New owner reopens Benjamin’s with high hopes

Posted Dec. 14, 2011, at 6:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Three months after closing, a Bangor landmark night spot has reopened with the same name but under new management.

Benjamin’s was once a thriving downtown bar and new owner Ryan Dempsey wants to get that status back for the business at 123 Franklin St.

“My goal for this venture isn’t so much based on making money as it is providing a great place for my friends to come out and have fun at a place that’s going to last,” said Dempsey, 38, of Holden. “Our theme will be ‘the downtown nightclub.’ It had that status when I first started going out, and there’s no reason for people to cab out or drive all over the place to go to a good place to dance and meet up.”

Dempsey, a splice service technician for FairPoint Communications, made good on a goal he’s had for a few years despite having to do it solo. He originally entered into the venture with a partner, who recently dropped out for financial reasons.

“I had looked at that space before the previous owners took it over,” said Dempsey, a married father of three children ages 7, 11 and 13. “I borrowed every bit I could, worked a ton of overtime, and sold my motorcycle to be able to do this. You don’t get ahead in life unless you give something a shot.”

Approximately 100 people attended the reopening of Benjamin’s — which has a 177-person capacity — on Dec. 2, according to Dempsey, who has installed several flat-screen TVs in the walls around the bar and is working on his schedule for operating hours and theme nights.

For the time being, operating hours are 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesdays, which will continue to be college nights featuring 25-cent draft beers. The club is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Wednesday will be ladies’ night with DJ Maine, Friday and Saturday will be rotating DJ dance parties, and Tuesdays will feature DJ Paul Wolfe.

“Once I get things in order, I want to organize some pub crawls, and we are toying with the idea of offering food as well,” said Dempsey, whose wife, Melissa, is also taking an ownership interest. “We’ll reopen the back deck, which was renovated last summer, once the good weather returns.”

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