Port 251 and the Dancing Girls
By the time my friends and I got to Port 251 on Rehoboth Avenue on a Sunday late morning for the Drag Brunch, all of the outside tables were taken. The host seated us at a long table just inside the open garage door to the patio. Well, we were almost outside, and there were no humans seated within 12 feet of us on any side, so I figured we were pretty COVID-safe.
The new restaurant on Rehoboth Avenue was busy and buzzing on this super-hot day. We ordered our mimosas and breakfasty meals, while waiting for the big show. I sampled the Eggs Benedict and Bananas Foster French Toast, while friends had a Shrimp Skewer, and Lobster Eggs Benedict—all delicious.
And while breakfast was surely tasty, for this visit, it was the gals we came to see. And they didn’t disappoint. Clad in fantastic outfits, complete with full-face PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) the drag performers played to the crowd, lip-synced with precision, and made a fantastic spectacle of themselves. One queen went so far as to veer off the patio onto Rehoboth Avenue, almost stopping traffic before being escorted back onto the premises.
The crowd whooped and hollered, cheering for the drag queens as if they hadn’t seen a show in months. Ummmm, because they hadn’t. It was more fun than a barrel of drag queens and the camaraderie between patrons, performers, and wait staff (at a masked distance) felt so wonderful.
And while I visited just for brunch and Letters will write about the food, ambiance, and full menu at a later time, there are a few things I found out about Port 251 that I want to share.
First, they are unabashedly self-identifying as a gay bar. That’s refreshing. And, of course, it didn’t keep the brunch audience from being a diverse crowd, gay and straight, old and young, etc. But it’s to be known as an actual gay bar, unique in 2020 and I applaud owners Joe Maggio, Tony Sacco, and William Greene for that.
Second, although I see traditional entrees listed on the menu (Chicken Marsala and a $20 8 oz. steak on Monday nights), Port 251 aims to be more of an aperitivo bar—a slice of Italy, with its tapas-like appetizers and bubbly-heavy cocktails. It’s a place to go before dinner for cocktails and a sophisticated nosh, or a place for a full meal in an atmosphere with an urban pulse.
And I bet they make a mean Aperol Spritz, my drink of choice when in Rome. Or Florence. Or Venice. Now it can be when on Rehoboth Avenue.