Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: The Lowdown on After Sundown
When visitors to Cape Cod drive over the canal they hope to check their worries at the bridge as they enter this New England paradise, one shaped by its beaches and founded on relaxation. Whether it’s a weekend jaunt or a weeklong stay, Cape Cod represents a form of escapism from whatever life one lives on the other side of the water. Time here moves a little slower, a little easier.
This has occasionally given the Cape a reputation as a family-centric atmosphere known more for its daily offerings than its nighttime ones, often excluding the 20-to-30-something sect in the process.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This story, although unscientific, sets out to refute those misconceptions, providing a CliffsNotes’ version of the fun that can be had when the sun begins to set on Cape Cod during the summer.
The Adirondack chairs that sit out in front of the Chart Room in Bourne offer the perfect place to unwind from a tough day at the beach. This is purely a flip flop-wearing crowd in an unpretentious setting offering scenic views of Kingman Marina in Red Brook Harbor. The restaurant has become well known for its mudslides and just a warning: it gets noisy and fills up by 7 PM, so arrive early.
Afterwards, a trip to the Courtyard Restaurant & Pub in Cataumet, owned by former Boston Bruins star Jay Miller, provides a more lively air, literally, as an outdoor patio, with an impressive stone fountain near the entrance. This area proves a popular spot for mingling, while those preferring live entertainment and dancing move inside.
Within walking distance of the Courtyard is the Parrot Bar & Grille, a smaller-sized venue with a similar vibe.
If dinner and a movie is the perfect date, look no further than the Falmouth Cinema Pub which combines first-run films at a fraction of the cost of a typical theater along with pub-fare classics such as burgers, pizzas and salads served right at your table.
For live entertainment, discover the next big star at the College Light Opera Company at Highfield Theatre in Falmouth, where college students from all over the country come to hone their craft in a variety of musicals accompanied by a full orchestra.
Along Main Street, also in Falmouth, the Roo Bar has the laid back vibe of a New York City lounge while next door Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub & Restaurant represents the epicenter of nightlife in town. Clientele range from the college-aged to the baby boomers, filling the pub nightly often to be entertained by Liam himself who performs a mixture of folk, rock and Irish songs. The most popular, hands down, is the “Wild Rover” which elicits plenty of crowd participation – if you don’t know the words, fear not, just look on the wall – and pints swaying back and forth to the melody.
Rather catch the game? Then head up to Bobby Byrne’s Restaurant & Pub in Sandwich, a more relaxed setting where plenty of flat panel televisions are perched above a mahogany bar catering to the sports fan in all of us.
At the Roadhouse Café in Hyannis, owner Dave Colombo has capitalized on a more sophisticated brand of entertainment with nightly performances by a piano musician or a jazz ensemble, frequently featuring Dave’s famed father at the microphone, trumpet player Lou Colombo, often accompanied by the likes of jazz giants Dick Johnson and Gray Sargent.
A more carefree setting can be found at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub & Restaurant, the largest late night venue in Hyannis, with themed entertainment, from beer pong to trivia to sing-a-longs, every night of the week that the fresh-out-of-college crowd is sure to enjoy.
With a striking orange décor, Embargo brings a splash of color to Hyannis’ Main Street, enticing the working professional with its city-slick metropolitan atmosphere and martini and tapas bar.
Baxter’s Boathouse is where to find the Vineyard Vines-wearing enthusiasts, typically chatting it up on the outdoor deck that literally juts out into Hyannis Harbor. This fish and chips eatery is often an early-evening launching point to more late-night excitement. Tugboats, further out on the harbor, has a similar atmosphere with its ample al fresco deck dining.
Down Dennis way, men looking to score points with their significant others need look no further than the Ocean House in Dennisport, one of the most romantic restaurants on the Cape with panoramic views of Nantucket Sound. This restaurant has an IT factor where one could imagine Carrie Bradshaw, of “Sex and the City” fame, hanging out with her gal pals, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda sipping Cosmos at the sophisticated bar.
For more casual evening cocktails, head to Sundancer’s in West Dennis, and let loose on the dance floor at this popular singles scene restaurant along Bass River.
Also in Dennis, Cape Playhouse, America’s oldest professional summer stock theater, is where The New York Times once wrote “Broadway goes to summer vacation,” the Playhouse’s artistic director Evans Haille said, adding “That’s as big as a compliment as you can get anywhere.”
Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Shirley Booth and Haylee Mills are some of the Oscar winners to grace the stage here. In recent years Billy Campbell, Judd Nelson and Rue McLanahan, better known as Blanche of “The Golden Girls,” are the more famous to act before Cape audiences.
No trip to the Cape is complete without a round of mini-golf and Yarmouth has practically cornered this market - the Silicon Valley of the local putt-putt industry. Pirate’s Cove features two 18-hole courses that Johnny Depp would be proud of, replete with waterfalls, cannons, sunken ships and a faux-shark.
Equally as entertaining is Bass River Sports World which has a Swiss Family Robinson-feel in its 18-hole course. After a round, release your inner-Pele, Tiger Woods, Mario Andretti or David Ortiz in the soccer cages, on the driving range, in the go-karts or in the baseball cages.
Now in its 58th year, Harwich Junior Theatre is an intimate space that often caters to families, especially those with younger children, though last year the weekend shows were more adult-oriented with a slant towards rock n’ roll.
On the fun-meter, Cape Cod’s Irish Pub in West Harwich, one of the largest standing bars on the Cape, and the Chatham Squire are at the top of the list, typically drawing a mixture of visitors and locals who regale in midnight dance-offs and late night courting rituals.
If you were successful in grabbing those digits from the beauty across the bar, the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater could be the place for the perfect first date. The only such theater on Cape Cod, it has remained a staple of the dating scene since 1957, keeping a piece of Americana alive and well in this corner of the country.
Consistently rated one of the best bars, not only on Cape Cod, but in Massachusetts by national and regional publications, the Beachcomber of Wellfleet has become a must-see for visitors to the area. Originally built in 1897 as a U.S. Lifesaving Station, the Beachcomber is perched atop Cahoon Hollow Beach and today is a destination for surfers and swimmers alike making the trek up the hill to grab a beer and soak in the rays, eliciting the emotions of a Jimmy Buffet song. At night the Beachcomber becomes a haven for regional and national acts and is a superb venue to catch a concert.
At the easternmost edge of the Cape, the Central House at The Crown & Anchor allows customers to enjoy rustic American cuisine in an upscale restaurant while people-watching along Provincetown’s vibrant Commercial Street. Those with a sense of adventure may want to check out the drag queen cabaret shows downstairs at The Crown & Anchor.
Clearly, as this small sampling illustrates, the Cape has much fun to find when it comes to après-beach cocktails and after the sun goes down.Back to Cape Cod Travel Guide Stories