If drinking gin is about community, then Paddy’s Beach Club in Westerly, Rhode Island has it down to a science. Not a smoky dive, not a dark cocktail bar, but rather a pub on the beach—unpretentious, inviting, and a lot of fun. We made the journey to the Rhode Island coast because we caught wind that the Brockmans was flowing, and now that we’ve arrived, it is clear why. The bar loves its cocktails—each delicious and approachable, and as an added bonus, you can pick your glassware too. But the glasses aren’t your standard coupes, highballs, and tumblers. Instead, you get to put your Brockmans cocktail in a cheeky Tiki cup. We’ve chosen a monkey covering its eyes. Somehow, it felt right…
“We let the customers keep the cups, and if they bring back the cup, they get the cocktail at a discount,” explains Pauli Doyle, the gregarious, chatty owner. “And we honor the cup rule. If you bring back a cup from years ago, we will still give you the discount.”
Through this system, Paddy’s has created a community of summer regulars, many of whom have been coming back since the place opened 19 years ago. That the staff clearly love working here certainly helps. Bar Manager Samantha Bengston, for example, is just as cheery as Pauli.
“Years ago, I tried another job, in an office, and I was so bored. I couldn’t do it,” Samantha tells us, while sipping on a smaller version of the cocktail we’re drinking out of a monkey, the Brockmans Lavender Lemonade. “Here, the hours are really long, it’s really tough, you miss a lot of things, and you are very consumed with where you are, but there’s nothing like working a 16-hour day, and getting your ass kicked, and sitting down at the end of the day and having a beer and thinking, this is awesome. I can’t leave this industry. I’m addicted to it.”
Samantha is onto something. We can’t say we’ve ever drunk gin out of a monkey before, but the ocean, the sun, the energy, and the company have certainly made this something we could get used to.