Provincetown, for those who have never been, is basically one long Victorian street… Commercial Street. At all times of night and day teeming with pedestrians, bicycles and dogs. Cars edge cautiously amongst the chaos.
Near the Town Hall at town’s center there are bars, candy stores and tourist favorites like The Lobster Pot serving lobster rolls and oysters. Provincetown has become an unlikely hen night/bachelorette party destination. Rowdy, drunk girls dressed in cheap veils patrol the streets screaming raucous songs and hitting men on the head with large dildos… true story.
Drag queens hate Bachelorettes.
During the season (June-September) there are themed entertainment weeks (Saturday to Saturday) for gays, lesbians and trans customers.
Commercial Street is divided into East and West Ends. It’s probably best to work out which end is which within minutes of arriving here. So, facing from the bay where the ferry disgorged… the west will be to your left, the east to your right. I start my day, every day at 7am, after my beach walk with the dogs… unleashed, on the patio at:
Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Delicious, fragrant coffee served by an attentive bunch who remember both your name and what you want. Joe’s is a staple breakfast haunt for most of the cool ‘townies’ (locals). It’s common to see straight-backed, imperious Andrew Sullivan arrive with his husband on their bikes or watch John Waters sail elegantly by dressed in Issy Miyake. Try the delicious, freshly baked almond croissant… but get there early to avoid disappointment.
Eavesdrop! Who fucks who? Learn all the local gossip: “They bring their terrible taste from the suburbs…”
A great way to start the day with everyone who works or lives in Provincetown… and a few tourists.
Meet this man drinking coffee and eating his breakfast:
120 Commercial Street Provincetown, Massachusetts 02657 Phone: 508 413-9500
Run by Josh Patner ex Rome based fashion journalist and stylist, this charming haunt is brimming with local and international art. Possibly the chicest most eclectic store in town. Beware! By August almost everything has been sold. Look out for beautiful and reasonably priced ceramics by: Gail S. Browne.
I bought a beautiful vase by Gail Browne and a gorgeous 18th Century throw.
3. Room 68
377 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 617-942-7425
Room 68 is Eric Portnoy’s 21st century gift shop. Originally out of Boston’s Jamaica Plain – 68 South Street, originating the store’s name. Look for Debra Folz ingenious extending ash table and more of her award-winning work. For those drowning in bad art glass and cat portraits… Room 68 is a welcome high style lifeboat on the choppy sea of capey mediocrity – quite unlike any other found on Commercial Street… or on Cape Cod.
225 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 508 487-3800
Opened in 2013 Canteen continues its stunning success. This charming restaurant is perfectly situated at the heart of Provincetown, offering a simple, unpretentious menu that capitalizes on local favorites like the ubiquitous Lobster Roll but served in a wholly original way. Like the interior of this nautical themed dining room the food is fresh, clean and authentic. The deep-fried smelt with tartar sauce are not everyone’s cup of tea… but I love them. Order everything with re-fried Brussels sprouts doused in an aromatic balsamic reduction and remember to sit in the newly opened garden overlooking the dunes and the spectacular sunset.
5. Red Inn
15 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 508 487-7334
Away from the madding Provincetown crowd, either a 30 minute walk or a ten minute rickshaw ride is the legendary Red Inn. Consistency, taste and prompt service make this elegant venue an essential but expensive must see. Last night we ate perfectly prepared filet mignon, served by delightfully charming staff at the bar over looking the spectacular bay. Older bearded gay men with their well behaved hounds sit on the terrace and drink cocktails. One eats reasonably priced oysters during happy hour (4pm-5pm) or lounge in the very British country garden: lavender, roses and sweet-william perfume the early evening breeze.
6. Mimere’s Homemade
281 Commercial Street #4, Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 917 670-7561
Opened by ex-banker Andrew Hood just this year to sell his vast array of delicious home-made, seasonal jams and jellies using old-fashioned techniques. I bought 6 different flavors including hefeweizen (wheat beer and orange) and red onion preserve. The chunky peach jam is particularly delicious, slathered on crusty toast from the Pain D’Avignon French Bakery found at Provincetown Farmer’s market held every Saturday by the Town Hall.
7. Provincetown Film Festival
Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 508 487-7000
This years Provincetown Film Festival, hailed a huge success, attracting viewers from all over the world. I met women from Europe and a couple from Australia who coincided their holiday with the film festival. A well-organized and international feeling festival The Provincetown Film Festival grows in reputation every year. This year I saw Andrew Sullivan rip a new ass hole in the makers of the ghastly Chad Griffin propaganda film: The Case Against 8, at a festival breakfast. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend $25.
As I left the breakfast feeling exhilarated, I bumped into a huge and handsome man, I said, “Did you see that! Andrew Sullivan is my hero!”
He replied, “Me too, that’s why I married him.”
8. Fag Bash at The Governor Bradford
312 Commercial St Provincetown, MA 02657
I’ve already written at length about this wonderful, subversive spectacle. A delightful Wednesday night basement party. Arrive at 11pm, leave at 1am. Wear your finest drag. I expect the ghost of Leigh Bowery to make an appearance at any moment. Remember, most everything closes at 1am in Ptown.
9. John Derian
396 Commercial Street Provincetown, MA 02657 Phone: 508 487-1362
The queen of decoupage Derian runs a tiny showroom a world away from his NYC empire. It is packed with essential nick nacks at the back of his Greek revival Ptown home. Black, $500 paper hollyhocks are not immediately alluring or justified… but… with time… anything is possible. I love the meat dolls by Nathalie Lete and the papier-mache hippo head. At night, as you pass by, envy his candle lit parties for Martha Stuart… and other gorgeous celebrities.
This boy will serve you. His name is Kevin and he is DIVINE.
145 Commercial Street, Provincetown MA Phone: 508 487-5151
Once a week I drop into see the charming, flirtatious Joey to have my hair and beard trimmed. It’s essential whenever you are anywhere for longer than a week to locate a great barber and Joey is he. Very reasonably priced, very funny and he’s… totally gorgeous. In fact, I’m off there, right now to get my neck shaved.