Where to dance, sing, eat and drink to celebrate Pride in RI

Finally, after a three-year hiatus, PrideFest returns on June 18. And among the full-service beer, wine and spirits vendors and garden that will be set up along South Water Street, you’ll find plenty of room to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are some Providence-area establishments where you can dance, sing, eat, drink — and even recover after the Pride Parade — with queer chefs, baristas, bartenders and owners.

Art by local residents of Providence, such as AGONZA, at Small Format, a co-op cafe that sells cocktails, mocktails, small bites, and more in Providence, RISmall format

FOR COFFEE, ART, COCKTAILS AND MOCKTAILS

  • Small format : Inside the smallest – and newest – café and art gallery on Wickenden Street, you’ll find a safe haven for the queer community. It is a space for and by queer people, founded by Tameka Eastman-Coburn. They have hung local artwork (such as works by heavenly artist AGONZA) on the walls, serve daily coffees like little lavender mochas, bagel lox sandwiches, and lovely cocktails and mocktails. Try “Your Aunties Cigar”, which is an espresso, mezcal, Frangelico, and Bully Boy amaro that’s shaken and dusted with bitter cocoa. 35 Wickenden Street in Providence, 401-808-6139, instagram.com/smallformatpvd.
  • Small town cafe and kitchen: Order caffeinated coffee and delicious homemade egg sandwiches with fresh sourdough English muffins and hearty cheeses from Little City Coffee and Kitchen before you start the party or afterwards to cure your hangover. This little joint in downtown Providence opened in late summer 2021 by co-owners Kelsey Garvin and Dave Lanning. Save room for a sweet treat in their pastry case. 170 Mathewson Street in Providence, 401-632-4440, littlecitypvd.com.
EGO Providence, an LGBTQ+ nightclub on Richmond Street in Providence, RIGlenn Osmundson

FOR DANCE AND DRAG

  • EGO-Club: Probably the best-known gay club in Rhode Island, EGO was opened in 2013 by club promoters Rafael Sanchez and the late Chris Harris – who was known as the “King of Clubs”. EGO hosts various themed parties, Detention Thursdays, Twerk Fridays and Latin Sundays throughout the year, but Pride is where it shines. On Friday, June 17, they’re hosting a block party featuring Saucy Santana, a hip hop artist whose song “Material Girl” went viral, which will perform at midnight, Sanchez said. Then, on Saturday, June 18, EGO will shut down most of Richmond Street for their “Massive Block Party” featuring guest Las Bibas From Vizcaya, a famous Brazilian divadrag DJ, singer and electronic music producer. Tickets for both events, which will run until 3 a.m. when the club closes, are available online. 73 Richmond Street in Providence, 401-383-1208, egopvd.com.
La La Anthony, left, and Saucy Santana, right, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in New York City. Andy Kropa/Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

TO SING

  • Boom boxes: Walk to the back of the elegant New York-inspired Dean Hotel lobby to enter the Boombox, a small corner karaoke bar where Rihanna’s Only Girl is likely to get beat up by a duo as a group around them acts as their back-up Chorus. Try the Miami Sound Machine ($12), a creamy and fruity rum drink combined and layered with a sake daiquiri colada. Or the Fountain Street Fizz, which uses Rhodium Forager’s gin with melon liqueur, matcha and lime cordial for a green and fresh cocktail. Bring your proof of vaccination to enter. 122 Fountain St. in Providence, text 401-217-5038 for reservations, singboombox.com.
Cathy Plourde, co-owner of Rhode Island Spirits, stands near the distillery’s tasting bar.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

TO DRINK

  • Rhodium Distillery Tasting Room: Cathy Plourde and Kara Larson are the owners and creators of Rhodium, or Rhode Island Spirits, a Pawtucket-based distillery that produces award-winning gluten-free gins, vodkas, and other liqueurs. Throughout the year, they host feminist and queer happy hours, and during Pride Month, a portion of their online sales for their rainbow apparel will be donated to nonprofits Youth Pride. RI and Trans Asylum Seekers Support Network. 59 Blackstone Ave in Pawtucket, 401-856-4111, www.rhodeislandspirits.com.
  • The stable: With courtyard seating under twinkling lights, this equestrian-themed cocktail bar is known for its “Sangria Sundays” and drag shows. On Friday, June 17, buy a beer from the stable and proceeds will be donated to Haus of Codec, the city’s only LGBTQ+ youth emergency shelter. 125 Washington St. in Providence, 401-272-6950, @stablepvd.
  • Mirabar: Rhode Island’s oldest gay bar, Mirabar, opened in 1947 in Woonsocket. Over the past few decades it has moved on and you can now find it in the state capital. On Saturday, June 18, Mirabar will host a post-parade DJ Patrick party and raffles in support of the RI Pride organization. 15 Elbow St. in Providence, 401-331-6761, facebook.com/MirabarRI.
  • To hide: Tucked under the stairs of The George on Washington is a speakeasy that has returned to its roots. The basement space was once where prohibition rule breakers served and consumed alcohol from a chilled cocoa pot in the 1920s. Now it’s Hide (formerly known as Hyde), owned by restaurateur Alex Tomasso, and velvet curtains, Swarovski crystal lamps, plush pillows and tabletop disco balls make the room an inviting place to listen to music or a comedian over a classic cocktail or two . 121 Washington St. in Providence, 401-642-6840, hidespeakeasy.com.
George on Washington owner Alex Tomasso seated at one of the Hyde speakeasy’s VIP booths.Matthew J Lee/Matthew J Lee/Globe Staff

TO EAT

  • Res American Bistro: Owners Evan Mathew, Stephen White and Ryan Whitecotton took over the downtown space after Bravo Brasserie closed at the start of the pandemic. Red leather, smoky mirrors and cozy nooks transport diners to a Parisian-style restaurant, as the menu puts a romantic spin on New American dishes. Ask for a seat upstairs, if there is one available, and sit in a banquette overlooking the window overlooking the illuminated facade of the Trinity Repertory Company. 123 Empire St. in Providence, 401-272-3965, respvd.com.
  • Crispy fries: Every weekend night, concert halls let out a flood of fans and restaurants close their kitchens. And until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, the line in front of Frisky Fries, which started as a food truck by the owners Tom Wright and Randy D’Antuono, wraps around Mathewson and Washington streets. This is where you can enjoy the best post-cocktail poutine (the classic is the Disco Dottie with handmade Vermont cheddar curd and gravy) and truffle fries. Also be sure to try the “Lil Piggie”, with pulled pork, wasabi salad and BBQ dressing. They also have a Johnston location, which closes early. 100 Washington St. in Providence, 401-228-2660, friskiefries.com.
Homemade breakfast by pastry chef and co-owner Kelsey Garvin at Little City Coffee & Kitchen in downtown Providence, RI Small town cafe and kitchen

Alexa Gagosz can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.

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