Large-screen TVs are aplenty at The Moose. Photo by Angie Bryan

When I walked into The Moose: A Maine Sports Pub, located in Hannaford Plaza in Falmouth where Irish pub Madden’s used to be, I immediately forgot that I was in a shopping center. It felt like a standalone pub. It was a gorgeous spring day, so I thought nobody would be indoors, but that wasn’t the case. Despite having been open for only one month, it clearly is already popular.

As my drinking companion and I got settled on our comfortable wooden barstools (with backs and with rails for our feet) at the 50-foot-long bar, I noticed the craftsmanship of the beautiful wooden bar.  I later learned that it was made from a single tree in Belgrade by contractor Jim Lynch, owner of Lynchworks and an old friend of one of the three owners of The Moose: Bob Waitkevich (who also owns Fore Play in Portland), lawyer Joe Goodman and realtor Rick Yost, all of whom went to college together in Orono. Kudos to Lynch et al for making sure that there were both purse hooks and electrical outlets underneath the bar.

Lynch was present during my visit, as was Waitkevich, who another regular told me had been there pretty much every day since The Moose had opened.  This would, of course mean, that the customer had also been there that frequently – a good sign.

There’s no cocktail list at The Moose but it was easy enough to get a Cosmo and an Old Fashioned. Photo by Angie Bryan

But first things first, what did we order? Like many sports pubs, The Moose doesn’t have a cocktail menu, but that didn’t stop the bartender (Trish) from making me a perfect $7.50 Cosmo and making a $9 Old Fashioned (complete with a large ice sphere instead of cubes) for my friend. We were off to a strong start.

The Moose has a full bar, with 16 bourbons and nine tequilas. They sell seven wines by the glass – one bubbly, three white, and three red – ranging from $6.25 to $8. They have 16 beers on draft for $4-$8 and a huge selection of bottles and cans. The food menu is typical for a sports pub: appetizers, soups, salads, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, wings and tenders, with almost every item under $15. They even have a Beyond Burger. I ordered the $12 nachos, paying an extra $3 to add chicken. That turned out to be a good decision (a surprise, since I have a habit of making bad decisions in bars), as the chicken was juicy, flavorful and plentiful, and the nachos were enough for two very large meals.

Waitkevich told me that he decided to buy the space back in July, giving him plenty of time to get things right. He envisioned a neighborhood spot and redesigned the entire layout to match that vision. One of his favorite things to do is stream high school sports games so that the kids’ parents, who are not allowed to attend in person because of the pandemic, can come in and watch. In a lovely development, some of the customers are people who met each other at Fore Play when they were younger, married and moved to Falmouth as they got older, and now hang out with their friends at The Moose.

Like any good owner of a new business, Waitkevich continues to tweak things. The Moose recently got approved for outdoor seating, and it hopes soon to have happy hours, weeknight specials, trivia nights and more. They have booths that are wheelchair-accessible, high-tops for customers who prefer not to sit at the bar, and the obligatory multiple TV screens and Maine-themed décor. Most importantly, they have a friendly and enthusiastic staff who ensure you want to return.

Nachos with chicken and wings are among The Moose’s pub fare. Photo by Angie Bryan

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