Happy hour should feel redundant and unnecessary when you're on vacation -- you're in the splendor of unlimited freedom! You're actively filling the time when you would be doing work with enjoyable activities, proving that you own each and every hour of your happiness. Yet the joy of a discounted drink is still unmistakable even on a particularly pleasant day. There may be panic then, when you vacation in Massachusetts and realize it is one of the few states to have outlawed Happy Hours (since 1984). Fear not, Provincetown has found a way to reward those looking for an afternoon delight (of the culinary variety) by turning Happy Hours into Raw Bar specials. Trading in a bottom barrel vodka soda for a fresh oyster on the half-shell sounds like a new form of freedom worth celebrating! Below, we look at five of the best.
When was the last time you were excited about something that was 99 cents? (3am drunk dollar pizza slices don't count.) Victor's Raw Bar happy hour goes for gold with oysters, shrimp and clams all coming in at justttt under a dollar. Each is paired with its own sauce and no one will judge what could otherwise be considered an over-order. This happy hour runs from 3pm to 5pm so it could be the perfect place to start a Happy Hour marathon if so inclined. And, if you like the happy hour, come back for the Drag Queen brunch.
Victor's, 175 Bradford Street Ext, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1777
The Governor Bradford restaurant feels both like a dive that has somehow avoided public inspection as well as the unofficial Provincetown Town Hall. It's been around since the late '60s, and the waitresses seem like they've been around even longer -- but both of those should be seen as positives. It's the type of place where you could run into a group of friendly foreign tourists, or a regular who hasn't left the bar stool for months. Happy hour includes dollar shrimp, oysters, and clams, and a cheap beer can often be found. There are plenty of other places in town to go for artisanal or fair-trade food, but Governor Bradford provides the rare delicacy of locals with good stories, and a bartender probably harboring some solid life advice.
Governor Bradford, 312 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-2781
The Red Inn
Usually reserved for date nights or celebratory dinners, The Red Inn is on the finer (more expensive) side of the dining scene in Ptown, so their Happy Hour is a particularly special occasion. Oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp will only put you back $1.25 per piece, but the special is extended to other menu options including creole pate, spicy lobster corn chowder, ceviche and more, meaning you can explore their well-crafted and even better respected menu at a discounted price. Feel free to still bring a date or celebrate, the ambiance is always at full value.
The Red Inn, 15 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-7334
The Whaler's Wharf
The Whaler's Wharf in Provincetown could be thought of as the most charming seaside imitation of a mall. Instead of central fountains, it looks out on an actual sea. Instead of a parking lot, it connects directly with the pedestrian-friendly Commercial Street. Instead of a food court, it houses a number of independent restaurants, with Ross' Grill among them. Located on the 2nd floor of the Wharf, Ross' Grill has great porch views and the best time to enjoy leaning out over the railing and exclaiming "I'm the king of the world!" is between 3 and 5pm for their raw and tapas bar happy hour. Wellfleet oysters and jumbo shrimp are only $1.25, and the tapas inclusion means cheeses, Serrano hams, chorizo and other Spanish snacking accompaniments.
Ross' Grill, 237-241 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02660, 508-487-8878
Ciro and Sals
It could be considered cheating, but the early-bird special at Ciro and Sals could also be considered the most extreme version of a happy hour. If a full day of sun and swimming gives you an early appetite -- or you're already in need of sobering up a bit -- then Ciro and Sals has your antidote in the form of a robust three-course Italian feast all for $30. It's a deal one would expect from a strip-mall Olive Garden with food you'd expect from New York's Eataly. It's pre-fixe so the hunger-crazed (or slightly tipsy) don't have to worry about sifting through their regular, extensive dinner menu. The stand-out pastas and seafood are still represented on the early bird menu, however -- try the locally-sourced calamari or leave it to the chef with his daily pasta special. Ease of ordering and your whole night free starting at 8pm on? Who knew taking on the elderly option could be so rewarding.
Ciro and Sals, 4 Kiley Ct, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-6444
Photo from Victor's at 175 Bradford St Ext.
For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown
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