Tyler’s Two Cents: Thoughts from Behind the Bar is a weekly lifestyle column, written by Tyler Bernadyn, that will appear every week on What’sUpNewp this summer.
After a few days off to enjoy my 27th birthday, I’m well rested and ready to share my weekly column. While reflecting on all of the blessings I have here in Newport over my early week staycation, I concluded that an article that showcased these favorites would be more than appropriate. We all have our own places, parks, beaches, bars and restaurants that are meaningful to us for whatever reason, today I’m happy to share mine with you.
A staple of my daily routine, whether it’s to unwind on a day off or get in a quick swim before work, Reject’s holds a special place in my heart and is by far my favorite strip of sand on Aquidneck Island. This tiny beach, located adjacent to Bailey’s is a low key local favorite and a perfect place to soak up some sun. Because of it’s limited parking, there are subsequently less families and tourists at the beach and you’re certain to see a lot of familiar faces if you come on a regular basis. When I am here, I am happy.
There’s no better way to get around town in the busy summertime than on a scooter or moped. They cost $3 to fill up, they can park virtually anywhere and they’re easy to maneuver in traffic conditions. I am fortunate to own a pair so that when friends visit, I can show them around the island. Scooter cruises around Newport, especially the Ocean Drive, are one of the most fun and relaxing things to do in my opinion and they’re even better when you have a group of friends to follow. Rumor has it that there’s a charity scooter rally in the works, so stay tuned moped enthusiasts for more details coming in the next few weeks!
A continuation of my ‘Every Dog Has It’s Day’ article from last week, spending time with my pup is always enjoyed. From a long walk around town to a quick swim off the beach, Bella Bernadyn knows how to put a smile on my face. Dog friendly Newport is the perfect setting for a satisfying summer and she is a very lucky lady to live in this community.
Midtown Oyster Bar
Midtown is special to me for a number of reasons. Primarily because it is where most of my closest friends in town work and the staff here is like one big family. Secondly, because it is where I most often work and make a living for myself. The Burgee Bar (upstairs), where I work Thursday through Sunday nights, is super comfortable and aestetically stunning. Whether it’s the deep dark hue of the scarlet painted walls, the copper fixtures throughout the bar or the reclaimed wood from an old mill that lines the ceiling, the Burgee Bar is a place that locals enjoy and a favorite amongst new guests and regulars alike. Working at Midtown gives me an opportunity to make money and have fun doing it. It’s a great environment to be a part of and making the move from corporate management back to behind the bar was one of the most satisfying decisions I’ve made. In only it’s first 3 years of business, Midtown has already created so many memories for it’s visitors and the sky is the limit for the foreseeable future. I work here 5 nights a week and still go in for lunch each and every Monday, that has to tell you something!
Perhaps my favorite seasonal restaurant in town, The Smokehouse Cafe has it all. The staff is friendly, the mason jar cocktails and mudslides are great, the food is fantastic (and cheap, as Smokehouse offers 1/2 price off the entire menu Sunday through Thursday from 10pm until Midnight!) and the people watching is second-to-none. Situated on the always bustling America’s Cup Boulevard, you’ll see plenty of action while posted up at the bar or on the drink rail.
Last summer, I owned a 24’ sailboat with 2 friends of mine. Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances, we were forced to sell ‘Good Karma.’ Although she is gone, getting out on a boat during the summer is essential and one of my favorite things to do in Newport. Fortunately, it’s much easier to have friends with boats than to have your own. This past Monday, I was lucky enough to spend my evening with a great group of people aboard MV Sotito on a yacht cruise sponsored by Moet & Hennessy. Andy and Robin were overwhelmingly hospitable and if you ever get a chance to check out their charter, I highly recommend it. During Newport Folk Fest, my good pal Seth took me out on his boat for a proper Sunday Funday and I was able to enjoy the sounds of Alabma Shakes and Elvis Costello to cap off an amazing day. After my dear friends Ryan and Courtney got married earlier this summer, the crew on the Adirondack II did a spectacular job with their post-reception sunset sail. Regardless of what kind of vessel you find yourself on, get out on something that floats whenever you can. There are so many beautiful boats in the harbor this summer and being on the water is one of the most therapeutic things you can do in town.
They’re free and they happen nightly. Sunsets in Newport are unbelievable and you should honestly try to catch more of them if you can. They’re something that we often take for granted although we boast some of the best in the region. There’s so many great spots and perspectives from which you can enjoy a sunset in Newport. Some of my favorite spots to watch the sun go down are Castle Hill Lighthouse and Pineapples on the Bay. I promise when you take a minute to truly appreciate a Newport sunset, you won’t be disappointed.
I usually take Tuesdays off in the summertime. With just one day off a week, it’s important to enjoy the time I have away from the workplace and I promise you, I do just that. This past week I took my first 3 days off in a row all summer and it was amazing. Time spent in the city by the sea with family and friends is time worth spending and something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Although I could go on for days about more of my favorite things to do and places to go in Newport, I feel that it’s important that our readers share their thoughts instead. Please feel free to comment on your favorite place in Newport so that other’s may be enlightened on all that Newport has to offer!
Thank you to everyone who has made this year one that I vaguely remember but certainly one I will never forget. I’m looking forward to all that 27 has in store. Cheers!
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.