The Bar Exam

Our resident party boy tested a few great places to get your drink on.
These earn the As.

Page 2: Wilmington, continues…
Page 3: Wilmington, continues…
Page 4: North Wilmington
Page 5: Centreville-Greenville | New Castle-Newport
Page 6: Bear-Newark
Page 7: Hockessin-Pike Creek | Middletown | Dover-Smyrna
Page 8: Lewes
Page 9: Rehoboth Beach
Page 10: Dewey Beach
Page 11: Bethany Beach-Fenwick Island
Page 12: Pennsylvania-Maryland
Page 13: The Trials and Tribulations of a Hot Bartender
Page 14: Why Dewey is Bar Capital of the Coast


C.W. Harborside on the Wilmington Riverfront is hot, especially on warm evenings.Wilmington

From the twisted mind of Jen Daker, bartender extraordinaire at 1717 (1717 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 655-5080), comes a martini list that would give James Bond conniptions. At 1717, specialty drink choices number in the dozens and change monthly, but they usually share one trait—the ability to knock you on your backside. Credit more premium spirits and fewer sugary extras. The bistro is famous for its espresso martini of coffee liqueur, hazelnut liqueur, Cruzan dark rum and fresh espresso. Daker’s is also the mind behind the Macaroon martini, the Tootsie Roll martini and the Seattle Stout, which pairs Starbuck’s coffee liqueur with a pint of Guinness. How do these creations make it from the drawing board to the blackboard? “Usually it’s the regulars,” Daker says. “They let me experiment on them.”

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Rock on at Blue Parrot Bar and Grille (1934 W. Sixth St., Wilmington, 655-8990), where live music combines with classic hurricanes to create some, er, memorable occasions in the Voodoo Bar. Beads, anyone?

Owner Don Scalessa ensures that his cozy Café Scalessa’s (504 Greenhill Ave., Wilmington, 656-0955) is a nightspot where people actually dance on weekends. Maybe it’s the disco ball, but the place has been known to get pretty wild from time to time.

Catherine Rooney’s (1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 654-9700) sort of typifies the Trolley Square crowd. These college grads are still out for a wild, beer-soaked time, but have graduated from Busch to Smithwick’s, Harp and Stella Artois. The free buffet on Fridays during happy hour is a huge draw. Pubby and comfortable, it may be as close to Ireland as you can get in Wilmington.

CR Hooligan’s (1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 652-2255), the sporty sister of Catherine Rooney’s, is the best spot in Trolley Square to catch a game. It’s tough to compete with its two 92-inch projection screens.

Check Crimson Moon Tavern (909 W. Sixth St., Wilmington, 654-9099) in Little Italy for daily drink specials and original live music. Remember: You heard ’em here first.

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C.W. Harborside’s (110 S. West St., Wilmington, 658-6626) new image came with a renovated bar that includes pool tables, a jukebox and plasma TVs. The wide open space and a great rotation of DJs—plus the vivacious Harborside Girls—have turned C.W. into a hot night spot.

Page 2: Wilmington, continues…


Dead Presidents Restaurant and Bar (618 N. Union St., Wilmington, 652-7737) has a beer list that’s more Dublin than Little Italy, and the place is a relaxing neighborhood hangout in the coolest of ways. Catch the game here with people who actually care enough about the teams not to talk over the them.

The next wave of Wilmington power people—think bankers, lawyers, etc.—head to the urbane, upscale Deep Blue (111 W. 11th St., Wilmington, 777-2040). What makes it so snazzy? Credit the impressive wine list, specials on oysters (instead of wings) and the hip, upscale vibe. The open space allows everyone to see everyone else. On Wednesdays, $3 tapas go great with $4 glasses of Wente Riesling, and live music on Friday nights draws a bit of a younger crowd.

Watch your step on the way out of Del Rose Café (1707 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 656-3015): the first is a real doozie. This modest tavern was a Trolley Square fixture long before the neighborhood became known as Trolley Square. There’s always live music. There’s never a cover.

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The Rebel Restaurant in Wilmington is known for its great happy hours and tasty bar food. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliThe bar is tiny, for good reason, but there is no better place to sample wines from around the world than Domaine Hudson Wine Bar & Eatery (1314 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 655-9463).

Chic Exchange on Market (902 N. Market St., Wilmington, 351-4074) serves the mysterious X, a combo of Bacardi O, lychee liqueur, triple sec and orange juice. It’s hot with the after-work crew, which also appreciates the extensive wine menu, and the more up-tempo late-night crowd.

Some of the best culture clashes go down at Gallucio’s (1709 Lovering Ave., Wilmington, 655-3689), a classic neighborhood place known for gourmet pizza and, now, karaoke. On Saturday nights, cozy up to the bar to hear octogenarians murder Sinatra and 20-somethings butcher Britney. It’s all good.

Harry’s Seafood Grill (101 S. Market St., Wilmington, 777-1500) is the hip place for Wilmington’s movers and shakers. With its backlit central bar on the Christina, its esoteric martinis (like the Elderflower cocktail, with rosemary-infused ruby red vodka, St. Germaine liqueur and grapefruit juice), the power crowd rocks out to the Beatles and The Doors on Friday nights.

The Green Room Bar in the Hotel du Pont (11th and Market streets, Wilmington, 595-3100) is without a doubt the most elegant place in the state for an intimate drink.

Iron Hill Restaurant and Brewery (147 E. Main St., Newark, 266-9000; 710 S. Madison St., Wilmington, 472-2739) was a revelation when it opened—and it’s still growing. Brews such as Pig Iron Porter consistently win awards, and seasonal specials keep the selection interesting all year. The Wilmington location hops after work upstairs, downstairs and outside. In Newark, it’s the place UD undergrads take their visiting parents, then head back after they’ve left to down more raspberry wheat beers.

Named after Old Hickory himself, the Jackson Inn (101 N. Dupont Road, Wilmington, 652-9972) has been around since the late 1700s. The legend goes that Andrew Jackson visited the place during a campaign stop. Today it’s a comfortable spot for regulars to down Yuengling, munch on secretly coded cheese steaks (try the F11), quaff a Sam Adams and, on Fridays, enjoy live music.

Page 3: Wilmington, continues…


A Wilmington landmark since the 1800s, Kelly’s Logan House (1701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 655-6426) is still the crown jewel of Trolley Square, with bars on two floors, two outdoor decks, jammed dance floors, local bands, beer sponsors and more of the things that drive the party people crazy. Loop nights and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are the stuff of legend.

Kid Shelleen’s (1310 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 658-4054), once thought of as the spot for predatory middle-agers, is skewing younger these days. Thank DJ dance parties, better drink values and contemporary music. Both the old guard and the new regime turn out for No Whining Wednesdays, when all wine bottles are half priced.

Mikimotos Asian Restaurant (1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638), the hip, upscale-casual sushi haven, has enclosed its former patio so it could enlarge its über-cool lounge. That’ll make the patrons of Sushi Happy Hour (two-for-one sushi from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) very happy, even without the aid of Miki’s signature sake drinks.

Bold Spanish wines at Orillas Tapas Bar (413 N. Market St., Wilmington, 427-9700) naturally go great with straightforward and flavorful tapas. First-time visitors, go for the flavorful Marco Real Tempranillo, which is akin to a Pinot Noir. The sangria, stored in mini-barrels behind the bar, refreshes the palate afterward.

The Rebel Restaurant (201 N. Market St., Wilmington, 658-2018) is one of a handful of places tasked with revitalizing Wilmington’s Market Street. So far, it’s impressed a lot of the after-work crowd with its colorful, upbeat environment, great happy hour, event specials and terrific bar food. The late-night crowd, spurred by live music, buzzes on the weekends. Try a Caribbean-kissed Rebel Yell.

Two-dollar Pabst drafts all day—it’s pretty much all you need to know about narrow Scratch Magoo’s (1709 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 651-9188), a Trolley Square staple where slender people have an advantage at the bar. With a food and drink special every day, there’s always a reason to drop in. And how many places still sell buckets of beer?

Choosing a draft beer can be tough at Washington Street Ale House in Wilmington. The bar keeps 24 beers on tap, including local microbrews such as Twin Lakes and Dogfish Head. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliDrink specials run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night at Timothy’s Riverfront Grill (930 Pettinaro Park Drive, Wilmington, 429-7427), but even better is the Friday happy hour, with its free buffet and carving station. This summer, check out the waterfront patio.

No disrespect to the baseball hat-wearing throngs that haunt much of Trolley Square, but Toscana Kitchen + Bar (1412 N. Dupont St., Wilmington, 654-8001), with its quiet lighting and sophisticated wine program, might not be the place for you. “We’re like Trolley Square’s bar for grownups,” says owner Dan Butler, who just installed TVs at the bar.

A cozy fireplace and contemporary lounge make Union City Grille (805 N. Union St., Wilmington, 654-9780) a nice place to unwind. We dig the super-big, super-plush chairs. Grab half-price bottles of wines with a prix fixe meal on Mondays.

Washington Street Ale House (1206 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 658-2537) keeps 24 beers on tap, much to the delight of CEOs, city councilmen, worker bees, weekend warriors and everyone else who packs the intimate bar. Most beers are small-batch kegs and microbrews (including four Dogfish Head selections at all times). Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat No. 9, Boddington’s, Anchor Steam and Washington Street Warped Ale all get a pull, and customers can sample a four-draft flight for $6.

Page 4: North Wilmington


The spacious Cork Bar at the new Pizza by Elizabeths in Greenville offers a selection of 40 wines, as well as beer and cocktails. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliNorth Wilmington

Thanks in large part to sommelier Anne Hood, the staff at Harry’s Savoy Grill (2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington, 475-3000), is expertly trained at suggesting wines, which is good, since the selection is wildly diverse, much like Harry’s customers. Monthly wine tasting flights are always well attended, as is live, local entertainment, which hits the bar every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 8:30.

Punks, metalheads, roller girls and burlesque dancers finally found a place to call their own when Mojo 13 (1706 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, 798-5798) opened its doors. This is the place to hear cutting-edge live music.

Sure, Scrimmages Restaurant and Pub (4723 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-8638) has the TVs—28 in all—but it’s the neighborhood atmosphere, $18 beer towers and trophy ribs served in real trophy bowls that lure the sports fiends.

Credibility hangs on the walls of Stanley’s Tavern (2038 Foulk Road, Wilmington, 475-1887), along with all the nifty sports memorabilia. The gold standard for Wilmington sports pubs has created an inner circle of athletes, former athletes, sports commentators and professionals who lend their names and expertise to the Stanley’s cause. Former Eagle Bill Bergey appears regularly for promotions and games, as does Kevin Reilly. Former coach Dick Vermeil is a friend of the restaurant, as is Arnold Palmer and Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. Aside from the cameos, Stanley’s packs in 300-plus patrons on game days. There are 30 TVs, plus slammin’ food and drink specials. Owner Steve Torpey likes the fact that families can get a table, eat in comfort and still catch the game.

Classy Sullivan’s Steakhouse (5525 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 479-7970) features a staggering martini list and a baby grand piano. Even classy people love a good deal: Grab half-price entrées at the bar on Thursdays.

Page 5: Centreville-Greenville | New Castle-Newport



Buckley’s Tavern (5812 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 656-9776) owner Dave Weir likes to joke about the Rolls-Royce parked next to the pick-up truck in his parking lot. “It’s pretty eclectic here,” he says. “That’s kind of the Buckley’s thing.” Summertime mingling on the upstairs terrace is unbeatable, especially with a cool Twin Lakes brew in hand.

A neighborhood pub with an upscale vibe, Cromwell’s Tavern (3858 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 571-0561) does martinis and craft beer right. Live music on Thursdays and a great late-night menu add to the charm.

The Cork Bar—30-feet long and decorated at its base with real cork ends—at new and improved Pizza By Elizabeths (4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-4478) made a real splash when it opened in winter. It’s a picturesque setting for sipping any of the 40 wines available, and the bartenders always give generous 6-ounce pours into larger glasses so the wines have lots of surface area to breathe.

New Castle-Newport

With some cozy new renovations to the former Hi Ho Tavern, the new James Street Tavern (2 W. Market St., Newport, 998-6903) serves its customers Siren Specials ($2 beers, $3 rails and $3 glasses of wine) whenever the siren from nearby Minquas Fire Company rings. A renovation has brightened the place considerably, and it makes a serious—and successful—attempt at serving great food. As extreme makeovers go, this one earns the highest of marks.

JB McGinnes Pub & Grille (519 E. Basin Road, New Castle, 322-4766) is a great dude’s hangout, with LCD TVs, pool tables, Texas Hold ’em tournaments, and yeah, beer. Live music from the likes of Burnt Sienna brings the ladies out.

It’s still more restaurant than bar, but the beer selection at Jessop’s Tavern (114 Delaware St., New Castle, 322-6111) is outstanding, with 13 drafts, like Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter and an extensive collection of bottles (like Belgian Delirium Tremens). Quite a few British immigrants have made this their local.
The spacious bar at Polidoro Italian Grill (129 N. Dupont Hwy., New Castle, 322-1500) is perfectly fitted to dinner and dancing to live music on Saturday nights.  Even better, Peroni drafts are $2 during happy hour.

Page 6: Bear-Newark



At Caffé Gelato (90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811), a newly installed 10-seat granite bar offers selections from the 1,500-bottle wine cellar.

The Deer Park Tavern (108 W. Main St., Newark, 369-9414) has evolved over the years, and every generation will claim it lived through The Deer Park’s glory days. It’s still the best place in Newark to celebrate a 21st birthday, play trivia and hear live music. Don’t forget your mug on Thursdays.

East End Café (270 E. Main St., Newark, 738-0880) might just be the best place in Newark to catch a live band. College kids and locals mix for acts that range from Clobbersaurus to David Bromberg. Even the beer taps reflect a wide range of tastes. Will that be a Blue Moon with an orange wedge or a Pabst Blue Ribbon?

For the enlightened college crowd and other Newarkites, there’s Home Grown Café (126 E. Main St., Newark, 266-6993), with its flower-power vibe and excellent selection of microbrews such Rogue, Flying Fish and lots more by the bottle. Live musical acts pop in often, and trivia is a hit with the college crowd.

Horace Shellhammer’s (9 University Plaza, Newark, 738-0758) gets a lot of late-shift folks from Christiana Hospital who appreciate the great late-night bar menu and eclectic crowd, mostly regulars. One wacky wrinkle at this otherwise unassuming spot are the Candy Cocktails served on Saturday nights. The staff infuses vodka with anything from Skittles to Werther’s Originals.

Kildare’s (45 E. Main St., Newark, 224-9330) is Main Street’s newest hot spot, with nightly specials, Quizzo, and copious amounts of Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Boddingtons.

Consistently popular Klondike Kate’s (158 E. Main St., Newark, 737-6100) packs in college kids with DJs, live music and 90s night. In the summertime, locals prefer the patio of this Victorian classic.

Papa Rays Sports Bar-B-Q (16 Marrows Road, Newark, 368-4545) has a loyal local following, thanks to its sublime guy food (several varieties of wings, ribs, pulled pork and burgers), its NFL Sunday Ticket subscription, dart boards, Golden Tee machines, pool tables and more.

Pat’s MVP (160 Elkton Road, Newark, 738-0808) draws a diverse sporting crowd, from UD students to local families. Manager Nick Karidas says it’s because of the fun environment Pat’s fosters, plus a $5 drink menu during games.

A Piece of Ireland (2 Chesmar Plaza, No. 3, Newark, 454-1900) might be the coziest place going. The traditional Irish pub features a 42-foot bar, pub grub, live traditional music on Wednesdays and a roaring fireplace.

Patrons of Potstickers Asian Grill (1247 Churchmans Road, Newark, 731-0188) pack the cozy bar for the unique martinis, mojitos, cosmos and powerful, color-coded Liquid Remedies. They’ll cure what ails you. The beautiful mural of grazing cattle will keep you rapt.

The potent handcrafted brews at Stewart’s Brewing Company (219 Governors Plaza, Bear, 836-2739) give regulars a reason to return. The Stumblin’ Monk Abbey Trippel is a Belgian-style award-winner. The bar food is popular, as is the beer-infused ice cream desserts, courtesy of Woodside Creamery.

Page 7: Hockessin-Pike Creek | Middletown | Dover-Smyrna


Hockessin-Pike Creek

Dome Restaurant and Bar (400 Lantana Drive, Hockessin, 235-2600) is known for its eclectic, sometimes wacky menu, and it’s the same way with drinks. “Our clientele trusts us to give them something different and execute the classics well,” says general manager Bryan Jariwala. See the cucumber-mint martini, made with homemade cucumber water and imported Swedish vodka.

Order a Ketel One-packed Route 41 martini from the beautiful mahogany bar at Six Paupers Restaurant & Bar (7465 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 489-7287) and keep with the local theme by chasing it with a pint of Twin Lakes pale ale.


Tom Foolery’s Restaurant and Bar (714 Ash Blvd., Middletown, 449-2211) has emerged as the place to be in Middletown, and it’s one of the only places around with live entertainment. Locally legendary bands and daily specials ranging from beer to omnipresent Jägerbombs makes Tom’s a diverse place.


Drinking options are many at Dover Downs. The new Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House (1131 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 857-3223) offers cold Irish brews to wash down briny oysters. The Homestretch Bar is situated for simulcast horse racing on the third floor next to the Starting Gate Snack Bar. Tranquil Waterfall Bar, on the south end of the slot floor, specializes in mixed drinks and provides some respite from the casino floor. The Lobby Bar serves top-shelf liquors, wine, and premium imported beers in an upscale atmosphere and hosts Martini Madness every Thursday. The Terrace Bar is equipped with a cigar humidor, and the Gazebo Bar is the place for live lounge entertainment while you play the slots. At the flashy new Fire and Ice Lounge, draft beer flows from ice-encrusted taps while live entertainment jams near the posh lounge. Need more? Thirty-five high-def flat-panel TVs surround the bar.

Frazier’s, formerly known as the Lobby House Restaurant and Bar (9 E. Loockerman St., Dover, 741-2420), is still a sort of secret in Dover. When the weather cooperates, the patio on Mirror Lake is unmatched.

Last fall, McGlynns Pub & Restaurant (800 N. State St., Dover, 674-0144), already a bona fide Place To Be in Bear and Pike Creek, added to the flock in Dover, site of the beloved former Blue Coat Inn on Silver Lake.

Though it’s in Eagles territory, plenty of Giants and Cowboys fans choose Sportzone (235 Stadium St., Smyrna, 223-1808) as their battleground. Order 40-cent wings and $2 drafts from the personable bar staff.

Hardcore fantasy football junkies flock to Touchdown Restaurant (1666 S. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 674-0975) for its free Wi-Fi. Set your lineup next to the cozy fireplace and nosh on any of its 13 varieties of chicken wings.

W.T. Smithers Restaurant (140 S. State St., Dover, 674-8875) draws the professionals and legislators during lunch, and the after-work crowd combines them with college students, locals and older folks. Wild drink specials that dip as low as 25-cent drafts happen from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays.

Page 8: Lewes


Agave Mexican Restaurant in Lewes carries more than 80—yes, 80—varieties of tequila. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliLewes

Is tequila the new wine? It is at Agave Mexican Restaurant (137 Second St., Lewes, 645-1232), where owner Chris McKeown treats his 80-some varieties of blanco, reposado and añejo with utter reverence. The margaritas, mixed with pure agave nectar, are simply in a different class.

Teensy Half Full (113 W. Market St., Lewes, 645-8877) may not technically be a bar, but the owners stress boutique wines and interesting craft brews as much as great wood-fired pizzas. A relationship with nearby Teller Wines helps.

With TVs everywhere showing a range of games, some Grotto Pizza locations are equipped to handle a heavy sports crowd. The granddaddy is the original Grand Slam (1200 Highway One, Lewes, 645-4900). (Newark’s Blue Hen Sports Den and the Trolley Stop Bar on Wilmington’s Pennsylvania Avenue are just as fun.)

It’s the hooded fireplace that attracts at Kindle (Paynters’ Mill, off Del. 1, Milton, 645-7887). The 360-degree affair makes quite a centerpiece in the lounge, a cozy place to warm up with a delicious wine from some unique small producers. If you’re in a sampling mood, small glasses are available.

Striper Bites Bistro (107 Savannah Road, Lewes, 645-4657) creates the ideal beach atmosphere—a seaside-cottage look, serene chords courtesy of musician Doug Segree and potent brews from Dogfish Head. Its nautical decor succeeds without being corny. Try its version of the Bloody Mary. Looking for something more interesting? Its Tom Collins gets grape juice and grape vodka instead of gin.

Page 9: Rehoboth Beach


Stoney Lonen in Rehoboth Beach hosts quite the happy hour.Rehoboth Beach

Dare to choose from one of 40 martinis at Abstractions Sushi Bar (203 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-0877), from the signature Haiku (with sake, Bacardi, pineapple juice and Sprite) to the downright wacky Eight Deadly Sins, which is loaded with P.I.N.K vodka, crème de cocoa, white and dark Godiva liqueur, Kahlua, Bailey’s and Frangelico. The decor is contemporary and traditionally Japanese at once.

Arenas Deli and Bar (149 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-1272) is a local favorite all year round for music from such favorites as the Jay Hoad Band and Lower Case Blues, for the constant sports streaming through the TVs, for the giant selection of brews, and for the great sandwiches.

Gentlemen, the South Beach vibe of the Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-6515) is still the place to party on Baltimore Avenue. It’s no wonder the deck is filled to capacity. The place features the best drag shows in the area.

Even more taps are on the way at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats (320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2739), which means more brewpub-exclusive beers like Beewolf Braggot and Surrender Monkey served at its yards-long bar. Best of all, we don’t have to share these crazy concoctions with the rest of the world—yet.

Intimate Espuma (28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-4199), as usual, is on top of high-end dining trends, as evidenced by its Green Tea-ni, which contains super-trendy green tea liqueur. The mojitos are filled with 10 Cane rum and homegrown mint.

Those who seek the fine dining touch head to Nage (4037 Highway One, No. 2, Rehoboth Beach, 226-2037) for happy hours featuring $3 martinis of house-made cucumber-infused vodka and other culinary extravagances. The bar food menu, loaded with items like crab cakes and brie salad, is just as good.

Eight constantly rotating taps loaded with tough-to-find microbrews and imports make Fins Fish House (243 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-3467) a Mecca for kegheads. Co-owner Chris Bisaha keeps stouts, wheats, Germans and Belgians in constant flux, depending on the season and customers’ requests. Regional brewers such as Straub and Victory always make the cut. The traditional pub feeling is properly British and comfortable.

Though the flagship Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant (105 Union St., Milton, 684-8889; 52 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-5758) in Lewes has had a run of bad luck, the two other sister pubs are going strong, with new renovations, popular happy hours and great beer selections.

Stoney Lonen (208 Second St., Rehoboth Beach, 227-2664) carries the triad of UK brews—Smithwick’s, Guinness and Harp—which it offers for $3 a pint on Fridays. Better yet, sneak one into your food. Smithwick’s is used to make the shepherd’s pie, and the salmon and short ribs are glazed in Guinness.

Summer House Restaurant (228 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-3895), once famous for its Long Island iced tea night, packs in customers during happy hour, a favorite among local professional-types. Inexpensive domestic bottles ($2.50) and appetizers ($2.95) are the draw at the main bar.

Page 10: Dewey Beach


Dewey Beach

The Bottle & Cork (1807 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 227-7272), for better or worse, will forever be known as Delaware’s greatest rock ’n’ roll bar. The place has hosted the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Blondie, Little Feat, Robert Randolph and plenty of other huge acts. Randolph loved the place so much, he came back for consecutive summers. The Saturday Afternoon Jam Session, the beach party atmosphere and constant energy make the place a classic.

The place provides great sunset views of Rehoboth Bay, but as an official headquarters of the Monday Night Football Club, the eight 42-inch hi-def plasma TVs at The Lighthouse (124 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 226-1680) still get the most attention. And doesn’t the legendary Taco Toss count as a sport?

What kind of tiki bar would Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Grill (1308 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach, 227-1449) be without gigantic, ostentatious, fruity cocktails? Try the Gold Rum-based Kapu (“forbidden”), which is served in a pineapple husk.

Bar-rich Dewey got a dose of Latin flavor when Que Pasa (124 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 226-1820) flung open its doors last year. The wide-open water view and tequila-laced signature drinks are tough to beat.

Thousands of sweaty, sandy, sunburned and deliriously happy folks pack Rusty Rudder Restaurant (113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 227-3888) on summer weekends to sling back Orange Crushes and dance the night away. It’s one of the best places in the state to hear live bands such as Love Seed Mama Jump weekly.

Come summertime, Starboard Restaurant (2009 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 227-4600) is essentially one big deck party. Patrons young and old flood the Dewey landmark for cheap domestic beers, frozen drinks, shots and the chance to hook up. The Bloody Mary is legendary. It’s annual closing Sunday should be an official state holiday.

Page 11: Bethany Beach-Fenwick Island


Bethany Beach-Fenwick Island

Catch 54 (54 Madison Ave., Fenwick Island, 436-8600) packs 200 boaters, golfers and other thirsty customers into its marina bar in the summertime—and even more in its 100-foot indoor bar. They show for fresh orange crushes, mojitos and other island-style drinks, plus jerk chicken wings, crab cake sliders and fried baby lobster tails. The view of Fenwick is unparalleled.

Happy Hour at Cottage Café (Coastal Hwy., Bethany Beach, 539-8710) is downright ecstatic—since it lasts pretty much all day. From opening until 6 p.m., the café’s call drinks, well drinks and the excellent happy hour menu are offered on
the cheap.

Harpoon Hannah’s (Del. 54 and The Bay, Fenwick Island, 539-3095) boasts sublime outdoor drinking from its tiki bar, with live music, any number of frozen concoctions like the aptly named Pain-N-De-Ass, which combines a piña colada and rum runner.

Set up shop with a Newcastle ale and a bowl of Quahog and Scallop Chowdah and you’ll begin to see why Nantuckets Restaurant (601 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, 539-2607) is such a local treasure. Smoked oysters in a drink? Try it.

Smitty McGee’s Raw Bar (37234 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville, 436-4716) is insanely busy during NFL season, when locals pack the pub for specials on clams, shrimp, oysters and wings. Then there are the 51 TVs stuffed “wherever we can fit them,” says manager Mel McKinney.

Page 12: Pennsylvania-Maryland



Brandywine Prime (1617 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, Pa., 610-388-8088) sees Chadds Ford’s best and brightest mingle at the sleek bar, sipping champagne martinis and Sauvignon Blanc by the glass. The excellent raw bar is within arm’s reach.

Chesapeake Inn (605 Second St., Chesapeake City, Md., 410-885-2040) and its tiki bar are awesome in summer for frozen drinks, live music, deck menu and people watching. It’s the hoppin’est place on the canal.

Great handcrafted beers—especially the smooth Unicorn Ale—make McKenzie Brew House (451 Wilmington Pike, Glen Mills, Pa., 610-361-9544) worth the quick trip over the state line, and a revamped downstairs nightclub is attracting a fresh customer.  

Page 13: The Trials and Tribulations of a Hot Bartender


The Trials and Tribulations of a Hot Bartender

Jen Brendle can handle the hits at Union City Grille in Wilmington. Photograph by Luigi Ciuffetelli

Hey, can I buy you a drink?

Jen Brendle, 28, hears it all the time from doting male fans at Union City Grille in Wilmington, where she tends bar two nights a week.

Her popularity has led to her own signature drink, the Brendle-tini (with Absolut pear, Godiva liqueur, Licor 43 and cream), plus gifts from her devotees. Drinks, dinner invitations, bottles of wine and even New York Mets tickets are placed at the Altar of Brendle.

Bartender Ashley Schuler got a marriage proposal.

“This Mexican guy, his visa was close to expiring, so he offered me $8,000 to marry him,” says Schuler, 23, who tends bar at Washington Street Ale House. She considered the offer carefully, but declined.

“You form personal relationships with these people because you’re seeing them once or twice a week, which is sometimes more than your close friends,” Brendle says. “So you get to know about them personally.”

But Brendle knows exactly how to play the game. “Of course, one of the biggest rules is you never let them know you have a boyfriend,” says Brendle, who does. “You either have no boyfriend or, like, five.”

Schuler gives hope to all the—ahem—“regulars” out there. She met her boyfriend on the job.

“At times it can be overwhelming,” she says. “You can feel them watching you, which is creepy and a little annoying, but I try to keep it professional.”

Says Brendle, “I realize these guys probably are coming in for me, so I want to make them feel special.”

How deliciously diabolical.

Page 14: Why Dewey is Bar Capital of the Coast


Why Dewey is Bar Capital of the Coast

The revelry at the Bottle & Cork is legendary.

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.

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