The Bar Exam
Our resident party boy tested a few great places to get your drink on.
These earn the As.
research assistance by Caitlin Birch
(page 14 of 14)
Why Dewey is Bar Capital of the Coast
Dewey Beach is to bars as Switzerland is to chocolate. The tiny town teems with nightlife on summer weekends, its 18 blocks turned into a party of Mardi Gras proportions.
For generations, folks from Delaware, D.C., Virginia, Philly and everywhere in between have returned to Dewey to party. They can’t get enough of stumbling across the wooden decks of the Starboard or howling along to the Fabulous Grease Band at the Cork.
“Dewey becomes a tradition for so many families,” says Dewey Mayor Dell Tush. “We deal with noise and alcohol issues, which is ongoing. It’s never going to go away. But I don’t think a majority of the property owners would want it to go away.”
The town, which holds about 300 year-round residents, swells to as many as 45,000 on holiday weekends. And there is no shortage of bars to serve them. The Starboard, the Rusty Rudder and the Bottle & Cork are the holy trinity, but there’s also Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill, Northbeach, the Lighthouse, Mike’s Frozen Tundra, McShea’s, Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Jimmy’s Grille.
Vikki Walls, who books shows for the Cork and the Rudder, says the built-in tradition of bars in Dewey Beach creates that unmistakable party atmosphere.
Tush agrees. “Rehoboth Beach was founded on religion, so people have always pressed on to Dewey,” she says. “Look around. The Cork has been here for 73 years, and the Starboard is 50. That in combination with the beach, the bay, the lifeguards, the restaurants,” makes Dewey the place to be.