Tugboat Inn Restaurant rooftop a hot spot

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 7:45am

Tugboat Inn Restaurant’s new rooftop bar is already a serious fixture after just over a month of operation.

“It’s gorgeous when it’s all lit up at night,” said Tugboat manager Bonnie Stover. “It's just what we envisioned. We're really happy with how it looks, how it feels.”

The rooftop opened June 23 and features a craft cocktail and pub food menu, a well-stocked full bar and a frozen margarita machine, said Stover. The only pitfall of the new space is that it has been so hot out, a sun shield has had to be put up. “But you can’t beat the view.”

As suddenly as the new spot appeared, Rome was not built in a day. “The rooftop project was actually a few years in the making,” said Lafayette Group regional manager Ramsey Lafayette. “The roof was in need of repair and with the idea for a rooftop bar becoming a serious conversation, things just came together.”

The design takes winning aspects from other successful rooftop venues and marries them, he continued: The decking and rails are made of Brazilian Ipe – also known as ironwood – thick glass panes form a barrier between rail and floor to give a full view beyond the rooftop, lamps sit atop rail posts, and a high-top table with a 16-foot fire pit in the middle sits central to the whole floor plan with an adjacent sitting area with a three-foot fire pit table.

Boothbay Harbor’s Marden Builders Inc. built the rooftop venue based on plans by Bremen designer Dennis Prior of Precedent Designworks. The firms have collaborated on several area projects.

“Just like anything new in town, it's definitely going to be packed, but the view definitely helps,” said Bar Manager John Utley. “So does good food, good drinks.”

Utley said opening day was quite memorable since most in the Midcoast will remember it as “the day it hailed three times,” but it was anything other than an omen since business has been stellar and feedback has been great. Stover said since opening, Tugboat has received several requests for rooftop weddings, has already hosted one and plans to hold another next month. Tugboat rooftop also played host to captains of the yachts visiting from Westport Yacht Club.

Lafayette credits Marden Builders, Prior and all the crew. “I’m happy and appreciative of all the hard work and craftsmanship put into this project. They took a pretty raw idea and made something great out of it.”

Future plans are not set in stone, but Utley hopes the rooftop will host the ice bar for Boothbay Lights.

Said Utley, “We’ve essentially purchased two small igloos that we'll be putting up here as well so we'll be able to stay open as long as possible. That's what's in the works right now.”