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'The Stork Lounge': Construction of brewery, restaurant and lounge in Port Stanley, Ont. underway

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Approximately 200 people will be able to pull up a chair next to the harbour in Port Stanley next summer.

“This is my favourite spot, everyone knows this view behind me when the bridge is up,” said Mike Mescia of Domus Developments, who is converting the nearly 100-year-old Dominion of Canada building into a brewery, restaurant and lounge.

“We've a 360-degree view with water on the side, the fishing boats there,” he explained. “You get that small town charm, and those iconic scenes in Port Stanley.”

In 2021 London-based developers Domus & Wasko Developments entered a $1.4 million lease-to-own agreement with the municipality, allowing them to transform the nearly century old building into a microbrewery.

Nearly two years after Central Elgin Council approved the deal, site work is underway.

Mike Mescia of Domus Developments shows off a view from the future patio of the Port Stanley Brewing Company, restaurant and lounge in Port Stanley, Ont. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)“We've got about four to five million dollars of renovations that we're undertaking right now,” said Mescia. “Most of the exterior work is already finished, which doesn't really show you much inside but we've just started. We got electrical, and plumbing going in right now, then windows.”

They also need to insulate so they can continue to work through the winter.

On his daily walk along the harbour, Wolf Hassenstein stepped inside the open garage doors to see what was happening. He had heard rumours of a microbrewery, and was excited when Mescia gave him confirmation.

“I've got my sailboat up there,” said Hassenstein as he pointed toward the lift bridge. “I take it out in the summer, and go for a couple hour sail. Of course I'll get thirsty coming back, and it'd be nice to be able to pull up here, doc, tie up the boat and have a couple of brewskis.”

During a tour of the interior, Mescia explained the layout of the 8,629 sq. ft. structure on the western bank of Kettle Creek, just south of the King George VI Lift Bridge.

The patio of the Port Stanley Brewing Company, restaurant and lounge in Port Stanley, Ont. has been carved out. The patio will have seating for 200 people right on the harbour. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“We would be kind of in the main restaurant so behind me would be the bar, with the opposite side of us is the lake,” said Mescia. “As you're looking down [to the south], you'll have kind of what we think we're going to call the ‘Stork Lounge’ but we're not sure yet. We did find some cool historical pieces here. An old piano and a bust of Guy Lombardo, and we're going to integrate in somehow.”

In the middle of the building will be a glass partition which will separate the brewery from the restaurant and lounge.

“You'll be able to see all the coolers, freezers and guys will be working in there so you get kind of that industrial, active brewery vibe. At the far end we’re going to have an event space for about 100 people,” he said.

Mescia is excited for the garage-style doors which will pull up and you’ll be able to see all the action inside. He added that people will have a view of the beer coming off the line with the kegs directly into the bar, which will “feel like a little factory.”

The final renderings are not complete, and Mescia said they are still working through their final plan.

Work is underway inside the former Dominion of Canada building in Port Stanley, Ont. The site will be the future home of the Port Stanley Brewing Company, restaurant and lounge. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“We want to add to the tourist attractions in Port Stanley,” said Mescia. “Our main idea is to give people another reason to come. We have the train, the theater, we've got great restaurants, great shops, the beach, so add one more to the mix.”

With two breweries in St. Thomas and one in West Lorne, Elgin County Tourism is excited to bring something different to the village.

“The new craft brewery and restaurant in Port Stanley will be great for both locals, and tourists” said Carolyn Krahn, manager of economic development and tourism for Elgin County.

“With handcrafted beer, great food and stunning views, it's perfectly located near the downtown and the beach. What's really special about this development is that it's revitalizing a vacant building and it's aligning with what's already happening in the community.”

Mescia said the goal is to have the restaurant, brewery and lounge open for the upcoming tourist season. 

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