Rivalries in Portland, pictured here in 2019, is closing. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Rivalries sports bar has closed its Portland location after more than 20 years in business, and the space is being taken over by a Bar Harbor chef and restaurateur who plans to open a gastropub in its place.

Rivalries owners Amy and Lance Meader wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday that they had sold the Cotton Street location but not the business name or brand, and would continue to operate their location in Falmouth.

Bobby Will, the chef/owner of seasonal fine-dining restaurant Salt & Steel in Bar Harbor, said Wednesday that he “got the keys yesterday” to the former Rivalries space, which is at 10 Cotton St. on the western edge of the Old Port.

Will said he hopes to open his “hyper locally sourced gastropub,” which he plans to call Thistle & Grouse, in late June or July but knows that delays are likely. He said he plans “mostly cosmetic” renovations, including replacing the tile floor with wood and installing leather booths. The menu, he said, will include a raw bar, curry pot pie and an extensive cocktail program and Maine craft beer list.

Will, 38, who has worked at restaurants throughout the Northeast during his career, said he is “really excited to be in the Portland area” where he plans to focus his time during the winter, while splitting it between the two restaurants during the summer.

The multi-use building on Cotton Street is among several properties on a block owned by Casco View Holdings, a subsidiary of mutual insurance company MEMIC, which is leasing the space to Will.

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