The bar at The Danforth in Portland’s West End. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

After just over one year in operation, The Danforth restaurant and craft cocktail bar in Portland’s West End is closing. Its last night of standard service will be next Friday.

“It’s with gratitude and heavy hearts that we’re closing the doors of The Danforth,” co-owner Alex Day said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are so grateful to Portland for welcoming us. We are honored to have been a small part of such an amazing community; you have supported and encouraged us, and shown us true hospitality and kindness.

“The unfortunate reality is that we have been unable to find a path that would sustain the business financially and ensure its future,” the statement continued.

In a telephone interview, Day expanded on that, saying several factors have combined to bring about the closure, an outcome he said saddened and disappointed him on a personal level. The wet summer has meant fewer customers than anticipated and much less of the customary summer revenue bump that Portland restaurants typically rely on, he said. Also, while he said he adores the location of The Danforth, “it is a lot of disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the Old Port.”

The Danforth was always intended as a community spot, he continued, a place where neighbors would “stop by on a whim.” But because the buzz around its opening set it up as a destination restaurant and bar, and because it opened at a time of high inflation and formidable supply-chain issues, “getting open was incredibly expensive and operating was expensive.” Day speculated that the prices that the restaurant had to charge consequently may have kept neighborhood regulars away.

The highly anticipated spot opened in July 2022, in the space that previously held Little Giant. It was a project of Gin & Luck, the parent company of the highly regarded Death & Co. The latter operates craft cocktail bars in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Denver, and Washington, D.C. The Danforth became known for excellent drinks and a fun menu of well-executed versions of classics, like steaks, burgers, oysters and pigs-in-blankets in a polished, plush setting. Last spring, the Portland Press Herald gave it four stars.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, The Danforth will hold a closing night party, with proceeds going to a nonprofit the staff is still selecting. About 22 people work at the restaurant/bar. In conversation and the statement, Day mentioned the staff often, thanking them and saying the company’s priority is to support them financially as much as it can in the short term and to help them find new jobs. The Danforth’s greatest successes, he said “were in the team there.”

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