Iconic Hallowell bar forced to move after more than 40 years

HALLOWELL – HydeOut at the dock, a lively dive bar where countless musicians have cut their teeth, profits have been organized to support community members in need and thousands of guests have enjoyed live music and food for over 40 years , faces an uncertain future.

Bar owner Wayne Hyde said the landlord refused to renew his lease while raising his rent by $ 500.

“I can’t run my business this way,” Hyde said. “I can’t run it without knowing what’s going on. So rather than waiting for him to say ‘Get out’, I look proactively.

The rent increase came shortly after the bar reopened after a nine-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is just the last of Hyde’s struggles. He said that despite permission from city and state, he was also denied the possibility of using the grass outside to accommodate musicians and guests for the town’s annual “Old Hallowell Day”. He said the two-day event typically involves seven acts performed outdoors and around five indoors.

“I earn almost 7% of my annual income in those two days,” he said. “It’s a fair change. “

And the number of available parking spaces has dropped from nine to two.

The entire property, which encompasses 130-138 Water St. and consists of nine residential units and five commercial units, is currently listed through LUX Realty with a pending sale for $ 2,995,000. According to the listing, the property “is already licensed as fourteen approved condominium units.”

Hyde said other companies in the property face uncertainties as well.

“Juiced doesn’t have a lease either,” Hyde said. “He wouldn’t give her a lease, and the store above me, I think their lease expires at the end of this month.”

Business owners on properties 130-138 Water St. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Property owner Stephen Hammond did not respond to a request for comment relayed by Hallowell’s code enforcement officer Doug Ide and building manager Bridget Barrows did not respond to a request for comment.

Hyde, who is from Attleboro, Mass., Said he has also seen this happen in his hometown.

“There was a lot of mom and pop stuff out there that slowly went bankrupt,” he said, “and when they got out, pretty much everything in downtown Attleboro was converted to condos. “

Plaques for Abbott Vaughn Meader and Kenny Cox are located in the doorway between the bar and the porch of HydeOut at the Wharf in Hallowell. Both are late musicians who played there. Joe Phelan / Journal Kennebec

He said community members, musicians and locals have been reaching out since hearing the news and are “heartbroken” as the bar leaves the bar.

“It’s really their story,” Hyde said. “They’ve been playing here since they were teenagers. Losing The Wharf really hurts local musicians.

Brett Shain, a local musician, performed the second concert ever hosted by the bar after it opened more than four decades ago, and was devastated upon hearing of its departure.

“It was the start of the Hallowell music scene,” Shain said. “The Wharf and Slates, they started it all. “

Graffiti from 1986 was seen in the HydeOut restroom at The Wharf in Hallowell on Wednesday. Both bathrooms are covered in 40-year-old graffiti and Hyde said he plans to take the boards with him and reinstall them when the bar moves to a new location. Joe Phelan / Journal Kennebec

Since then, the bar has been instrumental in promoting the city’s unique music scene and personality.

“The Wharf is a church for musicians,” Shain said. “So many people learned their trade there. There have been countless celebrations of life there, from community members to former mayors, musicians, to whomever. It’s a huge part of the soul of our community, and it’s just sad to see it like that.

Wayne Hyde is standing in his bar Wednesday at HydeOut at the Wharf in Hallowell. He said the custom live edge bar top was made from a log cut near his home. Joe Phelan / Journal Kennebec

As a 66-year-old musician, Shain has worked with many bar and venue owners, and has said Hyde is among the best.

“Most bar owners are half decent people, but then you meet an occasional person who totally understands from the musician’s point of view, from the artist’s point of view, and that’s Wayne.”

As a result of Hyde’s work and the work of previous owners, Shain said the Wharf is “by far the best music venue in Hallowell”.

“There is no one else touching it,” he said.

Monica Castellanos, co-owner of the local Maine market with her partner, Tom Janenda, said she is from the area and therefore has been coming to the wharf for a very long time. “The wharf is an institution and we hope it stays where it is,” she said.

Hyde said the Wharf is a “dive bar at all levels” with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

When he took office in August 2017, Hyde said he loved the charm of the bar so much that he wanted to keep it as it was.

“I didn’t come here to make a million dollars,” he said.

But just a few months after it was taken over, the building was hit by an ice flood in January 2018.

“The ice was over my pool table,” he said.

Dave Pottle, right, uses a hand truck to lift the stage so Alfred Lund can remove the cables from underneath in January 2018 in the Wharf’s HydeOut in Hallowell. Bar owner Wayne Hyde said the landlord refused to renew his lease while raising his rent by $ 500, so he started looking for a new location. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal dossier

The bar was flooded again last December, and while it was closed, Hyde, helped by members of the community, came in and lifted everything off the ground so it wasn’t hit by the water.

Looking ahead, Shain said he’s worried this may mark the start of the closure or relocation of other Hallowell businesses.

“You have this cool, artistic little town with music, great restaurants and so on. “Shain said.

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