Meet Amanda Roderick, a local hospitality professional and an extended relative of the Kilroy family, known for their popular downtown restaurants including The Landing, where Roderick has worked with her family since she was a young girl. Most recently, Amanda has served as the events coordinator for The Landing and decided that it was time to expand on her own.
Opening for their first event early next month, Roderick is proud to introduce Queen Anne’s Loft. The business at 212 Thames has been in her family for over four decades and has been leased to other aspiring entrepreneurs over that time. Amanda joked saying “I don’t think that it can be transferred back to my grandfather, Dave Kilroy Sr. because it’s been leased back too many times!” Now renting the place from her uncle and the previous owner of the Star Bar, Dave Kilroy Jr., Roderick took a space that was well known as a late night staple since 1999 and turned it into a space that is perfect for private downtown functions.
Aptly named for its proximity to Queen Anne Square, Roderick says the space’s best quality is its flexibility. “We can do everything from a cocktail party to a clambake, a traditional sit down 3-course wedding reception to a post-wedding brunch. Whatever is it the guest has in mind, we can find a way to make it happen.”
Roderick has been working tirelessly with event coordinators and local publications to spread the word about her business before the busy summer season ensues. “I want to welcome anyone and everyone we can! I’m proud of the space and extremely excited to share it with our guests!”
The space boasts a full kitchen and liquor license and is ideal for smaller groups. With a capacity of 120 and seating 90 comfortably, Queen Anne’s Loft offers an intimate setting that is locally owned and operated.
If you’ve ever attended an event at The Landing, you know that attention to detail and execution are two pillars on which they hang their hat and with Roderick running her own space, expect those qualities to continue. “I’m really excited to have my own space. I see that the market for private functions and events has grown exponentially over the past few years and it was frustrating having to turn away parties because we were already booked at The Landing. Although being busy is a great problem to have, this venture allows me to open a new concept and welcome guests to a centrally located downtown location, which is what everyone wants come summer.”
When I was invited to check out the property, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had joked back and forth when I’d see Amanda out and about around town about when it would be completed and finally that day had come. I had heard rumors and rumblings and really didn’t know what it would look like but I was excited to check out what had been done to an old post-work watering hole of mine.
I opened the door to find newly-laid carpets and light wood railings lining the entrance and was greeted with a smile. Amanda showed me the new kitchen located on the second floor and led me upstairs to a dazzling new space. White walls, light wood flooring and a massive branch chandelier all immediately stood out as I stood in wonder of what had become of the Star Bar. No more popcorn machine or table tennis, instead a brilliant space that is perfect for private downtown functions. The only remnants that remained from the old bar were two staple warrior wall lamps that now line the newly added fireplace. “I had to keep them, they’ve been around forever and they’re a nice token of the past,” said Amanda. Judging by the number of awestruck expletives I said upon walking inside, I could tell that she knew I was impressed. The venue was bold, inviting and open.
I immediately wanted to hop behind the bar to check out what the event bartenders would be working with. The bar is set up to handle volume and allows guests to grab a drink or socialize immediately upon entering the space. A clean, simple, organized approach to bottle display allows guests to see their options and with the bathrooms now located on the third floor, their convenience is much more accessible than previously when they were located on the second level of the property. The bar’s stone top is accented with a glass-plated front and compliments the more modern approach to Queen Anne’s Loft.
Although the space does not have its own parking, as is with most downtown locations, the Mary Street Lot is located a stone’s throw away and conveniently located behind the building.
The space was designed by 2Hands Studio here in Newport. Owners Jeff Moniz and Melissa Breen are most recently known for their work in transforming Yesterday’s into Washington Square hotspot Stoneacre Brasserie. With this project the duo took a super-casual, dimly-lit bar and built it into a bright, beautiful, ballroom-esque venue. Roderick credits the outcome to her designers as well as her general contractor, Paul Ripa, who owns PPR Construction out of Portsmouth. “They were both local companies and they were a pleasure to work with!” says Roderick who said that choosing a team based on Aquidneck Island was very important to her. “I’m local and I think it’s important to support local.”
Let me tell you, the new place is stunning.
Queen Anne’s Loft is available for bookings. Their website, queenannesloft.com, is a valuable resource to see the layout of the venue and menu options. For bookings or other inquiries, Amanda can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 401-524-0286.
Tyler Bernadyn is a local hospitality professional, bartending at Midtown Oyster Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights on the Burgee Bar and at Caleb&Broad on Monday nights for their award-winning $10 entree dinner special.
Tyler is a graduate of Providence College and a true Rhode Islander, born and bred.
Email him at TylerBernadyn@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram at @tylerbernadyn.