Finn's Irish Pub – Ellsworth, Maine - Gastro Obscura
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Ellsworth, Maine

Finn's Irish Pub

This architectural onion has an original 1932 Jerry O'Mahony dining car at its core. 

From the street, Finn’s Irish Pub is indistinguishable from all the other shops and dining establishments situated on Main Street in Ellsworth, Maine. But a surprise of historic significance dwells within this traditional Irish pub, and it isn’t their shepherd’s pie or Scotch eggs.

The star of the show at Finn’s is the bar, an original 1932 Jerry O’Mahony dining car that belonged to a diner in Northport, Maine, before being brought to Ellsworth in 1982. The iconic Jerry O’Mahony dining cars were originally meant to be portable buildings, designed to resemble rail cars. These novel metallic structures were manufactured at the O’Mahony factory in New Jersey, then transported to permanent locations all over the country. Few of these originals exist today, making Finn’s particularly historic.

Finn’s is more than a local favorite. It is an architectural onion, with layers upon layers of alterations, each built around an existing structure, made every time the restaurant ownership changed hands. Within a decade of installing the O’Mahony, new owners would put a wood-frame building around the original dining car, calling the restaurant Maidee’s, after the proprietor, Maidee Chang. The establishment changed hands a few more times, until 2009, when a fresh set of owners named it Finn’s Irish Public House.

The 1932 Jerry O’Mahony dining car remains the main feature of the restaurant. The bar-top is made of black marble with red and black tile ascending to the stone surface. Bottles of single malt brush up against bourbons on the shelves lining the stainless steel back wall, a signature design element of the archetypal O’Mahony dining car. Swivel stools bolted to the floor still seat passengers as they did over 80 years ago. Dark polished wood adorns the sitting area. The Bakelite ceiling is still there, although some modern touches (such as pendant lighting) have been added since.

For the lover of dining cars, Finn’s is a must visit, with the reward of a pint of Guinness to be enjoyed with steak and mushroom pie and sticky toffee pudding.

Know Before You Go

There is parking on Main Street and behind in the municipal lot. The restaurant's hours are on its Facebook page.

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