The Malted Barley features pretzels and beer

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Friends had told us about this unique dining/drinking establishment at 334 Westminster St. in downtown Providence.

Pretzels and beer.

Excuse me: gourmet pretzels and craft beer!

The Malted Barley reminds me of the old western saloons. A bar runs down one wall, and large and smaller tables fill the rest of the huge space

Large groups actually purchase a “keg” of beer, while many customers order samplers (four smaller glasses of dozens of varieties of craft beer.)

On a recent Saturday night we got the last table for two and quickly discovered that we were nearly four times the ages of most of the customers.

Not to worry. Our friendly waitress explained the menu and took our orders over the din of the crowd.

Pretzels, priced from $3 for a plain salted to $6 for a variety of stuffing, including jalapeno and cheddar, chipotle and smoked gouda and mozzarella and tomato certainly enhanced the desire for a second beer.

Dips included a dozen choices, including marinara, pesto, spinach and artichoke and Nutella.

We were there for the sandwiches, which come in a basket and served with Cape Cod kettle chips.

Joyce enjoyed her Caprese, a garlic and parsley pretzel bun filled with tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic reduction ($8).

I loved my Bratwurst pretzel sandwich, filled with the delicious meat, sauerkraut and spicy brown house beer mustard ($10).

We’ll be back to try the eight other varieties, including meatball ($10), roast beef or turkey ($9) or the barley bacon beast burger (50% beef/50% bacon, ½ lb. patty, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles for $12).

The Cannellini sandwich is stuffed with cannellini beans, walnuts, cranberry and goat cheese pate, sliced pear, and arugula. ($9). How’s that for a vegan delight?

Malted Barley also serves a soup de jour and three varieties of salad. The popular house salad gives you your choice of arugula or chopped romaine lettuce, walnuts, dried cranberries, orange slices, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles served with pretzel croutons and a side of in-house made citrus vinaigrette ($9). Three women next to us ordered the huge salads, which looked too pretty to eat.

If you can handle dessert, there’s – you guessed it – sugar and cinnamon pretzels with frosting ($5) and waffle pretzels with Nutella, chocolate and vanilla ice cream ($6.50).

The Malted Barley is open daily from 11 to 1 a.m. Their phone number is 490-0300.

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