One of the most respected regional theaters in the country, Trinity Repertory Theatre (201 Washington St., 401/351-4242, www.trinityrep.com , 12 p.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sun.) performs everything from Tennessee Williams to Shakespeare, quite often to rave review.
Catch everything from poetry slams and improv to rock shows and comedy at AS220 (115 Empire St., 401/831-9327, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., www.as220.org ), a space dedicated to all things creative and entertaining. There’s also a café-cum-bar (and a printshop for local artists).
Much bigger national shows can be found at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (1 LaSalle Sq., 401/331-6700, www.dunkindonutscenter.com ), whereas more alternative rock and blues acts tend to hit the Call and Century Lounge (150 Chestnut St., 401/751-2255, www.centurylounge.com ).
Though it bills itself as much a restaurant as a bar or club, Kartabar (284 Thayer St., 401/331-8111, www.kartabar.com , 6 p.m.–2 a.m.) sees the majority of its business at night, when the international students move in to soak up electronica and monopolize the place. Sleek and trendy, outfitted in shots of red and lounge-y banquettes, it’s one of the most hopping (and loud) places to grab a martini in the area.
On the celluloid end of the entertainment spectrum sits the very quirky, quaint Cable Car Cinema and Café (204 S. Main St., 401/272-3970, www.cablecarcinema.com , afternoon and evening shows). It’s where the city’s hipper citizens congregate on the funky couches to take in art films, munch vegan snacks, and schmooze.