BAR HARBOR — The Lompoc turned 30 this year. Like many 30-somethings, the beloved local bar will be changing direction, trying a new career, taking on a new purpose in life.
According to owner James Pike, the busines will be closed this winter for renovations and will open in April as Lompoc Café & Bookstore.
“The menu will be comparable to what we have now,” Pike said. The new addition will be breakfast, which the bar has never previously served. Pike said there will be bagels and other baked goods, as well as coffee and espresso.
Though the café will retain its liquor license, part of the bar will be taken out to accommodate bookshelves. Some tables will be removed as well.
“It will be less of a sit-down restaurant, more of a café,” Pike described.
They’ll still have live music, which is something the Lompoc has offered for decades.
“We’ll try to diversify events,” he said, adding theater and book readings. Pike plans to collaborate with local Bateau Press on some literary events.
“The Lompoc has been an institution for so long,” Pike said. “It will maintain its spirit, just with a different face.”
“I love books,” Pike explained, when asked what inspired the change. “Bookstores are the best. We love Sherman’s. We think we’ll be able to do something a little bit different” with the bookstore/café combination, he said.
In addition to new books, Pike said the shop will carry a small selection of used ones. They also plan to hold weekly “patio sales” with used books, comic books and vinyl records.
“The Lompoc is not going away. That’s the rumor I’ve heard most often. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“The Lompoc has always had a great local following and it still does,” said Kimberly Phillips, who worked at the bar from 1997 to 2007.
“You could always walk in and find someone to grab a beer with or play a game with. It was like a great big living room with a never-ending assortment of friends to play with.”
Phillips remembers “the mug club at the Lompoc, Bocce tournaments, scrabble and cribbage,” as well as “so many great local bands” that played live.
Barbara Maffucci, one of the original owners with her husband Doug Maffucci, “would always bring in chocolates to keep up spirits” of staff members in August, Phillips said.
“Working for Doug and Barbara was awesome,” agreed Patti Savoie, who worked at the Lompoc from 1992 to 2008, some of that time spent as co-owner with her friend, the late Kristen Klint.
Savoie started election night 1992, the year Bill Clinton was elected President. “Election nights were always fantastic at the Lompoc,” she reminisced.
The bar did not have a television, Savoie said, so they would bring one in and hook it up with cable from the apartment upstairs. They did the same, she said, when the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years, in 2004.
Since the early years, Savoie said, “all kinds of characters” have become regulars at the bar. “It’s always attracted the most wonderful people. That’s remained true: it definitely feels like home to a lot of people.”
One year, Savoie remembered, the regulars elected a Mayor of the Lompoc. This was in 2003 or 2004, she recalled. They held debates, and had eight or nine people on the ballot. Someone went down to the town office to borrow a voting booth for the Lompoc’s own election night.
“It was ridiculous, and so much fun,” Savoie said. She is not sure, but thinks the elected Mayor of the Lompoc was Caleb Davis. Attempts to reach Davis to verify this were unsuccessful.
Savoie also remembered the tight-knit community of businesses on the block. “I’d walk across the street for bread from Morning Glory. We had a nice little neighborhood.”
Savoie said she is supportive of the new phase in the Lompoc’s development. “I think that adding books and a café-feel is a good next step.” Mentioning the plans to take out part of the bar to install book shelves, she added, “Losing the bar will be the hardest part for a lot of us.”