We happened on the Wharf Pub in Newport one chilly winter afternoon, not having been there before. It’s always good to hit unfamiliar spots in places you know, and for decent pub fare on a cold day, Wharf Pub’s a worthy alternative.
For one thing, they have a killer drink menu. When we visited, the Pub was about to finally get its full liquor license, but until then were making do with some pretty creative alternatives, using its variety of craft and other beers, as well as sake to do so. We had a couple of Rising Sun Bloody Mary drinks, made with Sakeomoto sake, house-made spicy Bloody Mary mix, Sriracha, Cocchi vermouth and fresh citrus, served with a giant shrimp, prosciutto-wrapped Shisito pepper and a house-pickled green bean, a powerful and unusual brew for $11.
We also went with the onion soup, but found it lacking in abundant cheese (it seemed to have been an afterthought) and suffering from a thin broth and not a lot of actual onion. But the tater tot options are plenty, varied and delicious, which our very friendly server Molly rightfully raved about. We went with the truffle tots, crispy potato creations with herbs, black pepper and truffle oil, served with a dip of black garlic crema, a pretty hefty dish for $8. Other tot options include “The Pig Pen” (think bacon) and pizza tots.
We also went with an order of steamed mussels, which were large and juicy, served in a tomato broth, for $8.50, and a wedge salad, a fairly substantial wedge of iceberg lettuce for $10 with an interesting and tasty mix of fried prosciutto, house-made blue-cheese dressing, pickled egg, and crispy buttermilk-fried onions.
We also tried one item from the expansive burger menu, the Yo Mama, with local grass-fed beef topped with juicy bacon tomato, lettuce, house-made mayo, white onion and locally made peanut butter. The latter surprised us, mostly with how good it is on a burger, all for a somewhat pricey $14.50, though it did come with truly delicious fries served in a tiny fry basket.
One thing to note: the Wharf Pub has a separate gluten-free menu, always nice to find, and much of what’s on the regular menu is included. They also have live music on weekends, open-mic night on Tuesdays, and a variety of specials, including its “Mom’s Meatloaf Night,” which as about as warming and welcoming as it gets in the middle of winter, or any time of year for that matter.
Overall, Wharf Pub, with its dark and woody ambience, toasty feel and reasonably priced pub fare, is a great warming option in chilly Newport.
For more information, visit www.wharfpubnewport.com
Photos by Paul E. Kandarian