7th annual Washington Blade
Summer Kick-Off Party
Friday, May 17, 5-7 p.m.
35 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth
Virtually unscathed by the effects of Hurricane Sandy, all indications are this summer will be a busy one in Rehoboth Beach, Del. And with the arrival of marriage equality in the state, locals are also expecting a busy summer of beach weddings.
View Rehoboth Beach in a larger map
Beach replenishment and flood control projects should be concluded by Memorial Day. The Chamber of Commerce reports that summer rentals to date are running at least 30 percent above last year and businesses are preparing for an influx of new visitors headed farther south this year following the damage to some New York and New Jersey-area beaches.
John Glenstrup, an owner of the gay bar Rigby’s on Rehoboth Avenue, said that in addition to visitors coming here from the New Jersey and New York beaches, “people feel more secure about the economy as gas prices fall, employment is up, and the housing market is improving.”
With an increase in visitors and traffic, gay City Commissioner Patrick Gossett noted that the ParkMobile system, which was introduced last year, will be used again this year. Pre-register at parkmobile.com or by calling 877-727-5758.
Gossett also said that this year the city will experiment with providing 180 parking spaces for scooters at several locations around the city. Permits for scooter use and parking passes are available at the Parking Meter Division located behind the Convention Center.
The Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave.) begins its 32nd summer with a remodeled front bar and Pamala Stanley returns Memorial Day weekend through the summer, Sundays through Thursdays 6-8:30 p.m. Cloud Nine closed in 2012 and was set to be demolished, but the Cape Gazette reported that it has been spared the wrecking ball for now and has been rented for the summer. Aqua (57 Baltimore Ave.), with its scantily attired servers, returns for another season this weekend. The L Bar (622 Rehoboth Ave.), Rigby’s (404 Rehoboth Ave.) and Big Sissies (715 Rehoboth Ave.) are all thriving. The gay-owned Purple Parrot (134 Rehoboth Ave.) is celebrating its 15th anniversary and the outdoor Biergarten has reopened.
The Frogg Pond (First and Rehoboth Avenue) has been renamed The Pond. Lesbian-owned establishments include Lori’s Café (39 Baltimore Ave.), now in its 17th season, Rehoboth Ale House (15 Wilmington Ave.), Seafood Shack (42 ½ Baltimore Ave.), and Charcoal Grill, located in the Food Lion Shopping Center on Route 1. Gelato Gal has moved and now also serves barbeque. It is located on Route 1 at Bay Vista Road.
Just before Memorial Day last year, Modern Mixture (62A Rehoboth Ave.) was opened by Leo Cabrera, popular server formerly at Mariachi’s. Its food is a fusion of Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian selections and it just got its liquor license this year.
The owners of Aqua have opened a café, Maggio and Shields, on the second level of First Street Station located at the corner of Rehoboth Avenue and First Street, and the owners of the Pond have MIXX (26 Baltimore Ave.). The new Lingo’s Market is scheduled to open Saturday in the Village by the Sea Mall. Gay-owned Universal Gear (46 Baltimore Ave.) has already opened for the season. If you like Italian food, check out the new Frank & Louie’s Italian Specialties (58 Baltimore Ave.) and a new Touch of Italy is rumored to (finally) be opening on Route 1 near Nage by Memorial Day.
Of course, Rehoboth is not only about eating and drinking. There are lots of other activities and many businesses throughout the city that are LGBT owned or friendly to the community.
There will be numerous events throughout the area all summer, including a monthly Art Walk, shows at Clear Space Theatre on Baltimore Avenue and readings at Proud Bookstore (Baltimore Avenue at the Village by the Sea Mall).
As Rehoboth Beach has become a more popular place to live, play and shop, not all of the activities are restricted to downtown. You can find plenty of outlet shops, restaurants, the Midway movie theater and specialty stores along Route 1, also known as Coastal Highway.
Several events will be sponsored by CAMP Rehoboth, the local gay and lesbian community center. They now have a theater attached to the Center (37 Baltimore Ave.). The popular Rehoboth Foodie blogger now has an app — Rehoboth in my Pocket — for your iPhone or Android devices.
The main two beaches that attract an LGBT crowd are Carpenter’s Beach (better known as Poodle Beach) at the south end of the Boardwalk or Gordon’s Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park, north of the city.