7 of the best things to do in Camden, Maine

3. The Drouthy Bear

Perched on Camden’s main drag, The Drouthy Bear is the epitome of a cosy, atmospheric and family-run neighbourhood pub. Opened by a Scottish expat and his wife, a Camden local, almost a decade ago, this popular watering hole offers an impressive drinks menu including several craft beers, exotic cocktails, and an extensive whiskey and scotch collection – testament to its co-owner, Andrew’s, Scottish roots. Classic board and card games ensure patrons are never short of entertainment, while a roaring fireplace offers a warm and inviting sanctuary during the winter months and there’s a pretty outdoor patio area for when the weather’s kinder. Kids are welcome and dogs can be kept in the outside areas during the warmer months (service dogs year round).

Drouthy Bear Pub brings Scottish tradition to Camden

By Lianne McCluskey

CAMDEN — An old bed and breakfast on Elm Street in Camden has transformed into The Drouthy Bear Pub, which officially opens Sept. 12.

Owners Andrew and Shannon Stewart have been restoring and creating the pub since May.

There are 40 seats available in the pub, with nine seats across the bar that face 45 Scottish single malts that are representatives from all regions of Scotland. Thirty bottled beers, which have both a British and Maine emphasis, also line the mirrored wall. The pub also carries Irn-Bru, a Scottish carbonated soft drink, often described as "Scotland's other national drink" (after Scotch whiskey). Stewart says it is the top-selling soft drink in Scotland.

"Irn-Bru is as Moxie is to Maine," said Stewart. Stewart also is including his own blend of whiskey, which he named Angel's Share.

The Drouthy Bear will be open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the bar will be open until 10 p.m. Afternoon tea will take place daily from 2 to 4 p.m., offering British tapas from tea sandwiches to British biscuits, cookies and cakes.

Stewart said the backbone of the menu will be the Scottish savory pies. A pie machine from Scotland will become a part of the pub's kitchen, creating the specific pie mold.

"[The machine] shapes them, it will speed up the process," said Stewart, who said there is only one other machine like it in North America, the other one located in Alberta, Canada.

Other items on the menu which are more familiar include bangers and mash, fish and chips in a tempura-like batter, other "comfort foods" and salads.

Stewart and his wife traveled throughout Scotland taking pictures and viewing menus from pubs, distilleries and bakeries to get a feel for the atmosphere they wanted to create at their own traditional pub. They also obtained their pie recipe from a Scottish pie champion.

"He said 'I'm only giving you this recipe because you are from America,'" said Stewart, who added the man threatened to burn down his pub if Stewart opened one up in Scotland.

Menu items will also include homemade recipes, from his Aunt's sticky toffee pudding to a shortbread recipe from a friend, Betty, who is 92 years old. There will be a special pie, main course meal, and appetizer each week.

Stewart says he is lucky to have had so much kindness and support from everyone. He also is excited about the outdoor seating and play area for children that will be behind the pub, which includes a play set from Cedar Works.

"This is a family place," said Stewart. "It's not just a bar; a pub is a place where everyone is welcome."

Courier Publications reporter Lianne McCluskey can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at lmccluskey@villagesoup.com.

Stewarts to bring Scottish pub to Camden

By Lianne McCluskey

CAMDEN — Andrew and Shannon Stewart have begun a new project to bring a taste of Scotland to the Midcoast. At 50 Elm St., a corner house, which was formerly a bed and breakfast, is being transformed into The Drouthy Bear.

Andrew Stewart, former owner of The Hope General Store and who was the director at Hope Elephants, said he and his wife began thinking of new projects.

The Stewarts goal is to open the pub in July. They are currently extending the back of the building, with contractors expanding the basement area, providing more space for where the kitchen will be. There will be approximately 30 seats inside, 10 more outside, and a play area outdoors for children.

Andrew explained the building will be divided into two different sections, both sections fed by the same kitchen. The Stewarts intend to have a sit down restaurant on one side of the old house, with a fireplace and a bar against the back wall, and an additional take-out section where customers can pick up traditional Scottish cuisine and a bottle of wine. They hope to have a television with rugby, tennis, and other sports playing to fit the cozy theme.

The Stewarts want to give off a low-key vibe, where all people can feel welcome. After a recent trip to Scotland, where Andrew is from, the family used the culture of both Scotland and Maine to come up with a theme for their pub.

"We wanted to have that pub feeling," said Andrew. "Our goal is to make it a community center as much as anything else."

The Stewart family currently resides in Hope, but say they consider Camden to be their community just as much as where they live.

Various Scottish beers and whiskey will be available. There will be 30 different malt ranges of whiskey and six to eight beers on tap, the list still being determined.

"Whiskey is the Scottish wine," said Shannon.

Shannon said if anyone ever went into the Hope General Store under their ownership, they would know Andrew's fondness for good beer. "I like beer," said Andrew. "I know a little bit about it."

They will also have Scottish meat pies, fish and chips to tie in the Maine element, British goods and English sparkling wines for take away dining.

"It's comfort food," said Andrew. "The food is ethnic, it's not like anything that is around here."

The Stewarts are getting a machine from Scotland, sent by Scotch World Champion of Scottish Pies Steven McAlister, that will make the traditional pies. "Handmade ones are pretty labor intensive," said Andrew, which he and Shannon have done before.

The Stewarts said they want to make this as accessible as possible for everyone in the community. An average cost for a meal will be $10-$12. Lunch and dinner will be served.

"This is not going to be somewhere you can call and get reservations," said Andrew. "The mingling of Scotland and Maine is what we are shooting for. It will be very simple things, we hope to do afternoon tea as well."

For the Stewart Family, the first year they will be getting their feet off the ground, being open from 11 a.m. to close, six days per week. Andrew and Shannon have two children, Harris and Tildy.

"We'll have to find a balance of finding family time," said Andrew. "But at the beginning we will be in here all of the time."

Andrew is pleased with the location of the pub, which is near a residential neighborhood. "Hopefully a lot of people will be able to walk to [the pub] if they want," said Andrew.

The Stewarts are actively looking for staff, especially for the kitchen. For more information on available positions at The Drouthy Bear, contact Andrew Stewart at andrewamstewart@gmail.com.

Courier Publications reporter Lianne McCluskey can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at lmccluskey@villagesoup.com.

Practice Your Scottish for Camden's Drouthy Bear Pub, Slated for Summer

The world needs more whisky and meat pies.

by Adam H. Callaghan

Och aye, it appears a taste of Scotland will soon be available in Camden. Andrew Stewart(former owner of Hope General Store) and his wife Shannon are remaking The Good House B&B at 50 Elm Street into "a local pub focused on traditional British food and savory pies," according to The Drouthy Bear Facebook page. ("Drouthy" is a Scottish term for thirsty or dry.) The overview also promises a beer garden, takeout options, and imported British goods.

The Penobscot Bay Pilot reported last month that most of the kitchen's ingredients will come from Maine, and the price point could be from $12 to $14 a plate for dishes like steak pies and fish and chips at the family-friendly establishment. Renovations are underway now; expect seating for 30 to 35 guests when the restaurant and pub opens sometime this summer. If you're hoping to satisfy a haggis hunger, let the owners know now: a recent Facebook post expressed uncertainty that "Haggis pies will be popular in Maine."