Be Enchanted

Circe bartender Kyle Poland on creating seductive drinks

Providence Monthly Magazine ·

What was your gateway into the hospitality industry?
I was coaching Track and Field at URI at the time and wanted to make some extra money. So, I applied for a bar back position at Ten Steak & Sushi. It was there I met Carlo Carlozzi, the now-owner of Circe. He pulled me aside and told me that he’d teach me how to bartend if I promised to go with him when he opened his own place. I took him up on his offer, although at the time, I didn’t believe him. Five years later, here I am - the Beverage Manager at Carlo’s creation, Circe.

Who is Circe?
Circe is a beautiful goddess, seductress and enchantress in Homer’s Odyssey. She is an excellent hostess who enchants Odysseus and his men with her delicious food and drinks, which then turned them into swine. Eventually, she releases the men from their spell sending them off with supplies to fight the Trojan War, thus making her a heroine of sorts. The main wall here features a painting of Circe and her men by local artist Debbie Sabo.

How is Circe the goddess incorporated into Circe Restaurant & Bar?
This restaurant captures her essence; we enchant guests with our amazing food and drinks while providing a fun atmosphere. Carlo had a vision; I helped facilitate it. The goal is to show guests a fun time, while making them feel comfortable. Circe is upscale, but not highbrow; you can let loose and have fun here. We handpicked all the materials, including the upholstery, to ensure it created a comfortable customer experience. Chef Simon Keating creates phenomenal dishes and our drink list is amazing.

What’s a typical evening like?
The atmosphere is upscale but very laid back. One night there will be a DJ spinning house music, the next you’ll hear an artist crooning Frank Sinatra hits. Circe appeals to every type of crowd including everyone that likes go out and be seen in Providence. It’s a busy, fun bar usually filled with regulars. As long as you come in open minded, you’ll have a fantastic time.

What’s your signature cocktail?
Shiso Martini garnished with a single shiso leaf. Shiso is similar to a mint leaf, but bigger in size and not as aggressive in taste and aroma; shiso doesn’t overpower flavors in a drink. I muddle a shiso leaf, squeeze a fresh lemon, add organic cucumber infused vodka, house made simple syrup and then shake it so it’s dry and fluffy.

What’s an easy cocktail fellas can make to impress their ladies this Valentine’s Day?
A Primo Bacio, which is Italian for “first kiss.” Take 1 oz. of any citrus vodka, pour into a pint glass with ice, add 1 oz. of white cranberry juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, shake it up, pour into a wine glass with ice, top it off with sauvignon blanc and then garnish with large green grapes.

What’s your most memorable night behind the bar?
Three years ago on New Year’s Eve. Carlo and I were the only bartenders staffed. The bar was insanely busy. We worked so hard; I’ve never been so busy in my life. I felt like I was melting down at the service bar. I glanced over at Carlo he was working the bar like it was a Sunday afternoon at the beach. As busy as we were, Carlo never broke a sweat. That night I learned don’t ever let them see you sweat. That’s the key to being a good bartender in a high volume establishment.

What’s this Bottomless Champagne Brunch I keep hearing about?
Every Sunday from 10am-3pm, along with our fabulous brunch menu, we offer unlimited champagne for only $18.99 per person. Guests can enjoy as many mimosas as they’d like without worrying about a huge cost. The Maine Smoked Salmon Florentine served with Baffoni Farm Poached Eggs and Dill Hollandaise is my favorite. Chef is known for his Sweet Bread French Toast, served with poached local pear, spiced pecans, caramel sauce and chantilly cream; it’s like candy.

Circe, upscale bar, restaurant, providence,