Brass Compass renews call for outside liquor sales

By Stephen Betts | Sep 02, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Brass Compass leases a strip of land adjacent to its restaurant.

Rockland — The owner of the Brass Compass restaurant plans to come to the next City Council meeting -- this time armed with a petition -- to renew her request to serve beer and wine in the 10-foot wide strip of land she leases next to her cafe.

Owner Lynn Archer has submitted a letter to the City Council asking permission to serve beer and wine. That will require the strip adjacent to her restaurant to be roped off per state law.

Archer has gathered signatures from about 75 people on the petition.

Archer made her initial request to the council at its Aug. 12 meeting, but that was defeated 3-2, with Councilors Ed Glaser, Valli Geiger, and Benjamin Dorr rejecting the proposal and Mayor Lisa Westkaemper and Councilor Amelia Magjik supporting the request.

Magjik said the Brass Compass has been a real anchor to the community, with Archer running two restaurants. "If we can help her thrive, not just survive. we should do it," Magjik said at the Aug. 12 meeting.

Glaser said the city should consider amending the lease agreement for next year, but that it was too late in the year to amend it this year for beer and wine service. He also said if the city was going to give up something valuable it should expect something more in return.

Archer pays $1,500 to have eight tables and chairs on the 10-foot wide strip from May 15 through Oct. 31.

Geiger said she was not comfortable with cordoning off property in a city memorial park.

Dorr said it was a slippery slope to allow a use of city property that cordons off the public.

At the Aug. 12 meeting, Gaye Best, a critic of Archer's use of the property at Winslow-Holbrook Park, spoke against allowing Archer to cordon off the space. Best claimed that Archer had not adhered to terms of the agreement.

Archer has used the strip of land since 2005.

In her Aug. 26 letter, Archer pointed out she has been an advocate for Rockland and employs 50 people at her two restaurants. She complained about being treated disrespectfully at the Aug. 12 meeting.

Archer's letter will be on the council's Sept. 9 agenda. There is no item yet on the agenda, however, to reconsider her request.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Sep 03, 2019 12:56

As Ire-read these letters and comments, I find I agree with the majority, It is city property and should not be used or leased by private enterprise!  Good luck Lynn. Perhaps you could relocate into the Owls Head area? Just a suggestion.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever :)

Posted by: Jeanne Luetjen | Sep 03, 2019 12:11

The Brass Compass can certainly serve alcohol outside on its own property.  Those businesses mentioned above serve alcohol on their own property.  What the Brass Compass wants to do is not use their own property but use City owned property instead and not allow the public access to that same city property , without any recompense to the city.   Maine law does not allow alcohol to be served in a public space.  The space must be contained.  As  taxpayers, we have paid to beautify that area, it is dedicated to veterans who lost their lives in service and should remain open to the public, as stipulated by the Rockland City Council for the last 14 years.

Posted by: Leslie Spiers | Sep 03, 2019 11:57

Mr. Murphy the difference is also that all of the establishments you mentioned own their property or lease it from their landlord.  It is not City owned or leased. I personally have no problem with the sale of beer, wine or spirits outside of Brass Compass as long as it is cordoned off as is required by City and State regulations. It would also be best if all of the restaurants and cafes, coffee shops were allowed to set up tables on the sidewalks and serve beer, wine or spirits.  The use of public, city owned sidewalks has been an issue in the past.

Leslie Spiers, Myrtle Street, Tavern

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Sep 03, 2019 09:05

Your point is right on Kendall, and I'm sure that's exactly what Lynn is also seeking.  Currently, just off the top of my head, Archer's, Hill's, Waterwork's, and The Landing's are all restaurants who serve and allow consumption of beer and wine on external decks, while Time Out Pub, Trackside and Myrtle all also allow it behind either temporary fencing or a rope line.


John Murphy

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Sep 02, 2019 08:54

If the council is going to give one restaurant permission to serve liquor outside, then every other restaurant in Rockland should be given the opportunity. Fair for one is fair for all.

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