Experience: Pooch’s Pour House in Westerly Channels Cheers Vibes

The friendly sports bar levels up pub snacks and serves as a football team’s lucky charm


Hey! I was hoping I was going to see you guys today!” says the manager behind the bar at Pooch’s Pour House when a young couple sits down. They all chat for a minute and exchange updates on common friends while the bartender fetches two draft beers without asking what they want. A few minutes later, another couple enters, exchanging waves and greetings with the pair already seated.

The whole scene feels familiar. When it comes to defining the classic neighborhood bar and pub experience of our lifetimes, many of us think of the iconic sitcom Cheers, about the Boston sports bar where friends gather at the end of each day for drinks and to blow off some steam. It’s comfortable, familiar, and, well, everybody knows your name.

That’s exactly the feel owner Jeff Pucci was going for when he opened Pooch’s in the heart of downtown Westerly last year. “Opening a sports bar has been a dream of mine since I was 18 years old,” he explains, and that Cheers ethos was front and center, right down to the design of the bar’s logo. “I wanted to design a bar to be everyone’s go-to place for a good time. I was thinking back to the pre-cell phone days when you couldn’t text and just ran into your friends at the local hangout for a good time.”

The long, comfortable bar with exposed brick walls is supplemented by several seating areas and lots of wall-mounted televisions. But unlike Sam Malone’s Beacon Hill joint where you never saw the barflies snacking on anything but peanuts and popcorn, Pooch’s delivers big on great eats, especially apps. The house-made Loaded Nachos feature all the fixin’s, alongside huge scoops of sour cream and what is hands-down some of the best guacamole on the planet. The Mozzarella Sticks are house-cut from fresh cheese and are about three times the size of the sad little ones you often get at a bar.

You don’t often see burrata or arancini on a pub menu, but here they are, as well as 10 flavors of chicken wings, including mainstays Garlic Parm, Mango Habanero, Buffalo, and Old Bay Dry Rub. The Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich I ordered was juicy and spicy, and the Steak and Cheese Grinder was gooey and satisfying.

There are a few larger items as well, such as short ribs and several pastas – the latter, in fact, seems to hold magical properties. Pucci, a longtime fan of Westerly sports, began hosting a team pasta dinner for the Westerly High School Bulldogs before they played home games – think 40 pounds of pasta, heaps of bread, and plenty of salad. The team started winning, making it to the postseason. Coach Ron Sposato sensed a good luck charm in Pooch’s, and many home-game dinners later, they finished in the postseason with a winning 9-2 record.

Friendly, delicious, and even a little lucky – what more could you want in a neighborhood sports bar?


Pooch’s Pour House

42 High Street, Westerly




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