Long before Geddy’s became a world-famous watering hole, this historic building was home to a dingy waterfront dive avoided by locals, abhorred by the tourist bureau, and frequented by all the shady characters that drifted by. Locals referred to it as the “hell-hole of Hancock County.” Gerry “Geddy” Mitchell, bought this surfisde saloon in 1974 and decided to change the clientele completely. He was a bouncer, a merchant marine and a sailor, and he was as tough as the crowd in the bar. The transformation began.
In ten days he threw out 56 people, knocking out 27 of them, and putting seven others into the hospital. When he went to toss out the 57th, an unhappy ejectee shot him in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun. Geddy survived and prospered, and turned the bar into a mecca for tourists and a venue for some great music. Entertainers such as Bonnie Raitt, Wynton Marsalis, Taj Mahal, Pure Prairie League, Livingston Taylor, Arlo Guthrie, and Los Lobos performed to packed crowds, and the legend of Geddy’s grew. But in 1987, Geddy’s sailor’s blood stirred again. He sold the bar and sought out adventure elsewhere. The transformation continued.
Arthur Davis purchased Geddy’s, and he and his wife Heather expanded the menu, adding kids’ fare and changing the atmosphere to be family-friendly. The walls are now adorned with historical photographs and other memorabilia of old Bar Harbor, but the old signs and license plates that are a legacy remain. The basement bar became the bright and cheery Geddy’s Down-Under, selling Geddy gear and other cool stuff.
World-famous, Geddy’s is still, although considerably safer, a tradition of Bar Harbor — where everyone who is anyone comes to visit. If you haven’t been to Geddy’s, then you haven’t been to Bar Harbor.