Mayor Joseph Polisena stopped by the Anchor and Crown Tavern on Friday, Feb. 24, to congratulate owner Richard Crabtree on his newly opened business, and to read him a citation from the town. Insider photo by Beth Hurd
English native opens Crown & Anchor Tavern
February 29, 2012
By BETH HURD
A restaurant and tavern, most recently The Rhode Island Ale House and Players Pub, has reopened under a new name by a new owner who hopes to attract former customers of past establishments as well as new ones.
Richard Crabtree, a native of Birmingham, England – now a Providence resident – has opened The Crown & Anchor Tavern at 1200 Hartford Ave.
It is his first business, although he’s previously worked at and managed other taverns and restaurants. He opened the Johnston location in December.
“It’s the first time I’ve every owned one, but I’ve managed several,” he said in his deep, English accent on Friday, Feb. 24.
He has also worked as a teacher, and lived in Bermuda for three years. It was there he met his wife, who now works in Providence as a therapist for children with autism.
The new name and logo of the restaurant and tavern is symbolic – the crown represents England, the anchor represents Rhode Island. But the name is also a popular dice game in Bermuda, and the name of a historic pub in England.
“It’s a traditional English pub name, also a game,” he explained to Mayor Joseph Polisena, who stopped by to officially welcome Crabtree to the town with a citation.
\Although Crabtree looked at other locations, he liked the Johnston location on Route 6 – busy Hartford Avenue – with easy highway access and plenty of parking.
“It’s nearby, in Providence, where we live; we wanted to be on this side of Providence," Crabtree said. "It’s a great location, and there’s additional parking next door after 9 p.m.”
He, naturally, put his own twist on the decor.
“It’s all vintage drink signs,” Crabtree said, pointing out the art he chose for the walls. “Structurally, I didn’t make many changes, but I did re-decorate.”
Crabtree’s parents plan to visit from England to see their son’s tavern.
The tavern offers a variety of entertainment, including karaoke on Friday nights at 9 p.m. and live entertainment on Saturday evenings, as well as drink specials, and has a full kitchen; the menu features burgers.
“Everything I can make fresh and in-house I do,” said Crabtree, who has been also doing the cooking. “We still have a large selection of craft, domestic and imported beers, but also have a wide variety of liquors.”
A favorite event is weekly beer tasting featuring the craft beers: 10 beers for $10.
The tavern will offer Irish specialties for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, including Jameson’s and Guinness.
“I think we might be the only location around that has Guinness on draft – we always have it on draft. We find Guinness drinkers want Guinness,” he said.
The tavern also features a pool table and dartboard, for which league teams are being sought.
“We’ll be looking for darts teams and a pool league,” Crabtree said.
The menu will change seasonally and for special events and holidays, but one standard is shepherd’s pie.
“That’s on there [because] it’s my favorite thing to eat,” he said.
Other events include open mic comedy nights each Thursday, hosted by Mike Murray, “The Deaf Comic.”
Crabtree has partnered with other local businesses, and plans to do more of the same in coming months. The Crown & Anchor hosted Haley’s Show for Kids, a comedy fundraiser for Hasbro Children’s Hospital on Feb. 4, and held its first Ladies Night, featuring local deejay D.J. Spinners (alias Marcel Lavallee of Affordable DJ Service), on Saturday, Feb. 26.
A future fundraiser with another local business owner is currently being planned.
The tavern will also host John Perrotta’s Comedy Factory for a comedy night on Saturday, March 31, featuring “Rhode Island’s funniest female comedian” – Coleen Galvin – and other top comics Eddie Galvin and Mike Babalato, as well as seven others.