This Providence Pub Has a Heartfelt Tradition Worth Raising a Glass For
Since 2010, an Irish pub on bustling Wayland Square in Providence has been a popular watering hole for locals.
Like any great pub, the atmosphere is homey and the beers are always flowing, but McBride’s stands out among the rest thanks to its heartfelt tradition of a communal toast each night in honor of loved ones.
And it all started with a funeral home.
For the past 10-and-a-half years, patrons have been greeted by Jennifer Monastesse, the manager of McBride’s. Her family has been the proud owner of the restaurant since the beginning.
“Since the early 1900s, our family had a funeral home in Wayland Square, with a nine-car garage,” she said. “In 2010, my dad and uncle were noticing that the industry was changing, so they decided to turn the nine-car garage into a bar."
The Start of a Longstanding Tradition
On July 7, 2011, her family opened the doors of McBride’s for the first time. Her father rang a bell to commemorate the occasion and did the first toast of many.
The funeral is no longer there, but the tradition is still alive and well.
“Part of the tradition came from the funeral home because people would stop in after a wake or funeral and toast to their loved one,” said Monastesse, “but we want to keep the tradition going.”
"Toast to a Loved One"
Pre-Covid, it worked like clockwork: A patron would put in a request and, at 10 p.m., the pub would pause, ring the bell, raise a glass and say a few words. The person who made the request would then have the opportunity to sign the official book, filled with pages of other customers who raised glasses before them.
If there were no requests that evening, Monastesse would raise a toast to an important person in history.
“We have a book where we keep track,” said Monastesse. “We have books stretching from 2011 to now.”
Due to COVID, the "toast to a loved one” is no longer every night, but McBride’s is happy to do it upon request.
The funeral home may be gone, but the tradition that began over 10 years ago lives on, proving that a friendly neighborhood pub is so much more than just a place to eat and drink.
It’s a place that brings people closer together, one toast at a time.