BAR HARBOR—Ownership of Cottage Street’s Finback Alehouse has transferred from Matty Haskell to local restaurateur Dale Stockburger, but he and his managing partner Tessa Hartley have plans to keep everything the same, from the name to the food.
Chef Victor Menuses and culinary leader Sarah Cassella, who worked with Stockburger years ago, were brought on board to prepare pub-style meals, and the beers from various breweries in Maine that customers are used to will continue to be offered, along with some possible enhancements.
“I’ve got another old friend of mine who is deeply entrenched in the beer world that’s going to help me with the beer menu,” Stockburger said. “[Finback Alehouse] always had really great selections of beer, so we’re going to keep working on the beer section.”
Stockburger grew up in Bar Harbor but lived in Portland for 20 years before coming back to his hometown. “When returning here, I was able to take over the Epi’s [Pizza and Subs] business when it became available, then I was able to buy the building and sell the business, so I owned the Epi’s business for four years, eight years ago,” he said.
After selling Epi’s, Stockburger bought the building that houses his current bar, Cottage Street Pub.
When Stockburger was given the opportunity to buy Finback Alehouse, located just across the street from his current bar, he jumped at the opportunity to own a piece of his own history. “Part of my growing up has been here in this bar, and so when it became available a few months ago, I had to buy it,” he said. Pointing to a corner of the bar stacked with cleaning supplies, he added, “Right there, when I turned 21, I had a Beck’s Dark. Never ever in my wildest dreams did I think when I was in my 20s hanging out here after work and stuff that I would ever own this place.”
The building boasts an art deco tin ceiling and a wood bar with benches that were built by a shipwright back in the ‘70s. “They bended the cut of this wood to make [the bench] look spectacular,” Stockbuger said. “The details make it look like the inside of a very expensive yacht from the ‘30s.”
Stockburger intends to make a few adjustments to the structure in the future. Seven years ago, a garage-like door was installed to the front of the restaurant where he wants to install an additional bar with more seating for guests.
But for now, he’s focusing on the Finback Alehouse’s grand opening that is scheduled for the second week in May. “We look forward to adding to the excellent reputation that Finback built here during this 2021 season,” he said.