After we witnessed the reality television auditions at Atlantic Beach Club, we scrubbed ourselves from filth, took a dip in the hot tub and put on our party frocks to dine at the dockside restaurant, The Grill at Forty 1° North.
There are parts of Newport that are quaint and historic and charming. This was not one of those places. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good time, but it was far from old-fashioned. I would call this a “new Newport” aesthetic. There is an open-air dining area with individual tables surrounding a covered pavilion.
You can dine outside where there are mega yachts literally an arms-length away. I’m going to repeat that last sentence: You will be dining with mega yachts literally an arms-length away. Late at night there is a DJ playing beats with speakers pepped throughout the property. This means it will get loud. It’s hard to avoid “the scene,” but there are nooks and crannies throughout the entire deck that let you get away from crowds if you’re looking to avoid those who strayed from Atlantic Beach Club. There’s also an indoor area, including the Oval Bar and Lounge, which offers gorgeous views of the harbor sans beats.
The menu features meats, seafood and a raw bar. Our group stuck with the basics – cheese plate, tuna and oysters for appetizers; filets, pasta, a daily fish special and a few soups and salads for mains. Everything was tasty. It won’t be the best meal you’ve ever had but the food is fresh and prepared well. The dishes did take quite some time to come out of the kitchen and the entire meal was about two-hours long.
Our server was Jonathan and he was polite but not exceptional. The service was slow – probably due to the fact that the kitchen was up a flight of stairs – but we were all okay with that. To us it didn’t feel slow as much as leisurely. Since it was a celebratory engagement dinner we had time to take pictures, look around at the yachts, open presents and take bathroom breaks.
Why are bathroom breaks important at Forty 1° North? It is your hair’s worst nightmare. Because of its proximity on the water, and with the fog rolling into the harbor at night, moisture droplets hang in the air.
Moisture droplets hanging in the air + hair = Instafrizz.
I highly recommend admitting defeat before you head out for the night and style your hair in a chignon, bun or slicked back ponytail. Those who didn’t in our group lasted about 20 minutes before straightened hair gave way to frizz and they had to re-do their hair-do.
Once our meal was complete we headed to the dance floor and the various walk-up bars on the deck. The bartenders are friendly but a bit inattentive. There were maybe 300 people on the deck at the peak of the night so I don’t blame them. I was drinking wine and some bubbly that night, but one drink of note was the espresso martini. My sister had ordered one and after trying a few sips I ordered one as well. Their version doesn’t have that cheap, acrid taste you get from a lot of bar’s renditions of the vodka-based drink.
Altogether a night at Forty 1° North will be expensive. You will hate your hair in the photographs and you’ll have drunk far too much. But when you wake up the next morning you’ll breath a small sigh of contentment because you just wined, dined and danced the night away next to mega yachts.