Home Pub bar Newburyport’s Thirty Whale Welcomes Customers Again | News

Newburyport’s Thirty Whale Welcomes Customers Again | News

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NEWBURYPORT — It may have taken a month or more than expected, but The Thirsty Whale Pub & Grille quietly reopened its doors last week and it seems nothing has ever changed.

Stephanie Romano was a bartender at ‘The Whale’ for more than 13 years before the State Street pub was closed during the first COVID-19 closures of March 2020.

Former owners, Craig Pessina and Stephen Jewett, kept the bar closed for nearly 19 months until Romano decided to quit his job as a local police dispatcher and went into business with his fiance, Haven Marceau, to take over the establishment over a period of five years. lease for the year at the end of last year.

Romano is now the new owner of the bar while Marceau is the general manager.

Although the couple planned to reopen by Christmas, they had to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to reopen to the public last week.

“We didn’t announce it on Facebook or anything, we just unlocked the doors at noon,” Romano said. “Next thing we knew, people were coming in and coming in.”

According to Marceau, The Whale was filled that Sunday with more than 90 customers at 2 p.m.

“The place was packed with people we hadn’t seen in years,” Romano said. “It’s really like a family here and everyone was so excited to have The Whale back.”

“It was just awesome,” added Marceau.

The bar remained open all last week until Romano and Marceau closed to catch their breath on Monday.

“All week we had people coming to thank us,” Marceau said. “They were very grateful to us for keeping this place alive.”

Romano said she was happy that her first business venture had a good first week. But she was even happier to see all her old friends again.

“We have notes and lists everywhere on all the things we need to do,” Marceau said. “Eventually we’ll try to settle into a routine, but for now it’s just constant.”

The Whale has between four and five part-time staff and former Daily News photo editor Bryan Eaton is expected to be behind the bar during the day shift on Wednesdays.

“We’re so happy to have Bryan,” Romano said. “They are just good people. He reached out his hand and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.'”

Marceau said he expects to be open from noon until close, seven days a week, after St. Patrick’s Day in March.

“We had some regulars but a lot of new people too,” Romano said. “There are a lot of new people in town who had never been here. They told us they were dying to come here.”

Some customers also brought gifts. One person filed a signed oil painting of La Baleine made in the 1960s or 1970s, according to Marceau.

Donny and Melissa Walton also brought a carved wooden whale with the words “Thirsty Whale Next Generation” written and signed by many other regulars.

“It feels like home here,” Romano said. “It feels really good and we do it as a team. I work with my best friend and that’s the best part.

According to Marceau, he hopes to remain as grateful to his clients as they were to him and his fiancée.

“It was just unreal,” Marceau said.

Writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

Writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.