When it’s finished, the interior of the Cape Region’s newest tavern, Coastal Taproom, will look nothing like the Gray Hare Tavern it’s replacing. For now though, all that owners Lincoln and Cassie Rogerson can see is how much work needs to get done in the few short weeks before reopening.
There’s going to be a new stage built with a great lighting and sound system, lots of TVs, a new bartop, new lighting, a fresh coat of paint and more, said Cassie, while pointing to where things will be located.
The Rogersons purchased the bar from long-time Gray Hare Tavern owners Bill and Debra Sharp earlier this summer. They said there was thought of staying open, but they knew they wanted to do renovations, so they closed for the month of August to get the work done.
At this point, most of the demolition is complete. Gone is the floor-to-ceiling wall that separated the bar in two and the smoke-stained ceiling tiles of the drop ceiling. It just feels a lot bigger in here, said Lincoln.
There will be more than a dozen beers on tap, wine on tap and they are considering a house cocktail on tap, said Cassie.
“We’re going to step up the drink menu,” she said, adding they’re removing three of four pool tables, but bringing in a ping-pong table and a shuffleboard table.
There may be people with more experience owning and operating a tavern in the Cape Region than Lincoln, but there aren’t many. This is his third alcohol-only establishment. In the early 2000s, he was part of the ownership group that ran Epoch Night Club in Wilmington. After a couple of years, he sold his portion of that business and moved to the beach full time, becoming the managing owner of Big Chill Surf Cantina. He was bought out by LaVida Hospitality in January.
Lincoln said he’s worked in restaurants, but he’s always liked the nightlife associated with a tavern. It’s a place where food isn’t the priority, and having a good time is, he said.
Gray Hare Tavern is the second tavern Lincoln has bought from Sharp, who owned the club Porky’s before it became into Epoch. Lincoln said he and Sharp have been friends for a long time. He said they always talked about him taking over the Gray Hare spot when the time was right.
Cassie is a Realtor by trade, but has years of experience managing Nalu in Dewey Beach. She said Coastal Taproom is Lincoln’s venture, but she’ll still be there. She said she’ll be putting her marketing degree to good use.
Cassie said the goal is to create a place where everybody feels comfortable. It’s going to be bigger and brighter, but this place will be all-inclusive, she said.
The Rogersons said Coastal Taproom will be open seven days a week, and they plan to have live entertainment five nights a week. Hours of operation will be 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 1 a.m., Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on Coastal Taproom, 18766 John J. Williams Highway, Rehoboth, call 302-645-9911. The expected opening date is Thursday, Sept. 19.