BANGOR, Maine — Leave your dancing shoes at home the next time you head to Barnaby’s. The popular Bangor nightclub is changing its focus and image, according to the manager of the venue.
Saturday was the last day of DJ-selected music and dancing at the Odlin Road club, according to Free Martin, general manager of the Ramada Inn and Barnaby’s Nightclub.
“As far as the venue people are used to, having a DJ and dancing, we’ve decided to go a different route with that,” Martin said Wednesday afternoon. The club will be renovated into more of a lounge or speakeasy area common in other hotels. The new lounge will retain the Barnaby’s name, according to Martin.
Renovations to Barnaby’s will cost “well into the six figures,” Martin said, adding that work will begin mid-October. The bar portion of the club remains open, but will move into the hotel’s restaurant during construction, which is expected to last about a month.
The Ramada has invested more than $1 million in its hotel’s rooms, public areas and exterior in the past six months, Martin said.
The decision to change the focus of Barnaby’s came about because Bangor has changed a lot in recent years, Martin said. Development in Bangor’s downtown has pulled away some demand for nightlife in other parts of Bangor, but the club was still well attended, according to Martin.
“We had a few hundred people in here on Saturday night, so it’s not like no one’s coming,” Martin said.
The 118-room Ramada Inn will see new competition in coming years, with a hotel planned next door to the Cross Insurance Center and another planned for the Bangor Mall area, along with several other hotels that have popped up in recent years during Bangor’s development spurt.
“Our competitors are putting out a really good product and we need to do the same,” Martin said.
Martin said the Ramada Inn is making this move after listening to hotel guests, many of whom have told management they want a place to sit down, have a beer and watch a football game.
Barnaby’s Nightclub opened in 1998. The hotel opened in 1974 with a lounge, which became known as Barnaby’s about 25 years ago.
“We’re a hotel first before anything else,” Martin said. “In order for our hotel to put out the best product and the best services for our customers we have to put our focus on that.”