. ↩
Staff, Journal. “Providence Art Bar remains closed after shooting.” Providence Journal (RI), sec. RI News, 5 Nov. 2018, p. A2. NewsBank: America‘s News, https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info%3Asid/infoweb.newsbank.com&svc_dat=NewsBank&req_dat=D4BD6B42F1AB4706B5E1244D477DEE03&rft_val_format=info%3Aofi/fmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx&rft_dat=document_id%3Anews/16F846301B39D940. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023. ↩