The Thirsty Whale has quenched the thirst of patrons for 30 years in downtown Bar Harbor. Credit: Courtesy of Eden Realty

The Thirsty Whale, one of Bar Harbor’s iconic downtown restaurants and watering holes, is up for sale.

The Whale, as it’s commonly called locally, was put on the market about a week ago for $2.79 million and several suitors have already come calling.

“Interest has been very strong,” said Eden Realty owner Jon Hubbard Thursday between showings. “I’ve got people flying in from all over to look at it.”

The Cottage Street bar opened in 1988 and has been run by Heather Sorokin and Basil Eleftheriou for about 30 years. It’s regularly packed in the summer and is a favorite among both town residents and tourists.

When word got out that the restaurant was going up for sale, many people feared a potential change to the tavern. But most would-be buyers haven’t been looking to switch things up, according to Hubbard.

“So far, I think most people want to keep it like it is,” he said.  

Sorokin and Eleftheriou have offered to train any potential buyers of the business, according to the listing.

The bar, which is closed until spring, attracts families and a lunch crowd during the day. At night, its long wooden bar is prime real estate for patrons looking to knock back a couple drinks.

 Like many businesses in Bar Harbor, the Thirsty Whale has a separate employee housing building in town. It’s also available for purchase.

“That’s pretty key in Bar Harbor to get through the summer season in good shape,” Hubbard said.

Sorokin and Eleftheriou decided to put the restaurant up for sale after three decades because they are looking to slow down.

“We started to realize it’s time to take a little more time for ourselves,” Eleftheriou told the Mount Desert Islander.