SOUTH PORTLAND — The past week’s storms didn’t keep the Griffin Club from opening, but the sale of the building could permanently close the iconic watering hole.
The historic sports bar at 60 Ocean St. in Knightville is for sale, listed for $599,000. It was founded five decades ago as a boxing club by Eddie Griffin, a promoter of professional and amateur sports.
The walls of the club are lined with historic photos of the bar’s founder, of past sports heroes – including boxers and baseball players who visited the establishment – and historic photos of Knightville.
Real estate broker Tom Landry said the nearly 5,800-square-foot building, built in 1900, is zoned as a mixed-use commercial property.
The building is owned by Byron and Audrey Castro of Cape Elizabeth; Eddie Griffin was Byron’s stepfather. The couple declined requests to discuss the sale.
Scott Parker, who owns the bar business but not the building, predicted that “nobody is going to pay that price and refurbish it. It will be someone from out of state who will buy it and tear it down.”
The listing describes the property as “one of Maine’s best investment opportunities,” suitable for a mixed-use four-unit building with water views in “desirable and emerging Knightville,” with its “coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, a marina, a gastro pub, a park and five minutes to downtown Portland.”
Landry said the property is being sold as a redevelopment opportunity for someone to either rehab the building or use the nearly quarter-acre lot for a new development. The listing includes the building at 60 Ocean St., as well as a second lot on C Street, which serves as the club’s parking lot.
Parker said he bought the Griffin Club bar business in 2008; in June 2018 the business commonly called “The Griff” will be 50 years old.
“I don’t like it. If I can’t find another place, then that will be it for me,” Parker said. “Employees will lose their jobs … . There’s been a lot of people coming here for a lot of years–their parents and their grandparents.”
Parker said he employs two full-time and three part-time workers, and occasionally has opportunities for others.
He called the area a great neighborhood, adding, “People take care of each other.”
The bar’s operating hours are 9 a.m.-1 a.m, every day of the year except Christmas, but if a bartender feels like opening on Christmas they can and have. The business was open during Monday’s storm and welcomed customers as early as 9 a.m.
Parker said the Griffin Club is open even on Thanksgiving, when the staff prepares food for folks who have nowhere else to go.
The Griffin Club building, at 60 Ocean St. in South Portland’s Knightville neighborhood, is for sale for $599,000.