BLUE HILL, Maine – It was Jill Clendenen’s birthday Wednesday. She had cupcakes, people imbibing drinks and about a month as a bar owner under her belt.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but the first few weeks of running the Brick Block, her new cocktail bar and lounge in downtown Blue Hill, has been a thrill for Clendenen.
With a menu of rotating cocktails, local beers and wine, Clendenen hopes to give people a place to socialize at a time of night when most places on the peninsula have closed.
“It makes me so happy and proud to really be providing a cool place for people to hang out,” Clendenen said Wednesday, which has unofficially become known as “queer night” at the bar.
The Brick Block, one of the few late-night spots on the Blue Hill Peninsula, is in an 1830 building across the street from Blue Hill Harbor. In its 192 years, the property has hosted an auto repair shop, a post office, a hotel and a boat-building business.
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Clendenen had a front row seat to people kicking tires on the location because her eclectic retail space Moyo Boutique is in the same building. Someone had an idea for a wine bar, another was interested in a breakfast and lunch restaurant.
But neither worked out so Clendenen pitched the landlord on her idea for a bar and lounge.
She officially opened the bar last month, and if you’ve been to Moyo before, you can tell the Brick Block is run by the same person. The boutique’s vibe oozes into the lounge, and merchandise from the boutique is also set up in the bar. The setting is more cozy living room than sleek cocktail lounge.
Several of the items, such as pillows, books, glasses and other odds and ends, are for sale in the bar, and if things are slow Clendenen will take patrons over to the boutique to do some after-hours shopping.
Though it’s a welcoming and playful space, it’s still a bar and definitely for adults. There is a “WAP” neon sign next to the bar for all the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion fans and another with the F-word.
But it’s still for those young at heart. Cornhole and a giant four in a row game are set up on the lounge’s deck.
The Brick Block plans to be open year-round, and Clendenen hopes to set up trivia or paint and sip nights to give the community something to do in the colder months.
Several patrons there Wednesday night said they enjoyed having a small, laid-back bar where they could stay out late.
“Everybody has said, ‘How late are you open? Are you going to be open past 8 o’clock?’” Clenenden said with a laugh. “I think people are sort of craving that.”