‘No-Frills’ New Bedford Bar Returns After Being Closed for Almost 3 Years
After almost three long years, a well-hidden bar that's been serving New Bedford since 1933 is reopening its doors to the public. What was once taken down by the pandemic is now stronger than ever -- and back with a few additions.
The Dipper Cafe on Purchase Street in New Bedford is not only under new management, but the buyers are keeping the bar in the family's name.
Previous owner Wayne Gagne ran The Dipper Cafe for 43 years straight until COVID had him close his doors. Now, his son Josh Gagne and business partner Ryan Packer have the keys and are ready to bring something different to the city.
While searching for bars up in the Boston area, Josh and Ryan decided to purchase the cafe to keep it in the family. It was a more financially stable decision for the guys, too.
"I grew up here," Josh said. "I wanted to make sure it stayed in the family as a locally owned spot and not sold to some corporation."
The bar shut down on St. Patrick's Day of 2020, the 40th anniversary of Wayne's ownership. There it sat for a while, the future uncertain as it was for so many during the height of the pandemic. Then, about a year ago, the would-be new owners began the process.
The Dipper Cafe finally re-opened in November.
"We had return customers from the minute we opened the door," Josh said. "That was the goal, to let the people who held it down for decades have a place to gather once again with a little bit of our touch to it."
As soon as you open the door, you'll notice a giant fiberglass shark hanging on the wall that the duo found on Facebook Marketplace out of Roxbury. Stay tuned for a naming contest.
"We're planning on booking some decent live acts, starting with Lost for Words on Saturday, January 7," Ryan said. "It's open to the public and there's no cover charge to attend."
The new owners are involved in the music industry when they're not behind the bar. Ryan plays bass in a band called Slapshot and is also a barber up in Boston. Josh on owns Choppahead Custom Cycles out of Freetown and also does tattoo removal at Atomic Ink Tattoo/NewSkin Tattoo Removal in Swansea.
As a bonus, the guys will open their kitchen to bring some South Shore-style bar pizza to the neighborhood. The kitchen will eventually be open until midnight and the bar will stay open as late as 2 a.m.
"We're looking at a month from now for food and will also have gluten-free and vegan options," Ryan said. "We're just your friendly neighborhood bar. No frills, just cold beers and good times."