November 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm EST | by Peter Schott
Popular Rehoboth bar closes
Cloud 9, Rehoboth Beach, gay news, Washington Blade

Cloud 9 (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Cloud 9, a popular LGBT restaurant, bar and dance club in downtown Rehoboth Beach, closed its doors for the last time on Oct. 28. The Rehoboth Avenue establishment opened in 1993 when John Berdini, a popular Blue Moon bartender and manager, and several partners saw a business opportunity on Rehoboth Avenue. The business was owned by Glenn Thompson until Berdini and his partners bought it in the mid 1990s. Thompson was also the owner of the popular Renegade, a dance bar on Route One, and several bars in D.C.

Because the new owners are expected to change the building, it will lose its dance hall license. It is not clear what the new owner will do with the space.

Berdini, who is straight, saw Rehoboth as a blossoming gay resort in need of an in-town venue for the LGBT community. Richard Barnett, author of “The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town,” said that Cloud 9 restaurant, which catered to straight as well as gay patrons, played a great role in making the straight community more accepting of the LGBT community during a period when a number of people in town, including the mayor, were concerned about the presence of a gay establishment right across the street from Town Hall.

Steve Fallon, owner of the retro gift shop, Gidget’s Gadgets, said that the closure of Cloud 9 reflects a change in Rehoboth, in which more and more establishments are catering to the LGBT community on Route One.

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