This is a pretty swanky trailer park. . . do you come here often?
An animated, virtual fish tank fills a large screen TV, just to the right of the bar, rather than your typical sports updates, political ranting or Fox News. To the left of the bar, psychedelic cats are doing disco and playing the electric keyboard, under a colorful laser light show, on a continuous loop.
This is Ogie’s Trailer Park, in Providence, RI. It’s not the atmosphere you’d expect at every trailer park, although Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is playing in the bathroom, and a sign reads “What would Dolly Do?” The pulsing lava lamps, retro blue bar stools, and cocktail menu bring to mind upper middle class company parties, where cigarette smoke fills the bar, and eligible bachelors are checking out the tight miniskirt on the cranky old boss’ young wife.
Outside, the 1960s, campy atmosphere comes to life, with vintage metal patio furniture, twinkling party lights, and faux grass. Sticking with the retro theme, there’s a Tiki Bar, where you can order a Mai Tai, Tequila Sunrise, or Zombie, and relax under retractable awnings that hang from the roofs of classic campers.
The outside of the building, which I suspect may have once been a gas station, is decorated in a white and pale blue tile.
I grab a drink from the “66 AmeriCans of Beer (and Guinness)” beer menu. The hipsters have brought numerous IPAs from California and Maine, which are joined by Angry Orchard Cider from Ohio, and Kona Brewing Longboard from Hawaii. Wisconsin is well represented, with Milwaukee’s Best, PBR, Old Milwaukee and Miller’s Genuine Draft, High Life and Miller Light. A 16 oz can of Brooklyn Lager, and Rhode Island’s Foolproof brews, remind me that I’m out east.
Back inside, the retro décor at Ogie’s, together with the loud music, creates a fun party atmosphere. It’s Happy Hour, so young professionals of Providence are on site. If you’re hungry, you can place your order at. . . well, the open window of a trailer, which encloses the kitchen. The sign next to the window reads “Granny Boo’s Kitchen”, but three beards are in the kitchen, serving up chili-loaded tots, veggie burgers, and the daily special of blueberry pancakes.
A diverse crowd is drawn to the bar and restaurant on the weekends, when Sunday brunch is served. I’m told there is a consistently packed house, enjoying live music and good eats.
Instead of handing you a buzzer that lights up when your food is ready, you are presented with a tiny license plate on a tall table stand. The cashier hands me Massachusetts, and Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire are across the room. The names of the states are called over a crackly intercom – “Now serving West Virginia!” – and diners make a run up to the window to collect their food.
With the chaos of the Happy Hour crowd, and music turned up loud, it sounds a bit like I’m at the state fair, with seasoned callers announcing winners at games of chance . . . except, when orders include those tater tots, everyone’s a winner at Ogie’s Trailer Park! It’s a challenge to make out what is being announced. The lumberjack at the table next to me remains in good spirits, as he makes his third (and finally successful) trip to pick up his table’s order, returning with a smile. . . and a large helping of tater tots, dusted with signature seasoning.
The sensory stimulation is a bit overwhelming, but everyone seems to be having a great time! I wouldn’t bat an eyelash if Austin Powers swaggered up to the bar, in a pair of rainbow bellbottoms, and bought a round of drinks for all the pretty ladies seated on high stools, all spinning and vinyl, and retro blue.
This trendy establishment is essentially a food truck. . . inside a flashy, well-stocked bar. This might make you questions the quality of the food, but instead I think it will raise your expectations of what can be served from the next food truck you consider driving past. Admittedly, at least in the Midwest, the expectations for food truck fare have exploded, with food truck “food courts”, food truck festivals, and food truck cook-offs. It’s competitive out there, and restaurants on wheels can turn out some surprising, and tasty, treats.
“But who is Ogie? And why is the bar named after him or her? Ogie is the Beckers three-year-old cat (“the baby!”), named after Dan’s legendary uncle.” (The Dish; Note: Ogie the cat is now five years.)
That explains the fish tank and disco cats! The cats continue to dance to the beat of the overhead music, paws raised to the sky in concert style, and laser lights flashing. A particularly intense cat shoots lasers at the disco ball, and silver remnants raid down on the crowd of partying felines.
There are framed prints of crazy cats on the wall in the bathroom, having a good time and spilling all over the frame. Take a second look, and you’ll see that all over the restaurant and bar are cats in the artwork, many of the pieces in the style of famous works of art, including an homage to Andy Warhol.
Glancing up, I notice that more folks are crowded around the bar, as the fish tank has switched over to one of the sports channels. It’s getting dark outside, and the bar gets darker and darker, but the lights don’t adjust. Folks are seated around atmospheric retro lights, and candles that appear on the bar top. In the front corner of the bar, I’m seated in a small lounge area, with faux leather, puckered couches, and kitschy lamps.
It’s not patio season yet, so it’s time to finish my beer and head out.
Join me on my next adventure,
Ogie’s Trailer Park: http://www.ogiestrailerpark.com/
Granny Boo’s Kitchen: http://www.ogiestrailerpark.com/granny-boos/
Ogie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ogiestrailerpark/
Dolly Parton’s Jolene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGEubdH8m0s