Even though Rehoboth Beach is consistently rated by travel guides as one of the nation’s best and most popular LGBT resort towns, it does’t rest on its laurels. As with most years, this summer you will find a number of changes.
Tired of scrounging for quarters in order to park? Beginning May 25, drivers will be able to pay for parking spaces by phones and mobile devices using the Parkmobile system already employed in D.C.
“This will bring Rehoboth Beach into the 21st century, and I think it is a great convenience to the consumer,” says Joe Zuber, owner of Dos Locos.
The Board of Commissioners early this year agreed to change the regulations regarding restaurant and bar patios, writing new regulations to allow establishments with patios to remain open and serving food and drinks until 1 a.m. In September 2010, the city launched raids on establishments that had patios and arrested some owners of those establishments.
Rehoboth Beach has always had establishments that cater to its growing LGBT clientele. From the Blue Moon — now in its 31st year — to the soon-to-open Our Place (Henlopen Junction Mall, 715 Rehoboth Ave.), formerly the site of Nourish, which bills itself as a neighborhood bar that serves comfort food, there is a wide range of establishments to meet everybody’s needs.
Many establishments will offer live entertainment throughout the summer. The venerable Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave.), with its bright new back bar, will continue to host daily shows and Pamala Stanley will again perform from 6 to 8 p.m., from Sunday through Thursday beginning May 27. On Friday night, the Divas will perform their drag show from 9:45-11 p.m. and Saturdays at the same time will see Blue Moon Legends, a celebrity tribute show.
Many LGBT-owned establishments will host regular shows. In town, Aqua (57 Baltimore Ave.), with its scantily attired servers is a great place to be seen; the L Bar (622 Rehoboth Ave.) brings back Mandance on Saturday nights; and Dos Locos (208 Rehoboth Ave.), Cloud 9 (234 Rehoboth Ave.), Purple Parrot (134 Rehoboth Ave.) and Rigby’s (404 Rehoboth Ave.) will also host regular entertainment. Be sure to visit the Parrot’s Biergarten, where the Blade’s 2011 Best Rehoboth Bartender Jamie Romano holds court.
Sole, also on Baltimore Avenue is no more, and will be replaced by a new venture with an unusual name, (a)Muse, which will provide what they describe as locally grown modernized food. Other new additions include Cabo, a Mexican restaurant with rooftop bar and tequileria that replaces Porcini House on Wilmington Avenue; Nage (19730 Coastal Highway) is opening a gourmet deli next door called Root Gourmet. And next door to it will be a new Touch of Italy modeled on the Lewes location and featuring a sit-down restaurant.
There are many LGBT-owned restaurants in town, among them, MIXX, JAM, Eden, Finbar’s, Lori’s and Purple Parrot. And for ice cream you can go to Double Dippers on First Street, opposite of Nicola’s.
Lesbians have no shortage of options for going out. A popular lesbian-owned restaurant, the Seafood Shack (42 1/2 Baltimore Ave.) continues to serve fine food and offer great entertainment. Mikki Snyder-Hall, a resident of Rehoboth Beach notes that, “since 2003 there has been an increase in lesbian-friendly bars and restaurants.”
Among them are Rehoboth Ale House (15 Wilmington Ave.) and Charcoal Grill, which has moved from the same shopping center as Gelato Gal, to the Food Lion shopping center at the site of Zorba’s. Both Frogg Pond (First and Rehoboth Avenue) and Cloud 9 (234 Rehoboth Avenue) are praised by Snyder-Hall as being lesbian-friendly, and Saketumi on Route 1 is also known to have a lesbian following.
In addition to the many eating and drinking establishments, Rehoboth also has one of the few independent LGBT bookstores left in the United States, Proud Bookstore, which has moved to a larger location at the Village at the Sea Shops. Jocques LeClair, former manager of Rehoboth Lambda Rising, said his business “provides an outlet for those who visit Rehoboth who may come from areas that are less friendly to them.” He also promotes local authors and has provided book readings and promotions for LGBT writers. Shortly he hopes to begin a book club.
The only gay-owned coffee shop in town, the Coffee Mill (Rehoboth Mews, 127 Rehoboth Ave.) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Hoda Kotb featured this establishment on the “Today” show and can be seen there on occasion. Expect to see events related to its anniversary.
CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave.) serves as a community center, with information on the LGBT community, a meeting hall and sponsor of several popular summer events. This year the Black and White Beach Ball returns on June 3, with an event to promote local artists. Christopher Peterson, a popular female impersonator, will return for one day only, as Judy Garland, July 28, to benefit CAMP Rehoboth. Earlier that day, Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats will hold its Summer Bash, this year featuring Delaware’s Attorney General, Joseph “Beau” Biden, III. It will be held at Mariachi’s on Wilmington Avenue. The event is called a must stop-by summer event for all of the state’s political leaders, and on July 6, GLSEN will hold a beach party at the CAMP Community Center.
On the second Saturday of each month there is an Art Walk, a tour of the numerous galleries in town. Most galleries have special events featuring numerous local and national artists. There are several other gay-owned galleries in town including Gallery 50 (50 Wilmington Ave.) and Phillip Morton (47 Baltimore Ave.).
Bin 66, a favorite wine shop has wine tastings on Friday evenings at its Rehoboth Avenue location and on Saturday evenings at its other location opposite Spring Lake on Route 1.