BREWER, Maine — City councilors on Tuesday approved liquor and amusement licenses for one bar — Evolve Club & Pub — but tabled the license requests for another after city department heads said the business owner wasn’t quite ready.
Evolve owner Randy Drake, of Concord, N.H., was given the two licenses he applied for, with the condition that he meet all city and state requirements before the pub opens. Drake hopes the opening will happen in the next two to three weeks.
“We want to open a little pub here in Brewer on Wilson Street,” he told the council. “We’re hoping to bring a lot to the community. We’ve got some good plans and some good ideas.”
Michael Lucas, who is proposing The Timeout Entertainment Center, located on Clishman Road in the old Show Ring location, was basically told he needs to make more progress on his building before the city will issue the licenses.
The public hearing on issuing the licenses to Lucas was continued until the Jan. 12 council meeting and the agenda items were tabled until that meeting. Plans for The Timeout feature a pizza parlor, a 50-seat restaurant and small Irish pub on the first floor and an entertainment center on the second floor with a stage and dance floor.
The Evolve Club is attached to The New Stable Inn at 448 Wilson St. The bar that formerly operated at that location was closed by the city in July 2008, after the former operator failed to teach his employees to identify alcohol overconsumption.
After Drake made his short opening statement, Scott Feeney, who has been hired as the Evolve’s manager, took the podium. He said he has “heard some horror stories” about the former establishment. Feeney, who once operated the Lemon Tree in Bangor, said he has changed or is going to change almost everything about the bar, especially the character and ambience.
“The pub club atmosphere is kind of a new” way of operating, he said. “I’m planning on doing some wine tastings, like I did at the Lemon Tree. I plan on having jazz-style music, ’80s-style music.”
A background check was done on Drake, and nothing notable was found, Police Chief Perry Antone said at the meeting before councilors approved the licenses.
It was not mentioned that Feeney, whose full name is Linwood S. “Scott” Feeney, has some operating under the influence and other convictions under his belt, according to Bangor Daily News archives checked after the meeting.
Feeney was sentenced in Penobscot County Superior Court in July 1999 to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $62,500 in restitution after he pleaded guilty to misusing state restaurant taxes from the Lemon Tree in Bangor and failing to file Maine state income taxes.
Councilor Joseph Ferris said after the meeting that he remembers the Lemon Tree, but did not know about Feeney’s past convictions.
“It would have been nice to know those things and have our chief evaluate him,” he said.
Even though a criminal background check of Feeney was not required as part of the liquor license application for the Evolve Club, Ferris said he would be requesting more information about him.
“I would like to know more about this guy,” he said.
Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow said, “The manager’s name is not part of the application” for the liquor or amusement licenses.
Contact information for Drake could not be found late Tuesday night, so the BDN was unable to reach him for comment.