Old Colony Tap has all the trappings of a nautical, nostalgia-inducing dive bar, and that’s because it is one. Exactly as grungy and historic as it looks, Old Colony has been called a “true surviving vestige of hardscrabble Provincetown.” In an episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain popped in for some Wellfleet oysters, describing the haunt as a place “where fishermen eat.”
Prior to its tenure as the diviest of dives, the building itself was home to a restaurant called the Ocean Breeze. Manuel G. Cook established Old Colony Tap in 1937, which was bought by the Enos family in 1954. Over the decades, local artists added their own aesthetic touches to the space, often practically on top of one another. James Wingate Parr “painted the walls that weren’t covered with driftwood” claimed one account in 2002, while an artist named Ernesto left his mark with a blowtorch.
The bar’s collection of decorative oddities on the walls continued to grow, courtesy of donations by local fisherman. Today, the deliberately weird blend of bric-a-brac, which ranges from tchotchkes to old life preservers salvaged from a World War II merchant ship, is very much part of the charm.
Old Colony Tap remains in the Enos family to this day. Whether it’s Tuesday at 11 a.m. or Saturday at midnight, you can find a stragglers sidled up to the bar. Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to lose track of time once you’ve spent an hour inside this maximalist time warp of a drinking hole.
Know Before You Go
The bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.