Folks in Brewer will be raising their glasses today, in remembrance of the old Cap's Tavern, that burned 4 years ago.

I still can't believe it's been 4 years since I read a random post from a Facebook friend, saying that Cap's Tavern was on fire. The information started pouring in and it was soon evident that the fire would be devastating. Cap's was located in a very old building on South Main street, with creaky floors and low ceilings. The bar took up the first floor, with apartments above that. Luckily, no one was hurt in the blaze that totally destroyed the building.

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The State Fire Marshal's Office was called in and an investigation was launched. Accelerant-sniffing dogs produced a positive result, and officials confirmed that there was a human element. The fire was the result of arson. But, in the four years since the fire, no one has ever been arrested.

The New Cap's Tavern Rises from the Ashes

Townsquare Media Bangor
Townsquare Media Bangor

In the weeks that followed the fire, owner Del Merritt expressed some ambivalence about rebuilding. He was thinking of retiring and wasn't sure he wanted to deal with running another bar. Honestly, he was probably feeling pretty discouraged. But the enthusiasm of his staff and his customers changed his mind and plans were put in place for a brand new Cap's Tavern. It opened in January of 2018, 6 months after the fire.

The new Cap's is a lot different than the original. It lacks the architectural character of the vintage building, instead located inside a rectangular building. There's no stage area for music jams and they lost some storage space. But the atmosphere hasn't changed. Cap's Tavern remains a neighborhood bar, kind of like the Cheers of Brewer.

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