Dana’s boardwalk liquor store serves boutique Bethany convenience
It took a familiar face to bring a liquor store to downtown Bethany Beach. In the two-week blink of an eye, Dana Banks-Klimek transformed her boardwalk-area gourmet shop into Dana’s Pantry & Package liquor store.
Now they’re a full-service purveyor of fine wines, beer and spirits.
It’s a boutique liquor store, but in downtown Bethany, convenience is key. Dana’s is tucked in the Blue Surf building right behind the bandstand, facing north.
Some people swing by for a quick bottle of wine after dinner. Or they need a corkscrew, cups or shot glasses. Anyone needing a fun gift will find ice cube trays, towels, barware, gift bags and even red wine stain-remover. The party is complete with sodas, chasers, and sweet and savory cocktail mixers.
“This is a convenience store. This isn’t for people to drive to. We refer our guests to our local liquor stores for a broader variety, but this is walking and biking distance, one-stop shop,” said Banks-Klimek.
But in summer, she said, “It’s going to take you 30 minutes to drive” to the neighboring stores, and then they’ll lose that downtown parking space.
Most people will find what they want to drink at Dana’s, she said. Practically every type of wine varietal and spirit is available. There are familiar names, such as Deep Eddy, Absolut, Bulleit, Crown Royale and St. Germain, but also intriguing wines worth a try, each hand-selected for the shop. Most bottles range from $10 to $80.
“I don’t want it to look like a typical warehouse. That’s not what it is,” Banks-Klimek said.
For instance, customers can choose from six types of rum, but not 10. Also, this isn’t the place to buy boxed wine or a 24-pack of cheap beer.
Popular drinks this summer were light or tropical, including Pinot Grigio and rose wines, White Claw hard seltzer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Malibu rum. It’ll be interesting to see what people want in winter, Banks-Klimek said.
“I hoped the whole town of Bethany would embrace this,” she said. The shop was “created for the homeowners and the renters in Bethany to be able to walk and bike. Just last minute, ‘I have friends coming over. John drinks Jack Daniels, or we need a bottle of wine at dinner.’ [There are] so many weddings next door at the hotel, somebody’s going to want to get champagne. So, truly created for the town limits of Bethany Beach.”
Banks-Klimek had opened Dana’s Pantry in 2015 as a gourmet shop and steppingstone to the liquor store (since Delaware liquor law wasn’t conducive to her dream of an 80/20 split of gifts and alcohol, where people could just pick up a quick hostess gift). After barely two weeks of reorganization, the package store was unveiled in late June of 2019.
Right down the street, she’s also owned The Parkway restaurant for years. It’s not easy to get a liquor store going in a town that was historically “dry,” but Dana’s isn’t the only store in town. Some people did not support a package shop so close to the beach, but other restaurants nearby serve alcohol. Alcohol is prohibited on the beach in Bethany, and the staff have been very strict about Delaware’s prohibition of anyone ages 13 to 20 in the store.
Already Dana’s staff have been listening to customers’ suggestions and wants. They can take requests for product and have already added more cans of wine — each of which is half of a bottle. Banks-Klimek said she hopes to add more descriptions and ratings to the displays as she plans food demos or wine pairings in the future.
Dana’s Pantry & Package is located in the Blue Surf building at 98 Garfield Parkway, Unit 108, Bethany Beach. Call (302) 616-2657 for details. The shop is open daily after lunch, until 8 or 9 p.m. More information is online at www.facebook.com/Danas-Pantry-Package-Store-645403165559626.
By Laura Walter