Entertainment » Culture

Playtime in Providence :: Not-Your-Average GLBT Hotspots

by Kerri Kanelos
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jan 17, 2008

The post-holiday lull and winter boredom is in full effect--people hide at home, sitting around in their jam jams and watching far too many movie marathons while desperately awaiting for the arrival of spring. However, for those who make the trek to Providence, your self-imposed hibernation is no longer a necessity.

Scattered throughout Rhode Island's capital, the following GLBT-friendly hotspots offer some of our fave, atypical activities and events for 2008--regardless of the weather outside. From the erotic to the entertaining, these suggestions are guaranteed to motivate even the comfiest of home dwellers into a nightlife-induced frenzy.

Without further delay, here are eight places you need to add to your social schedule ... pronto.


Get Your Drink On At the Colonial

For many years the Wild Colonial (250 South Water Street) was a busy establishment but overall a well-kept secret, until Esquire magazine named it one of the 50 Best Bars in America. Their stellar drink selection, above-average bar food and laid-back environment help the Wild Colonial to draw in a mix of working professionals, local graduate students and other progressive folks. For an entertaining way to survive the 2008 election, consider attending Drinking Liberally-a regular meeting of a "group that gives like minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics over beer."


Miko’s Birds and the Bees

Miko, Providence’s "friendly neighborhood sex shop," is a wildly popular store because of their superb customer service and their fine selection of all things sexy. What many people don’t know is that Miko also offers a variety of sex education classes that are exponentially more fun, comfortable and kinky than one might imagine. Classes are offered several times a month and cover topics that appeal to all sexual interests. Upcoming offerings include "Strap It On: Learning the Art of Strap On Sex" and "Blow Him Away: How To Please A Man In Bed." All classes run between $25 and $30 each and are open to people of all genders. For more information, or to register for a class, call 401-421-9787 or visit their website at www.mikoexoticwear.com. Miko is located on the East Side at 268 Wickenden Street.


Fresh Music on the South Side

The Liberty Elm, a very LGBT and biker-friendly diner, is one of the newest places to be seen in South Providence. Besides offering an array of all-natural, affordable food (without being pretentious), the diner has evolved into one of the best local venues for folk, roots and other acoustic performances. Their American Breakfast Club features live acoustic music during the diner’s delicious Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. On a regular basis, Saturday nights feature Show Us Your Roots-a live music and BYOB event with a small cover charge. The diner is located at 777 Elmwood Avenue, near Roger Williams Park & Zoo.


Bibliospeak on the Square

Books on the Square--Wayland Square, that is--boasts an impressive GLBT collection despite the bookstore’s cozy interior. The store also offers several monthly book meetings, including a lively Queer Book Club that meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Recent selections have included Leslie Feinberg’s "Drag King Dreams" and Thomas Mann’s "Death in Venice." To learn more about the book club, or to register, e-mail moderator Naomi at queerbookclub@gmail.com. Books on the Square is located at 471 Angell St.


Eclectic Dance Parties at Tazza

Located in the heart of Downcity hotspots (250 Westminster Street), Tazza Caffe is a chic one-stop caf? and bar. Saturday nights are particularly noteworthy, when Tazza hosts a weekly dance party featuring different genres of music. In the past, Saturday night themes have included House, Cape Verdean, Afro-Cuban, Old School Soul/Funk and dance hits from the ’80s. Other weekly evening events include movie viewings, open mic performances and jazz nights. During the day, customers can partake in delicious brunch items and/or beverages from the coffee bar while taking advantage of free wi-fi.


Hone Your Skills at Learning Connection

Although not as racy as the lessons at Miko, the Learning Connection offers an incredible mix of lifelong learning opportunities in topics that include wine tasting, West African drum and dance, glassblowing and salsa dancing. For business types, the course selection also includes entrepreneurial classes such as "Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business." Registration fees are affordable ($35 to $245), classes are small and most meet within the city limits. Call 401-274-9330 for more information or visit their Web site www.learnconnect.com for class descriptions and registration.


Film Critics Wanted

Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House has teamed up with the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Rhodywood, a networking group for filmmakers, to offer You Be the Judge-monthly viewings of short films that have been submitted to the RIIFF. Participants have the opportunity to critique each film and play a part in which films are selected for the festival. You Be the Judge is held at 209 Douglas Ave. on the second Thursday of each month from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 401-575-2284 or visit the coffeehouse’s Web site at www.brooklyncoffeeteahouse.com.


Va Va Voom at The Hi-Hat

Burlesque, variety shows that include music, humor and striptease, has made quite a comeback in the Providence area. There are several burlesque groups that perform locally, many through events The Hi-Hat (3 Davol Square). For a particularly good time, check out Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School-a monthly event featuring live music and the opportunity to sketch and draw beautiful transgender folks, burlesque models and roller derby ladies. For more information about burlesque or other events at The Hi-Hat, call 401-453-6500 or check them out online at www.thehihat.com.


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