Riff Raff Is One Of Rhode Island’s Best Kept Secrets

Hello hello! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted (or five months, but hey who’s counting?) (My anxiety, that’s who). But nevertheless, I am back and more consistent than ever, with brand new reviews planned out! Starting this month, I’ll be doing monthly highlights of local bookstores and museums, both at home and when I travel! I do have some housekeeping, but I’ll save that for the end. First, I need to talk about Riff Raff.

Riff Raff Bookstore and Bar is, first of all, the greatest idea for a bookstore ever. Located in the courtyard at 60 Valley Street in Providence, RI, it’s easy to miss at first. My first time visiting the shop, I drove a block too far and wound up parking in a lot down an adjacent street, then searched for signs pointing me in the right direction upon getting to the old mill building. At last I found the courtyard, where Riff Raff sat to the right, and I immediately fell in love.

The courtyard is an open space with some metal patio furniture spread out to create comfortable seating areas outside of the various establishments whose entrances are in the square. The walls, a distressed brick that really adds to the old charm of the building at large, are adorned with string lights that are beautifully charming when lit up at night. Riff Raff utilizes the space for movie viewings, the details of which are posted inside the shop.

Upon entering, customers walk down a small set of stairs into a quaint bookshop. Fiction works are along the left and back walls, while nonfiction works are displayed in the shelves to the right that act as a barrier between the bookstore and the bar area. In the middle of the room are three tables, full of various titles of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It’s a small store, and I’ve never seen more than two people working at a time, but everyone is always friendly and willing to help. They offer a punch card program where, after five book purchases, you earn a free coffee or tea. I’ve yet to order from the cafe menu, but the alcohol menu is incredible.

The bar offers wine, beer, and cocktails. When I went one night – my second or third trip to the shop – my friend and I both ordered a no. 5, “gin, crème yvette, lavender liqueur, blackberry liqueur, lemon.” It sounded delicious and honestly, it was. My only qualm with the drink was how strong it was; it was a Wednesday night and I had to drive home and go to work the next morning, so I gave the rest of my drink to my friend. After her drink and about half of mine, I was afraid I might have to carry her back to the car. At $10 a glass, you definitely get your money’s worth out of their bar selection!

All in all, Riff Raff has become one of my favorite spots in Providence. I definitely plan to visit them again soon, utilizing their cafe and outdoor seating for some study sessions, revisions, or just to sit and read a brand new book with a nice hot coffee or a cool gin.


Housekeeping

For those of you who followed me before, you might have noticed that my name has changed! I went through a whole rebranding crisis because my old blog name just didn’t feel right anymore, and after several days of unnecessary panic, my loving fiance helped me come up with this new name that is both indicative of the content I’ll be posting, and also a fun name pun, sort of.

In addition to this new rebranding, I have added a Patreon! I’ll be posting here a lot more consistently in the coming months – I’ve planned out content to get me through the end of the year, including the tried and true Book Reviews, as well as Museum Highlights and Bookstore Highlights which, hey, is what you just read! This is all in an effort to find creative ways to process the things that really make up my aesthetic/personality/etc. (books and museums, obv) while also preventing me from having a nervous breakdown because holy shit I’m doing a Masters and working still and I do not have as much time to read as I would have liked. I’ve added the Patreon to help out on the working front, though. Obviously it’s much easier to read books, visit museums and buy from local bookstores when you a) have money and b) are not stressed about paying bills, so if you’d like to support me in this endeavor check out the Support tab on the menu above!

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