BANGOR, Maine — Another addition to downtown Bangor’s restaurant and bar scene will be joining the ranks sometime in September.
Happy Endings Martini & Dessert Bar, a bar promising creative martinis and cocktails and house-made desserts, is set to open at 32 Main St., between Paddy Murphy’s and Bella Hair Studio. The location has been home to a number of businesses over the past 10 years, including antique shop Needful Things, movie and video game rental shop Edge Video and, most recently, home goods boutique Ruffles and Ribbons.
Owner Melissa Smith, who also co-owns the Penobscot Pour House on Larkin Street, is in the midst of renovations on the space.
“We’re building everything in there from scratch, so I’d guess it’ll be at least a month before we open,” Smith said. “We’re shooting for after Labor Day.”
Smith, a Maine native, has lived in the Bangor region for 10 years since moving back home after living in New York. She, like many others, has seen downtown Bangor grow into a dining and drinking destination. After many years of dreaming about opening her own business, 2016 was the year she decided to actually do it.
“I’ve been a bartender forever and worked in the restaurant industry for years, and I also love to bake, so I wanted to do something that would combine the two,” Smith said. “I feel like downtown Bangor has a lot of great restaurants, and I don’t want to compete with that. I want to add to it. … I’ve always wanted to do something smaller and more intimate and upscale. Now was just the time.”
Contractors began overhauling the space last month, and passers-by may have noticed the white paper that went up over the windows in the past few weeks. The interior of the building is larger than the facade leads one to believe, boasting a balcony overlooking the main floor, tall columns and hardwood floors.
The future dessert and martini bar received necessary liquor and special amusement license approvals during Monday night’s Bangor City Council meeting, bringing it one step closer to opening.
Smith plans to offer an extensive list of martinis and specialty cocktails, alongside a full bar, a wine and Scotch list, and a selection of dessert wines and local wines. In addition to an array of desserts, Happy Endings will offer a small menu of tapas-style treats, such as fondue and vegetarian options. She also is interviewing people for kitchen, bar and serving positions.
“The idea is, you’ve had dinner and you don’t want to go home, but you do want to go somewhere,” Smith said. “You want to have a drink and a delicious dessert and to relax.”
Happy Endings will join two other bars opening in downtown Bangor this fall, including the Bangor outpost of Orono Brewing Co., set to open sometime in September on State Street, and 2 Feet Brewing, a tasting room for the microbrewery of the same name, slated to open on Columbia Street sometime this fall.
Regarding the name of her business, Smith is aware of the double entendre the phrase “Happy Endings” connotes. That’s what inspired her to name it that in the first place, after an idle conversation with a friend about her dream business.
“[My friend] said, ‘That’s a cool idea. What would you call it?’ And I said ‘Happy Endings,’ and we both burst out laughing,” Smith said. “A couple years later, and I still think it’s a great name. There are lots of businesses out there that are a reference to something that’s not prim and proper. The whole idea is this is where you go at the end of your night. And let’s be honest — no one is going to forget that name.”
BDN writer Nick McCrea contributed to this report.