Is Rehoboth Beach Too Pricey for Millennials?
Greetings Letters readers, I hope you are having a great summer. Robby from Brooklyn here enjoying another few months in this beautiful town on the coast. As usual, I have been hitting up all my favorite places here in RB; Poodle Beach, Rise gym, Aqua, The Pines, Purple Parrot, Diego’s, Iron Hill, the list goes on. [RIP to my beloved Iguana Grill; many friends worked there back in the day.]
While I absolutely love being able to live here for a few glorious months, there is one tiny little snafu in my brilliant plan—Rehoboth Beach is VERY expensive. And this is coming from a New Yorker. It seems everything here costs more money than it would in NYC. Considerably more. I do like to go out. Often. However, here in Rehoboth Beach, I find myself having to pick and choose nights to go out, and which shows to attend, in a way I have never had to before.
Case in point—a friend was visiting from Philly last week. We wanted to go to a drag show and tried to get tickets for a Wednesday night show at a ‘colorful’ gay bar/restaurant in town. The show started at 9:30 p.m. However, a dinner reservation is required with a $25 MINIMUM PER PERSON food requirement. You have got to be kidding me, on a Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m.? I love a drag show, but there is no way I am eating $25 worth of food to see one.
The same performer was at another gay bar later in the week for a show from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. No cover; no minimum drink or food requirement. We went last week and had a blast. The bar was nicely crowded and the show was inside, with air conditioning. Drinks were $11 apiece but given the no cover and no minimum, maybe I need to pick my battles.
If you know me, you know my love (ok obsession) with RuPaul’s Drag Race and drag queens and I can’t believe I am saying this, but is there such a thing as too many drag shows? It seems every bar every night has a drag show. Is there a gay bar to go to just to sit at the bar and have a drink?
Another friend (who doesn’t drink) mentioned in passing that going out to dinner costs them no less than $45, without alcohol. I always wonder how younger people can afford to do everything. Are the restaurants pricing themselves out of certain demographics? Seeing how most restaurants are full if you call up for a same day reservation, I guess their prices aren’t too high for most.
More than once the conversation at happy hour at another gay bar in town is, “Why are there not a lot of younger guys here?” It’s quite simple: twenty-somethings cannot afford to buy $10 drinks all night. Scanning the crowd, a large number of men there are retired, many own multiple homes, and can probably afford to drop over $100 every night of the weekend. That is awesome, but not everyone can do that.
I am guessing that many of the younger gays, like I did when I was younger, pre-game at home, then choose one bar to go to around 11:00 p.m. and buy one or two drinks. At $10 or $11 each.
As the circle of life goes, older gays one day will age out of Rehoboth Beach, and the younger gays will hopefully flock to Rehoboth Beach and find it as fun and magical as we all have. A friend who participates in the drag volleyball show over Labor Day weekend mentioned this will be the 30th and final event. I asked him why and one of the reasons he said was “there is no influx of younger guys to take it over.”
Another factor to consider is the disappearance of share houses. Twenty years ago, share houses were all the rage, but now with rising real estate prices, share houses are becoming less and less frequent. How does Rehoboth Beach attract the younger demographics outside of holiday weekends?
I don’t have the answer to that question. So, until then, I will still be here, hitting the bars and the drag shows, hoping a $20 bill will get me two drinks on a weeknight. And I will be on the hunt for a $6 specialty happy hour drink. Cheers, Letters readers! ▼
Robert Dominic splits his time between Brooklyn and Rehoboth Beach. He writes for publications including Instinct Magazine and his own blog, “The Gays of Our Lives.” When he is not writing he is probably at Poodle Beach.