By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,408)
Regulars and their friends began streaming into their favorite bar just after noon today, when Mama’s Crow Bar opened – for the last time – at least under that name. Named in part for all of the crows in the area, Tricia Henley, and her daughter turned what had previously been rowdy bars into a first-rate neighborhood pub. A favorite hang-out for people from all walks of life as confirmed by the many regulars who stopped in for their last toast at Mama’s Crow Bar today, 189 Congress Street.
“The majority of the time there is a large presence of USM faculty members here,” said Deena Collom, wife of Ed Collom, on the USM faculty. “The location and the selection of local beers here are what are so appealing,” said Ed. “It’s a great buy local place. It’s Portland’s version of Cheers.” There were in fact a group of USM faculty members on hand for their last beer here. “It’s like loosing a piece of our heart,” said Wendy Chapkie, a regular who is on the USM faculty as well.
“It’s really sad to see the Crow Bar go” said Sean Turley who was there with his wife. “We certainly don’t need another Irish pub in the area. There are already four or five in the area,” said Turley who is vice president of the Munjoy
Hill Neighborhood Organization. In fact, Turley and his wife Cecilia celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the Crow Bar last week.
“It’s the first place I came to when I moved to the Hill from Brooklyn,” said artist Jessie Van Benschoren, “It became a surrogate family here. Most of my friends now I’ve met here. I haven’t figured out where I’;ll hang out now Tricia (Henley) worked really hard to make it a good and safe place for people to hang out. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not going to support whatever comes in here next,” she said.
Jessie said she lived near Sangillo’s Tavern, 18 Hampshire Street, and frequented that iconic bar. She always felt safe and comfortable there, she said. It was shutdown by the State of Maine in response to a vote of 5-4 by the Portland City Council that was supported by Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck. A new venue, Tomaso’s Canteen, is expected to open there next month. (See Post # 2,402, dated 8/22/15 herein for more details.)
Jessie. Henley lost her lease to a new building owner which is effective October 1, 2015. It is rumored that the new owner of the building intends to turn it into an Irish pub – similar to RiRa on Commercial Street on the Porltand waterfront.
Employees and friends intend to spend the next several weeks emptying the property of its contents. A yard sale on the property is expected to take place tomorrow afternoon.
Whatever the future may hold for this Congress Street property, Henley has left it much better than she found it.