Archive for July, 2010

Provincetown Restaurant and Eatery Recommendations

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The gay and lesbian paradise of Provincetown on the very tip of Cape Cod is a perennial favorite of the LGBT community, and is one of the most welcoming destinations in the world. It opens its arms to thousands of visitors each year, so it is little wonder  that the town offers a myriad of eating options, ranging from cafes and sandwich shops to restaurants providing world class cuisine.

Pink Choice has the town’s accommodation options well covered on its Provincetown destination page, and has now put together its list of favorite Provincetown eateries based on personal experience and guest surveys:

The Red Inn restaurant, Provincetown

The Red Inn's dining room

The Red Inn offers one of the best dining experiences in Provincetown. Situated on the bay in the west end of town, the restaurant boasts amazing views of Provincetown Harbor, Long Point Lighthouse and Cape Cod Bay. Executive chef, Philip Mossy has created a menu that does justice to the Red Inn’s location. Our personal favorites are the fried bacon wrapped oysters, the pan roasted local cod and the rack of lamb with the chef’s secret spice rub.

Victor's Restaurant Provincetown

Victor's Restaurant

Victor’s is now into its 3rd season, and has established itself as a firm favorite with Provincetown locals and visitors alike. Also situated in the west end of town it offers a unique upscale dining experience, serving small plates specially prepared for sharing with friends at the table. Chef Michael Mishkin serves some of the most innovative food in town, along with the best French fries we have ever tasted!

Ross’ Grill is located on the second floor of Whaler’s Wharf, just steps from Commercial Street in the center of town. With its European Bistro style atmosphere it serves dishes freshly prepared from local produce, complimented with over 75 different wines served by the glass. Our favorite is to eat at the bar with the attentive service of Cesar, the bartender, and chat with fellow diners.

The Mews Restaurant and Cafe is loved by Provincetown residents and visitor alike, especially as it is one of the few restaurants in town that remains open year round. Offering casual dining upstairs, and a more formal atmosphere in the lower beach level restaurant, both spaces offer exceptional cuisine with a subtle but unobtrusive Asian influence. The Mews is also known for its mind-boggling choice of different vodkas.

Fanizzi’s is another of Provincetown’s year round favorite restaurants, located in the East End of town overlooking the bay. Owner, Paul Fanizzi and chef, Michael Dean offer an eclectic menu, ranging from Cape seafood classics and burgers, to fresh salads, to elegant international entrées.

Saki Sushi Restaurant Provincetown

Saki is the place for Sushi in Provincetown

Saki is one of Provincetown’s newer restaurants serving the freshest sushi in a restored Methodist church in the center of town. This might sound odd, but the space is open, vibrant and bustling

Front Street has long been one of the restaurants where one must eat on a trip to Provincetown. Chef owners, Donna and Kathy offer two extensive menus which they refer to as “Mediterranean-American Fusion”. The restaurant is tucked away downstairs in a centrally located Victorian building. With low ceilings, carved wooden tables and exposed brick walls, the atmosphere is both romantic and intimate, despite the bustling energy that is part of this very successful restaurant.

Relish Provincetown

Mouth watering cupcakes from Relish

Relish has been providing locals and visitors with mouthwatering sandwiches and baked goods since 2001. Located on Commercial Street in the west end of town it’s conveniently placed to pick up a delectable lunch to eat on the beach. Owner, Frank Vasello bakes amazing cup cakes, and is in high demand for his innovative wedding cakes.

Joe Coffee & Cafe, Provincetown

Outdoor patio at Joe Coffee &Cafe, Provincetown

Joe Coffee & Cafe moved to new tailor-made premises in May 2010, and is now located on the corner of Winthrop and Commercial Street. With plenty of outdoor seating, this is the place to relax and read the paper, or just people-watch.

Perry's Wine & Liquors

Some of the offerings at Perry's Wine & Liquors, Provincetown

Perry’s Wine & Liquors on the corner of Tremont and Franklin Street in the West End of town, has been the neighborhood’s liquor store for many years, but the current owners, Tom and Scott have taken it to a new level of excellence. In addition to being two of the friendliest guys in town, their knowledge of wine is unsurpassed. To compliment their extensive inventory they also offer delicious artisanal cheese, breads and cocktail provisions.

Which are the Gayest Cities in the US?

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Gay San FranciscoThe gayest metropolitan areas in the United States have recently been announced with the publication of the latest gay and lesbian index rankings. The data came from same sex couples who were living together and who completed the 2008 American Community Survey for the US Census Bureau.

Many of the cities listed are obvious choices, especially San Francisco coming in at number 1, but there are others on the list that would have been less easy to predict. Take a look at the 20 winners:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Santa Rosa, California
  3. Portland, Maine
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Sacramento, California
  7. Austin, Texas
  8. Portland, Oregon
  9. San Diego, California
  10. Springfield, Massachusetts
  11. New York, New York
  12. Eugene, Oregon
  13. Denver, Colorado
  14. Ithaca, New York
  15. Washington, DC
  16. Columbus, Ohio
  17. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  18. Los Angeles, California
  19. Dallas, Texas
  20. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The rankings relate to the ratio of same sex-couples living in a given metropolitan area compared to all households. Who would have known that Portland, Maine is gayer than Los Angeles or Miami-Fort Lauderdale!

It turns out that Springfield, Massachusetts is heavily favored by lesbian couples as a place to live, and in addition, the neighboring cities of Northampton and Amherst attract a large number of lesbian students.

Ithaca, New York and Ann Arbor, Michigan come as a slight surprise to us. We would love to hear what puts these two cities on the gay and lesbian map.

Pink Choice currently has no hotel listings for Santa Rosa, CA, Portland, ME, Springfield, MA, Ithaca, NY, Columbus, OH or Ann Arbor, MI. If you have stayed in one of these cities recently please tell us about your experience.

Gay and lesbian travelers are not influenced by an airline’s LGBT policy

Friday, July 16th, 2010

SouthWest are one of several airlines touting the gay travel market

In our recent gay and lesbian travel survey, we asked Pink Choice members exactly what influenced their choice of airline when planning a trip.

It turns out that price is the main factor when making travel arrangements. Less than 15% of members said they would choose an airline specifically because of its LGBT policy. Based on this data, airlines that have spent time and money promoting gay friendly flights may not see much return. Over 50% said ticket price was a major deciding factor and 35% based their decision on flight schedules.

If you have had any interesting airline experiences why not share them with others on the Pink Choice Gay Travel Forum.

Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Gay marriage in Argentina

Photo distributed by the Press Office of the Tierra del Fuego government

Following hours of debate, Argentina’s senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the early hours of Thursday morning, July 15. The measure had previously been approved by the lower house, and since Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, the law is likely to go into effect within just a few days, allowing gay and lesbian marriages to take place and be celebrated throughout the country.

Argentina becomes the first Latin American country to pass such a measure, despite strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups. The new law will only apply to citizens and residents, so foreign gay and lesbian travelers will be unable to take advantage of the new law. However, Argentina has made a commendable decision that sets the tone of tolerance for all LGBT travelers, making it a recommended choice for a South American vacation.

Pink Choice already lists member recommendations for gay and gay-friendly hotels in Argentina in the following destinations:

Buenos Aires



San Carlos de Bariloche

Pink Choice applauds the landmark changes in Argentina’s marriage law, and encourages its members to visit the country if planning a South American vacation.

Gay travelers preparing for Provincetown’s Jungle Fantasy!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Carnival will soon be hitting the narrow streets of Provincetown when this year’s theme for the gay and lesbian business guild, ‘Jungle Fantasy’, kicks off with a week of celebrations on August 15Provincetown Gay Carnival 2010.

Here are some of the highlights of the week:

Sunday, August 15 ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ Opening Party.

Monday, August 16 Carnival Jungle Jam Pier Dance and Jungle Fantasy Costume Contest

Tuesday, August 17 Carnival Jungle Heat Dance Party

Wednesday, August 18 Carnival ‘Forget Tarzan, Jane loves Jane Dance Party’ and ‘Latin Fever’ at Club Purgatory.

Thursday, August 19 Carnival Parade

Friday, August 20 Carnival Drag Brunch and Monkey Business Closing Party

Carnival week in Provincetown is the one event that packs the town to capacity with gay and lesbian travelers, and families who flock into town from other vacation spots on Cape Cod. Estimates have it that up to 80,000 people line Commercial St for the annual parade, and if you’ve seen the width of the street, that’s a lot of people! Many of the gay and lesbian guesthouses and other businesses in Provincetown enter floats in the parade which runs the full length of Commercial Street, and lasts several hours.

The Provincetown Business Guild lists all the events, but to whet the appetite, here are a few pictures from previous carnivals.

Provincetown Gay Carnival

Pink Choice Awards set the standard for gay travelers

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

When it comes to gay and lesbian travel, there’s a veritable minefield of accommodation options, and many often turn out not to be the best choice. It’s no secret that the gay travel market means big bucks for the hospitality industry, added to which, gay and lesbian travelers have a higher expendable income, and tend to travel more frequently than their heterosexual counterparts. So, it’s not surprising that hoteliers and large hotel corporations see value in declaring themselves gay-friendly to get a slice of the cake.

In previous posts we have questioned exactly what gay-friendly means, and the recent coverage of the disastrous vacation experienced by two gays staying at the Gran Melia Resort in Cancun, booked through Expedia’s new gay-friendly hotel listings, highlights just how easily the label of ‘gay-friendliness’ can in reality mean homophobia. To add to the gay traveler’s difficulties, TripAdvisor has deemed it necessary to place many gay hotels in a hard to find section on the site under ‘Specialty Lodging’.

Pink Choice Gay Hotel AwardPink Choice was conceived and launched in 2006, because of the confusing information which was available, to provide gay and lesbian travelers with hotel reviews, written by people like themselves, as well as ratings, both good and bad, of their experiences staying in hotels which market  to the LGBT community. Based on these ratings, derived from the guest’s response to eight questions about the hotel experience, Pink Choice Awards are presented annually to those properties providing the very best in guest services. With more than 2000 hotels listed in 650 global destinations, Pink Choice provides its members with general recommendations ranging from award-winning properties right through the spectrum of guest experiences, to those rated the ‘Last Resort’ which should be avoided at all costs.

We believe that the Pink Choice awards and ratings provide the LGBT community with meaningful guidelines for planning vacations that will be enjoyable, and without any unpleasant surprises. We encourage all our members to tell us about their experiences by posting reviews about their hotel stays. By doing this, we can all benefit, and avoid embarrassing situations and disappointment.

71% of Gay Travelers Prefer to Stay in Gay Owned and Operated Hotels

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Gay TravelOur recent members’ gay travel survey provided some interesting information on the gay travel industry in 2009-2010. Over 500 Pink Choice members participated in the survey. The results shed some light on the health and direction of gay travel in 2010.

The Economy is Impacting Gay Travel

Fifty-six percent of respondents said that the current economy had affected their travel plans and that they would be spending less on travel than in previous years. However, 63% said that they had not needed to shorten their vacations and 54% had already booked their trips for 2010. We concluded that the gay travel market has been impacted by the bad economy but people are still traveling. They may be looking to spend a bit less but as the results show, many are already booked for 2010. With vacation costs factoring heavily in gay travel plans, Pink Choice’s classification of accommodation into four price bands, provides useful guidance for the likely cost of a vacation.

Gay Travelers Prefer Staying in Gay Owned Establishments

Seventy-one percent of respondents preferred to stay in an accommodation that was gay/lesbian owned and operated. That’s not surprising, but over 50% indicated they weren’t bothered one way or the other. We were surprised that over 50% of the respondents said they would be comfortable staying in a non gay owned establishment. It might reflect society’s changing attitudes towards gay and lesbian travelers. Future surveys will examine this question further.

How can gay travelers really be sure that ‘gay friendly’ accommodation really does mean ‘Gay Friendly!’

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The gay travel market is worth billions of dollars in the USA alone, so it’s not surprising that the accommodation market should try to get a slice of the LGBT business.

More and more hotels, inns, guesthouses, B&B’s, and resorts are trying to cash in on the LGBT traveler. Whether it’s a corporate hotel or a family B&B, ‘gay friendly’ seems to be the new mantra for accommodation marketing. But what does ‘gay friendly’ actually mean to gay travelers?

Does it mean that two women checking into a hotel can ask for a king bed without the desk clerk questioning their decision and suggesting instead a room with twin beds? Does it mean that a gay couple can hold hands across a table in a restaurant without getting looks or worse still comments from the staff? Does is mean that two men relaxing by the hotel pool can give each other a kiss without getting stares from other guests?

A recent article written by two men who had a terrible experience at the Gran Melia hotel in Cancun really highlights the issue. The hotel is listed on Expedia’s gay travel section as being ‘gay friendly’. This property was the host hotel for the Latin Gay Hot Party in 2009, and we list it on Pink Choice. Yet the treatment received by the two men seems to really cast doubt on whether this hotel is all that it claims to be or whether they just want the money as long as we, gay and lesbian guests, comply with their rules.

We’ve considered removing this hotel from our listings, but are reluctant to do so. Far better that gay and lesbian travelers speak out about their experiences, be they good or bad, and post reviews so that other Pink Choice members know exactly what to expect. So, if you have stayed at the Hotel Gran Melia in Cancun, or any other mainstream hotels touting their gay-friendliness, please tell us about your experiences. With so many choices now available to gay and lesbian travelers, it is simply not good enough for hotels to add the words ‘gay-friendly’ to their marketing campaigns without having staff training and sexual sensitivity to back this up.