Cage Finds New Ownership, Will Reopen

The Cage has been serving the Lewiston community for over 50 years, cementing itself as a go-to spot for regulars as well as a Thursday night staple for Bates students. So when rumors hit campus that the popular bar was closing, the news was met with varying responses of disbelief, denial and skepticism. 

“Everyone’s heard it’s closing from someone, but everyone’s back there on Thursday night,” said Nate Lewis ‘24. 

Rumors circulated, publicity for The Cage increased, and Bates students continued to frequent the bar as usual, not knowing if it would be their last time sipping vodka-crans, shooting pool or scribbling notes on the bathroom stalls. 

One Tuesday afternoon, I decided to get to the bottom of the controversy. It was a bright wintery day in Lewiston, and my eyes had to adjust to the dim lighting and dark furnishings of The Cage. The bar is decorated with black and white photos of past owners, neon signs and beer posters. The touch screen jukebox resting against the left side wall feels out of place. The bar is well worn and full of character. 

“It’s authentic,” says bartender and Bates senior, Barratt Dewey. “It’s not trying to be anything it’s not. It knows it’s a dive bar, kind of a biker bar, and it’s not trying to be anything fancy.” 

Upon walking in, I was greeted by the current owner Randy Collins, and introduced to new owner Steve Beaulieu. Speaking on behalf of his business partner Kevin Barrett, Beaulieu clarified the rumors.

“The Cage is officially closing, temporarily, pending purchase of the business and the issue of the new liquor license, which is all ongoing at this time,” he said. Though the bar is officially closing, customers can expect it to be back “with some pluses,” according to Beaulieu. 

He believes that they will open today, though remained unsure in a statement to The Student.

A Lewiston local and one of the bar’s regulars, Beaulieu wants “to see The Cage stay The Cage.” 

This comes as no surprise to Dewey: “[The Cage is] definitely a family, everyone knows each other there. It’s one of the few places in Lewiston that doesn’t change. People come in in their 60s and are like I had my first drink at The Cage. People have grown up there. It’s a generational thing and it’s definitely loved.” 

This tight-knit sense of community is something that makes The Cage special. “This is my other family, this is my living room,” says Beaulieu. “I want to make sure that everyone who comes here is having a great time and they belong here,” he adds. This includes Bates students. Dewey, along with fellow seniors and The Cage bartenders Aidan Thorsteinsson and Austin Gilbride confirm the “homey” environment of The Cage, Gilbride even adding that “When you’re [behind the bar], you are the most well protected person in Lewiston.” 

Despite the comfort focused, relaxed environment, Beaulieu described students’ relationship with the bar as a once-a-week night out spot. The prospective owner wants to change this culture, saying that “Bates kids need to know that it’s more than 10 to midnight on Thursdays.” He hopes that students will begin to see The Cage as a casual spot to socialize, relax and grab a bite to eat, rather than a Thursday night locale to party at. 

In the hopes to upgrade The Cage and establish a more consistent relationship with Bates students, Beaulieu intends to re-open the kitchen. His plan is to have a soup of the day, Italian hoagies and even fresh baked bread. Additionally, Beaulieu plans to upgrade the Wi-Fi and install more TVs to broadcast sports in order to keep customers entertained. He hopes that this will encourage people, particularly students, to treat The Cage as more of a place to hangout and relax rather than a Thursday night party site. 

Though nothing is finalized yet, Beaulieu assures that “The Cage is not going to change much.” He concludes that “any changes we’re making are going to be for the better.”