VINALHAVEN — Since Kris Davidson, a seventh generation islander, opened her real estate business, Davidson Realty, in the front of a former hardware store built by Bodwell Granite Co., she knew she also wanted to add another business in the building’s rear.
Last year, it dawned on Davidson, a classically trained pianist, to establish a speakeasy there.
Fast forward, and now Davidson is but days away from opening Skål!, a Vinalhaven speakeasy, on May 25.
The story behind the speakeasy’s name is interesting, and is a nod to the history of the building, the island and Davidson’s family.
Many of the buildings one sees today on Vinalhaven were built by Bodwell Granite, which employed many Scandinavians. Davidson’s grandmother is Swedish and household conversations were often held forth in Swedish.
Davidson recalls hearing countless times growing up the word “skål” (meaning cheers or good health), which Davidson says is naturally uplifting, not to mention catchy and easy to remember.
With Skål!, Davidson wants to attract a diverse crowd to her speakeasy — namely, those seeking joyful vibes, as well as excellent food and entertainment. She wants people to enter Skål! and instantly feel welcomed.
Entertainment will vary night-to-night with a variety of genres. Some nights will feature live music, including that of nationally acclaimed artists; other nights will feature open-mic events.
Ultimately, Davidson wants to create a place for music lovers to enjoy music.
The menu will consist primarily of locally sourced seafood, such as crab meat, smoked salmon, smoked scallops, shrimp and smoked mussels. There will also be cheese and charcuterie boards. With a nod to Scandinavian roots, there will be open-faced dishes and chokladbollar, a popular chocolate dessert.
Skål! will be open year-round. (Davidson noted that there has never been a business on the pond side, or backside of Main Street, on the island open year-round — at least in her lifetime.)
Through June, Skål! will be opening on weekend evenings, then will be open four days a week in July and August. Operational hours will be scaled back starting in September and lasting through the winter.
Annie Debow, who has significant restaurant experience, has been hired as Skål’s manager.
Reach George Harvey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.