A spirited gastropub and hub of queer social life in Fields Corner with drag and disco brunches, RuPaul viewing parties and weekend dance nights. James Clements converted his family’s long-standing pub, Peggy O’Neil’s, into Blend about five years ago and runs it with his partner Luis Arzuaga. “It’s a small family business,” he says. “I grew up DJing and doing nightlife stuff, so I handle the entertainment side. [Arzuaga] makes the bar side” – including cocktails like the Burn Book (spicy tequila, elderflower liqueur, passion fruit and lime), blood orange sangria and, at brunch, a selection of espresso martinis made with cold brew from the nearby Reign Drink Lab. Chef Cesar Lopez takes care of the comfort food, with succulent French toast, Eggs Benedict, and breakfast burritos for brunch; Messy tots, fried chicken sandwiches and steak tips for dinner. In addition to the usual events, June brings special celebrations including a Heels for Hope fundraiser for BAGLY (Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth) on June 1st and a Dot Pride High Noon Tea on June 5th.
Get the big job
1310 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester. 617-265-8846, http://blenddorchester.com
Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe
A trip to Provincetown for Pride (June 3-5) would not be complete without a visit to The Canteen, the beachfront institution opened nine years ago by Rob Anderson and her husband Loic Rossignon. You never know who you might meet as you sip Frose, munch on crispy Brussels sprouts and lobster rolls, and enjoy the festive al fresco scene. Stand in line, place your order, and then find a seat to join all the other revelers. Also on the menu: tofu banh mi, grilled crab rangoon cheese, fish tacos and a perfect selection of summer cocktails. And don’t miss the rainbow cake, the proudest dessert in the country. If you need a break between drinks, head over and dip your toes in the water.
225 Trade Street, Provincetown. 508-487-3800, www.thecanteenptown.com
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Dorchester Standby dbar is the best of both worlds: a restaurant with a well-crafted, crowd-friendly menu and queer-friendly nightlife. It’s part of entrepreneur Brian Piccini and chef Chris Coombs’ Boston Urban Hospitality group, which also owns Boston Chops and Deuxave. But dbar came first, opening in 2005, a pioneer on this stretch of Dot Ave. Come for the glazed grilled chicken wings, ricotta cavatelli and honey soy ginger salmon with pea pod stalks and jasmine rice; For Karaoke, Slay Saturday and Sunday Tea Dances, stay on the covered patio, a perfect spot for brunch and COVID-era cocktails.
1236 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester. 617-265-4490, www.dbarboston.com
Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe
Located in Downtown Crossing, this wine bar/snack stravaganza/home of upbeat vibes and good music is the perfect spot to unwind. Canned fish are plentiful. There are great little bites and specials — maybe Tater Tots with caviar and garlic sour cream, or a light and elegant sugar snap pea salad, or Tautog Crudo with rhubarb curd and tomatillo salsa, or Viennese Wednesdays, where the hot dogs feature deeply unpredictable toppings. And there’s always wine, with an ever-changing list of small producers. Also on June 17th will be the second annual Pink Party, celebrating Pride, LGBTQ+ winemakers and the rose season simultaneously, with a raffle to benefit BAGLY. Owner Haley Fortier also runs Nathálie, a chic sister wine bar at Fenway.
haley.henry, 45 Province St., Downtown Crossing. 617-208-6000, www.haleyhenry.com; nathálie, 186 Brookline Ave., Fenway. 857-317-3884, www.nathaliebar.com
Josh Reynolds for the Bosto (custom credit)
Nightshade Noodle Bar
Opened in 2019, this Vietnamese-inspired Lynn restaurant is battling through COVID to emerge stronger than ever. Chef and owner Rachel Miller runs the business with partner Alex Caruso, the GM and beverage director; Although dishes are available a la carte, Nightshade’s true specialties are blind tasting menus, ranging from seven to 14 courses. The meal may include grilled coconut sticky rice pops with brown butter, tamarind pork, foie gras with amaro jelly and yuzu, Viet Cajun-style seafood, or kabocha rice cakes with green chili sauce and duck tongues. Or maybe not! The surprise is part of the joy of eating. Now open by the same team: Sin City Superette, featuring breakfast sandwiches and other ready meals, groceries and more. And this month, Nightshade Clam Shack is back, serving lunch on the restaurant’s patio.
73 Exchange St, Lynn. 781-780-9470, www.nightshadenoodlebar.com
As Executive Chef at The Envoy Hotel, Tatiana Rosana oversees the property’s Outlook Kitchen and Lookout Rooftop. Para Maria, which launched a year ago, is her latest concept – a tribute to her grandmother Maria, who helped introduce her to cooking. Rosana, who was raised in Miami by a Cuban family, features ceviche, pork mojo tamales, whole fried fish with tomato sauce, and arroz con pollo on this menu; Along with drinks like Patron Anejo Old Fashioned and Seaport Sangria, there’s a thoughtful list of non-alcoholic creations. Rosana is also the author of a new children’s story/cookbook, Arlo and the Secret Ingredient, inspired by Arlo’s 2-year-old son, Tatiana, and his real-life wife Alexis.
Envoy Hotel, 70 Sleeper St., Seaport. 617-530-1538, www.paramaria.com
Courtesy of Ritcey East
Max Ritcey, chef and owner of Ritcey East, grew up in the restaurant business and understood better than most that the business can eat you alive — or it can give you a place and a purpose. Her parents owned Ritcey’s Seafood Kitchen in Waltham, which was open for 95 years before closing in 2005. “I think in the restaurant industry we’ve forgotten where we came from,” says Ritcey. “It has become so cooking-oriented that we have forgotten about hospitality. The only reason people go to places like this is for the community and a sense of belonging.” You witnessed this as a kid, seeing people come in by themselves, sit at the counter, and talk to their mom behind the counter. “It’s so powerful to create a safe space for people to come and be themselves.” That’s exactly what they did with Ritcey East, which opened in Watertown in 2017. It’s a restaurant for everyone, serving childhood favorites reimagined for adults: the mini mac burger with secret sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun; the Hawt Diggity Dog 2.0, a Wagyu hot dog with beer cheese, bacon and crispy French onions; Mac ‘n’ Cheese topped with Chicken Nuggets and crumbled Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos. (But you’ll also find falafel, fish tacos, and salad with fennel-poached chilled salmon, plus wine, beer, and cocktails.) And it’s especially welcoming to the queer community. Ritcey, who is trans, offers pronoun pins on the front door so guests don’t have to specify which pronouns they’re using. “When I first started making the transition, it was sometimes hard to say the words – ‘Oh, I use ‘she/they.’ When I felt that way, other people felt that way too.” Ritcey’s favorite thing is when parents come in and take home a pin to take home with a kid: “It gives me goosebumps.” On June 4th, when Hosting Watertown and Waltham Pride celebrations, Ritcey East hosts an after-party with snacks, drinks and a queer-focused DJ. Proceeds go to Watertown High’s Gender Sexuality Alliance. The restaurant hosts a similar “TuesGay” event on the first Tuesday of every month to benefit a charity, often the Trevor Project, which supports LGBTQ+ youth in crisis. “Helping younger people navigate their way is so important,” says Ritcey. “I fought for a long time, longer than necessary. We need mental health resources — for everyone, not just queer kids.”
208 Waverley Avenue, Watertown. 617-744-0122, www.ritceyeast.com
Courtesy of Ritcey East
Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.