Gillian's Ale House is yet another local haunt where you see people you don't really want to see, so you get drunk to smooth things over. Unlike the nearby Oak Hill Tavern, though, Gillian's doesn't really have a culinary party piece to give it a reason for existing. In fact, as a restaurant, they're not half bad, but they're not half good. As a bar, again, it's a local haunt and as such it's very good at being what it's trying to be. But being that requires no skill, ambition, or endeavor.
Gillian's dining area and bar are quite nice. Warm, welcoming. Pool tables are accounted for, which is never a good sign. The dining area is certainly an afterthought here. I have never been when more than a couple people occupied it, and on a few occasions I was seemingly forgotten. Service is adequate, all in all.
The food is all well and good. Nothing is noticeably bad, and their house-made corned beef is quite excellent. But as with everything at Gillian's, the quality is inconsistent. I've eaten when the corned beef was delicious, and when it was sub-par. I've had the sirloin and it ranges from decent to badly prepared and tough. Their "tradtional Irish entrees" are rendered laughably inadequate by the presence of Fado Irish Pub... 35 miles away. It's that far, and if you actually want something Irish, it would be worth the trip.
Sandwiches are and other bar foods are all good. Nothing special, but still quite good and more than enough to satisfy some hunger pangs. They have both hot and cold and the hot get all the attention, with the selection being three times as large. Always nice are the extremely low prices. Unfortunately, the sandwich selection about eight minutes down the road at Jim's Deli is vastly superior to Gillian's. The recipes are better, the service is quicker, and the prices are, somehow, lower.
Gillian's Ale House could never survive if it wasn't relying on its status as a bar/hangout. The food is decent, but so is the food at every other local hangout nearby. And the old standby, a sandwich, is produced better by Jim's Deli. It's not bad, but there's just no reason to go to Gillian's unless you're nearby.
Gillian's Ale House: **1/2
Price range for two: $15-$30
Gillian's Ale House
7835 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Open Daily 11:00am to 1:00am