Thank You Local 121

We did not mean to let pass without notice the closing of pioneering restaurant/bar Local 121 where last weekend friends and longtime habitués gathered for one last hurrah. Back in 2007, insanely energetic hospitality visionaries, Josh and Nancy Miller, took over the former Dreyfus Hotel, reviving the restaurant and restoring the gorgeous Tap Room interior. It was in December of that year, in that very barroom, that The Providence Daily Dose threw its launch party.

Rob Duguay of Vanyaland has a great piece, “Local 121: Tiny, Weird Things Remembered,” covering, among other things, how the local D.J. scene emerged from this unlikely venue, thanks to Bryan Minto.

At the time, Minto was a manager at the restaurant, which became the first anchor tenant in AS220’s mixed-use Dreyfus project at 121 Washington St. in May of that year. He saw what others did in the new venture: the potential for a highly successful restaurant. But with Local’s business tapering off after the dinner crowd cleared out, he knew it needed a fresh approach to grow.

Drawing inspiration from a favorite haunt of his, the Elephant Room in Cambridge, Minto went to owners Nancy and Josh Miller with a plan: putting DJs in the restaurant’s bar room seven nights a week.

And it worked. Minto then developed the downstairs Speakeasy featuring live performers (and also where some of us watched the first Obama inauguration).

I have no idea how Josh Miller does what he does — I consider myself over-scheduled if have to buy stamps on my way home from the dentist. But in his spare time (ha ha) Josh is the state senator representing Cranston District 28, and year after year he has been working to reform the marijuana laws in this state. (A few years ago possession of small amounts was decriminalized. This session, he and Rep. Scott Slater have reintroduced legislation to tax and regulate it.) I have testified in support of his bills for several years now, and I can tell you Josh Miller is the type of person we need more of in the state house, and you can help keep him there. A reception in support of Josh Miller will be held March 28 at Twin Oaks. Or go here to donate to this campaign.

So thank you Josh and Nancy for the all the fun years hanging and eating at Local 121, the Tap Room, and the Speakeasy. You are really good at what you do.


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