Historic Provincetown venues team up to help bring gay tourism back to town

Pilgrim House is a historic Inn in Provincetown
Pilgrim House staff (Photo: Supplied)

Two of Provincetown’s best-known LGBTQ venues are teaming up: Post Office Café and Cabaret Bar, and Pilgrim House.

The Post Office Cafe and Cabaret Bar has been running since 1974. In 2020, for the first time in 45 years, it did not open up for the town’s summer season because of Covid-19.

The business was recently bought by Tin Pan Alley restaurant owners Paul Melanson and Jack Kelly. They’ve entered into a joint initiative (entitled #ptowntogether) with Pilgrim House, to help promote both venues and encourage visitors back to town.

Husbands Paul Melanson and Jack Kelly (on the left) are the new owners of the Post Office Café in Provincetown
Husbands Paul Melanson and Jack Kelly (on the left) are the new owners of the Post Office Café (Photo: Supplied)

Pilgrim House is a 19-room historic inn with a history dating back to 1810. It’s the oldest hotel in the Cape Cod town. It’s recently been renovated. You’ll find it just off the town’s main thoroughfare, Commercial Street. Last year, it was one of the few venues able to open as it was big enough to maintain social distancing and put on entertainment shows.

Undertaking work at the Post Office Café (Photo: Supplied)

Related: Gay bars in Provincetown

One thing that both venues have in common is that they host cabaret. They hope that by uniting they can host a more well-rounded bill of entertainment throughout the year and offer more options to performers between their different spaces. Pilgrim House also has the option to provide accommodation for visiting performers.

“This partnership is a labor of love that demonstrates the power of local collaboration over competition,” said Pilgrim House owner Ken Horgan in a press statement. “Offering more entertainment space options for performers, local or otherwise, is our primary motivation, and we look forward to incorporating more local venues, businesses, and nonprofits.”

Since the launch of #ptowntogether, other businesses have reached out to Pilgrim House to become involved. These include retailers Kenneth Scott, Henry & Company, The Landing Bar & Bistro, and the Sea Dragon Lounge. The pandemic has made many businesses realize the importance of working together rather than viewing each other as competition.

Related: Gay-friendly hotels in Provincetown

Paige Turner is a frequent Provincetown performer and brand ambassador and creative director for Pilgrim House.

“A big problem in the past has been housing for performers, especially performers just coming in for a few nights. That is one of the main things being worked out so both venues can bring in performers and secure housing,” Turner told Gay Cities.

Paige Turner outside Pilgrim House
Paige Turner outside Pilgrim House (Photo: Supplied)

“Pilgrim House is also opening our doors to performers who were booked at the Post Office Cabaret, with additional showtimes being added. So much good can come out of this because we definitely are stronger as a community and helping each other thrive as opposed to always being in competition.”

Turner says he is looking forward to spending the entire summer season in P’town.

“I’m opening Memorial Day weekend with the legendary Miss Richfield 1981. We both open Saturday May 29th and play through September 18th. We decided to open as soon as reservations started getting busy. Usually, performances don’t start till the last week of June. We have lots of wonderful performers coming in: Broadway’s Kyle Taylor Parker, Las Vegas legend Edie, comic Matteo Lane, country singer Steve Grand, Drag Divas’ Sutton Lee Seymour and Cacophony Daniels, to name a few.”

Turner was also able to share some news about changes coming up on the Pilgrim House campus.

“We have three new staterooms that are big and oversized and definitely will be open for the summer. We’re just finishing up and they will be gorgeous and spacious. There are plans for extensions of other commercial spaces within our venue, all depending on when we can fully open inside. But we will be ready!”

At the moment, because of Covid restrictions, venues are currently at 50 percent for indoor dining and bars. People have to be seated and food has to always be served. Despite this, some of Provicentown’s famous themed weekends are due to return this summer.

Related: All the Provincetown theme weeks set to make a comeback in 2021

Visitors are expected to quarantine upon arrival, unless they have been vaccinated, have received a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of arriving or are staying less than 24 hours. These guidelines are likely to change, so keep checking here for updates.

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