Airline Brewing Company has announced that it is buying longtime popular Ellsworth eatery Finn's Irish Pub and plans to reopen it this summer. Credit: Courtesy of Whisky Wolf Media

A popular downtown Ellsworth pub that closed last summer will reopen in a few months under new ownership.

What’s more, local fans of Finn’s Irish Pub might recognize the new owners. Airline Brewing Company, which already has pubs in Ellsworth and Amherst, is buying Finn’s, the brewery announced on its Facebook page Friday.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that we will now be carrying the torch forward to ensure the Finn’s tradition will live on for many a year,” brewery officials said.

Fittingly, Airline posted the news on Saint Patrick’s Day, which up until now was routinely one of the busiest days of the year at Finn’s.

“Slainte,” the brewery added to its post — the Gaelic word for “cheers.”

Gary Cresswell, who with his wife Sharon owns Airline Brewing, says they do not envision making any substantial changes to Finn’s. They plan to keep the name and are reaching out to former Finn’s staff to ask if they want to return to their old jobs.

“It’s a great community pub,” Cresswell said. “It is genuinely loved by so many people.”

Creswell said Finn’s owners, Paul Markosian and Lorena Stearns, have offered to help get the Finn’s up and running again before the Cresswells take it over. He said that while the Airline pub a few doors up Ellsworth’s Main Street features only Airline beers, they hope to feature many other Maine-made beers at Finn’s.

“We plan to keep it the same as it was,” he said. “We want to support as many of the local breweries as we can.”

If all goes well, he added, they hope to reopen Finn’s by June.

Airline Brewing Company, which brews British and Irish style beers, first opened a tasting room in the northern Hancock County town of Amherst, where its brewery is located, in 2014. Two years later, they opened a small pub built to look like a traditional British pub just up Main Street from Finn’s.

The Creswell’s also aren’t planning to make any changes to their Airline pubs once Finn’s joins the fold.

The Finn’s building has been home to numerous restaurants over the years, and features a 1930s O’Mahony railroad-style dining car as its bar space. It was also recently used as a filming location for a short film based on a Stephen King novel, 

Markosian and Stearns bought Finn’s in 2009 and kept it operating until last summer. Even though the restaurant struggled to make it through the COVID pandemic, it managed to retain a strong local following until it closed its doors.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....