Diava Deupree opened Lucky Betty's in downtown Camden last fall. Credit: Lauren Abbate / BDN

CAMDEN, Maine ― If you’re in the mood for a negroni, but also a fluffernutter sandwich ― or a Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boy served with a side of castelvetrano olives ―  a new bar in Camden has just the vibe you’re looking for.

The spot is Lucky Betty’s, a cozy and slightly cheeky bar housed in a former garage on Elm Street. Everything about the bar is a little different — including when it’s open.

Daiva Deupree, of Lincolnville, opened the bar last September. She wanted to offer a place where people could grab a drink in a nice ambience, but not a fancy one, that had a little something for everyone.

“It’s nice, but you can have cheeseballs if you want and there’s free candy and I’m always doing something goofy here,” Deupree said. “It’s just a mix. It’s who I am. Highbrow [and] lowbrow.”

Lucky Betty’s carries on, in part, the brief legacy left by Betty Forever, a former art gallery that doubled as a restaurant and bar in the same Elm Street space. Deupree worked as a bartender at Betty Forever when it opened in September 2019. But when the pandemic hit in March of 2020, it closed.

During the pandemic, Deupree daydreamed about Betty Forever reopening and getting back behind the bar. So when Betty Forever co-owner Molly O’Rourke approached Deupree last spring about taking over the space and running her own bar, Deupree said yes.

“But then I was like ‘What am I doing? Just because you had a daydream about opening a bar doesn’t mean you actually should open up a bar, are you crazy?’ But I just went with it and here we are,” Deupree said.

A Florida native, Deupree spent her high school years in Camden before moving to New York City where she focused on acting and teaching theater arts. But eventually she began gravitating back toward Maine, purchasing a home in Lincolnville, and splitting her time between there and New York City.

Prior to working at Betty Forever, Deupree had worked in the restaurant service industry but never as a bartender. But she always wanted to try it, and learned fast. After Betty Forever closed, Deupree began working at another local Camden restaurant as a bartender as well.

Lucky Betty’s is, in part, an extension of Betty Forever, a former art gallery that also functioned as a bar and restaurant. Credit: Lauren Abbbate / BDN

Deupree didn’t open Lucky Betty’s with a clear plan for what the bar would be, only a loose inspiration that she wanted to have offerings that were on both the cheap and classy sides of the spectrum.

“Cold PBR & fancy olives… Nice wine & grocery store roses… Mos Def & John Prine,” is how Lucky Betty’s is described on its Instagram page.

This translates into a simple drink menu with beers that range from Budweiser and Modelo to several Maine-made craft beers. Deupree said she likes to offer nicer wines, but keeps all glasses priced at $10 or less.

The bar is stocked with at least one of each type of liquor, so Deupree ― who is adamant that she is a bartender not a mixologist ― can sling cocktail classics like negronis or Manhattans as well.

Lucky Betty’s is not a food-first establishment, and the snack menu largely offers things that Deupree could make if she had to be the only employee running the bar. She’s not though — she has enlisted the help of one kitchen staff person and two other bartenders.

A current specials menu features tater tots, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles and a fluffernutter sandwich. The staple snack menu also features a meat and cheese plate, deviled eggs, castelvetrano olives as well as both soft and hard pretzels.

“There’s a little something for everyone,” Deupree said.

Lucky Betty’s is open Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is also open one Wednesday a month for live music nights.

Being open on days when restaurants and bars are often closed is a holdover from Betty Forever, which was open on Sunday and Mondays, Deupree said. But between largely running the bar herself and being able to offer a place for folks to grab a drink when others were closed, Deupree decided to keep the offbeat open days going.

What Lucky Betty’s has morphed into is largely a reflection of Deupree’s own personality.

A record player humming from a loft in the open space plays old country classics on some days or hip hop on others. A projector at the side of the bar will either be streaming a sports game or an old black and white film onto the wall.

Around the bar, prayer-style candles featuring women like Dolly Parton, Betty White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are mixed in with multi-colored tapered candles perched upon dried wax drippings.

Frequently, on a whim, Deupree will host theme nights at the bar, organizing them amongst her friends and announcing the theme on the Lucky Betty’s Instagram page.

“It feels like I’m throwing a casual party everyday, like people are coming to my house kind of and everynight is different,” Deupree said.  “It’s unexpected, you just never know.”