When a pub doesn’t let a tree stand in its way, you know a pandemic isn’t going to stop it either. The Mews Tavern in Wakefield started as a watering hole for fishermen back in 1947, and yes, there is a tree growing inside. In 1990, David Barnes and Danny Rubio bought the place and over the years have transformed it into a beer-lovers paradise with 69 offerings on tap, including local microbrews. A staple of favorites with seasonal offerings keeps the menu both reliable and interesting. It was just over a year ago that Barnes and Rubio decided the upstairs could use a remodel and then lockdown happened; Team Mews quickly shifted to curbside pickup and outdoor dining and made use of the enforced indoor restrictions to continue with plans to refresh the pub.
“When I met with my clients, they mentioned wanting to create a more female-friendly atmosphere but not lose the male clientele,” says Michelle Lee Parenteau, of Michelle Lee Designs, based in Johnston. “They also expressed giving it a more upscale cocktail lounge feel on one end of the restaurant and an industrial rustic ocean vibe on the other.” To achieve this, Parenteau had a huge tufted banquette installed and added a crocodile pattern wallpaper mixed with a faux brick on the top. Accent lighting was placed strategically for added ambiance. To create the industrial rustic ocean vibe, shiplap paneling was added vertically, wood tables were treated to custom stain, and the bar was stained turquoise blue.
“The tavern downstairs is a bit more boisterous and we needed a place that was a bit more subdued but didn’t vary too much from the overall Mews vibe, but was just a little different from the rest of the place,” says Rubio. “We were shut down by the state just as we started this project so it actually helped speed up the process.”
As patrons return to The Mews and head up the stairs, they’ll see the mission statement painted onto the risers. They’ll also find what Rubio describes as “a more relaxed atmosphere geared more towards adults and also more welcoming for women. A great place to grab a drink or glass of wine, before and/or after dinner. There is so much history packed into the Mews and that’s why people from all over check in whenever they’re in town.”