The floor bounces under the weight of more than a hundred dancers upstairs at Bull Feeney's in Portland as 90s cover band Hello Newman's plays in 2014. Bar owner Doug Fuss said the venue will reopen but declined to say exactly when. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — Bull Feeney’s is reopening.

When, though, remains a bit uncertain.

Old Port anchor establishment Bull Feeney’s has been closed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, fueling popular rumors that it was gone for good.

Not true, said owner Doug Fuss, though he can’t say when exactly it will reopen.

“I can’t give an exact date or anything,” Fuss said. “We still have a lot of construction to do and we have to rehire everybody.”

Fuss didn’t want to go into any other details, including the nature of the construction.

He opened his two-story Irish-themed bar and restaurant in 2001. He named it after famed Hollywood director — and Portland native — John Ford.

Named John Feeney at birth, Ford later changed his moniker when arriving in California. While at Portland High School, he was an outstanding ​​fullback and defensive tackle on a state championship football team. His on-field performance earned him the nickname “Bull” Feeney.

Ford went on to win six Academy Awards, including four for best director. His statue sits in a director’s chair a few blocks away from Fuss’s bar, at Gorham’s Corner.

Fuss opened Bull Feeney’s in the former location of the storied Seaman’s Club at the corner of Fore and Exchange Streets. It quickly became popular with locals and the growing tourist population, alike. Over the last 20 years, Bull Feeney’s grew into a solid Old Port anchor establishment along Fore Street along with Three Dollar Dewey’s, Gritty McDuff’s and the Old Port Tavern.

Those long-standing watering holes have all reopened already. Only Feeney’s remains shuttered. It did open for about three weeks in August 2020, but then closed again. Fuss didn’t want to elaborate on why that run was brief.

Asked if he could share any more information, he was firm.

“Absolutely not. Just leave it vague,” Fuss said.

Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.