New SWH bar taking it to the next level during pandemic

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Nov. 27, 2020 – With 17 years of bartending and food service experience between them, Renee Miller and Jose “JoJo” Feliciano put up their shingle 11 months ago and gave birth to Next Level Sports bar about 50 yards down from the Southwest bicycle shop on Main Street.

They took over a building which had been vacant for seven years. Shortly after their baby arrived in September, they waited until New Year’s Eve to open.

What possibly could go wrong? The economy was roaring, a big customer base for a local hangout awaited them, and for the first three months of 2020 the returns were indeed felicitous. “For two and a half months business was excellent,” Renee said.

Then came the national emergency declared on March 13, followed by lockdowns, quarantines and a new paradigm for the food service business.

Renee and JoJo swung into action with cocktails to go, and meal deliveries,. “We had a slow first week” until folks learned that this was going to be the norm, said Renee.

The restaurant never closed but indoor dining was limited. The owners are going making it through that first harrowing year, and hope to fulfill its promise of being the Quietside’s friendly sports bar. Next Level is open seven days a week. After the football season, it will close Sundays.

I am partial to their Buffalo wings and looking forward to try the Spanish rice bowl. They validate parking in the adjacent private lot.

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