It was a familiar sight in Rehoboth Beach, DE. An early June night found Rehoboth Avenue filled with boys ready to head into The Pines or the newly remodeled Aqua, ready to take in some delectable cocktails and the always plentiful eye candy. This summer though, things are starkly different. As the nation emerges from the pandemic and the quarantine that resulted, Rehoboth Beach, DE finds itself as one of the very first LGBT vacation destinations to open to the public.
As someone who was in attendance the night Aqua reopened to the public, the energy in the air was electrifying, yet subdued. You could feel the vibe in the air that people were simply happy to be out of the house and (safely) congregating once again, and the smiles were evident, behind the required masks when entering and exiting the venue. Diego’s Bar & Nightclub also had a low key vibe, but the promise of what is to come this summer was palpable. The phrase being bandied about so much in the media is our “new normal”, and it’s not completely off the mark. There are definite changes in how we interact in nightlife, at least for now.
Time Goes By…So Slowly
This one is fairly easy for an equally obvious reason; everyone is heading back out. That means….everybody. We have all been itching to get out of the house (all due respect, Netflix), and now that we have the opportunity to do so, we need to simply take a beat. There are going to be lines and it is going to extremely difficult to walk into your favorite restaurant or bar and simply grab a table. Many establishments are taking reservations, which is strongly encouraged at almost any venue. Take advantage of the opportunity to add a little more structure to your night out with friends and simply make a reservation ahead of time. One thing is for sure; now is not the time to pull the “do you know who I am?” card. Right behind you, there is probably a line of many more agreeable customers who are more than willing to patiently wait, pay the mandatory cover charge, and sit at the table that they wisely reserved ahead of time.
Love Is In the Air
We all have been inside for an extended amount of time, but one thing we have all been made sobering aware of is how we now have found appreciation for the purest things in life. A simple gesture like holding the door or a “thank you” to the tireless and heroic essential workers can mean a great deal; why not let those random acts of kindness flow into our nightlife experience as well? Most spaces are allowing only table service right now, and bar services is unfortunately (for now) off the table. Spaces are also mostly only open at a percentage of their capacity as well. As added stress, bartenders are now doing double duty as cocktail servers, which means that many of them will be both making and delivering our craft cocktails. While gratuities are always appreciated, simply thanking them for ensuring our cocktails or meals got to us or for the amazing job they are all doing can mean a great deal to a new version of the “essential workers”. Thank your local business managers and owners also; they have been planning this reopening since their business was shuttered and are depending on us to make it successful; appreciate them.
Just The Tip
Right now, our economy is in a downturn not seen in many years. For those of us that are working, we are blessed to be able to wake up each and every day and head into our chosen profession. Sadly, that is not the case for many, with those in the service industry being hit the hardest (and let’s not even get started on navigating the labyrinth that is unemployment in this country). These servers, bartenders, and wait staff are heading back into the work force in a new environment with new rules to follow. This one is simple; let’s show our appreciation for what they are doing-tip heavily. If by some chance, you’re lucky enough to have a drag queen offering performances (from a respectable social distance), it goes without saying; toss a few dollars at these tireless and endlessly talented performers.
Throughout this piece you are seeing several businesses that have or are about to open up at a reduced capacity. With that comes finding a way to let people know that the business is back open and ready to operate safely, and that patrons can feel comfortable heading out for a great meal al fresco or poolside cocktails. As we all enter out for our first taste of socialization outside of our home, selfies will no doubt be taken. Tag your favorite business. Let people know that they’re open and ready for business. In our own way, each and every one of us are ‘”influencers”‘; so let’s influence and galvanize our community to support these establishments.
#TableTea Has Arrived (Temporarily)
With one quick post, The Blue Whale in Fire Island, posted their latest Low Tea announcement (now rechristened as “Table Tea”) and set the tone for their entire summer of “new normal”. While we may have cocktail service now and saddling up to our favorite bar simply isn’t possible right now, it simply forces us to catch up with the people we have missed for the past few months, up close and personal. Sure, steamy Saturday nights on a dance floor and packed Sunday Tea Dance’s on the pool decks are all going to come; right now though, it’s all about the #TableTea
The next couple of weeks are going to be different for all of us. When you step back and look at the country as a whole though, we are some of the lucky ones. Many have not started their states version of a reopening, and if they have, bars and restaurants may not be among those opening. (Some establishments, like The Stud in San Francisco, have closed completely). For now, appreciate what we have, indulge in the current experience, and look forward to the moment in the not too distant future that we all will be able to be on a dance floor again.
“So let’s dance through all our fears
War is over for a bit
The whole world shoud be moving do your part
Your disco, your disco, your disco needs you”
Kylie Minogue-Your Disco Needs You