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.