The mystery of who bought Three Dollar Deweys has been solved.

Joe Christopher, owner of Three Rivers Whitewater, a whitewater rafting company in West Forks, acquired the lease at 241 Commercial Street and purchased the pub business; he plans to re-open it by March 1. Christopher, originally from Brunswick and “a long-time patron” of Deweys, said he has 25 years of experience running businesses that are a big part of their communities, and “it’s just a good fit.”

“The concept that Mr. Eames started 40 years ago, bringing in local beer and beer from around the world, is a great one,” Christopher said. “I mean, this was the first place a pint was ever poured in Maine.”

Deweys was founded by Alan D. Eames, who called himself a “beer anthropologist” and wrote a number of books about beer. In his obituary, The New York Times described him as “the Indiana Jones of beer” because he traveled the globe searching for new or unfamiliar brews to bring back to Portland.

Portland residents first heard the news that the pub, which closed at the end of July, might be resurrected Tuesday, when signs appeared in the windows saying that Deweys was “returning soon” and that renovations were underway.

Christopher said the renovations will include new bathrooms and floors.


“It’s going to be very similar, but it will be all new paint and floors,” he said. “We’re not wholesale gutting the place by any means. It’s more of an update than a renovate, really.”

The new Deweys will also feature live entertainment, he said.

Christopher founded Three Rivers, which he calls “The Home of Serious Fun,” in 1997. He also owns the Inn by the River at The Forks and the Sugarloaf Inn, which he acquired in 2017.

“It’s definitely my life’s work, the ‘home of serious fun’ type of stuff,” Christopher said.

Christopher said he wants to bring the same aesthetic to the new Deweys.

And yes, he says, there will still be free popcorn.

Three Dollar Deweys was an unusual bar when it opened in 1980 because it served imported beers that were hard to find at the time. The business moved to 241 Commercial St., above, in 1995. (Randy Billings/Portland Press Herald)

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