Artists and amateurs are flocking to a new haven in Port Jefferson Village. Muse Paintbar, which combines painting instruction with a restaurant & bar, uncorked in Port Jefferson in January.
It’s the 23rd location for Muse, a concept Stan Finch dreamt up while attending Harvard Business School and officially launched in the Boston area in 2012, and third on Long Island (Great Neck and Garden City are the others). Finch’s original inspirations came from the South, but he’s splattered some Northeast twists into Muse Paintbar.
“The ones we saw in the south were sort of throw-paint-on-a-wall type concepts with easels and fold-out tables,” Finch said. “We wanted to invest more on the environment and experience. We thought of this more as entertainment, less of a classroom.”
It’s why Finch decided to open in places like Port Jefferson, where there’s a town center, thriving Main Street and a desire to put fun twists on nights out.
“We wanted to be…around restaurants and bars people could go to before and after.”
But those who want to sip and nibble while they paint can feed their creativity (and growling stomachs) with tapas-style offerings such as French bread pizzas and cheese platters. There are also wines and beers, including “Beach Beer Ale” and “Trippel H” from Port Jeff Brewing Company.
Finch said the food options add to the social aspect of Muse Paintbar. The vibe is rustic, with recycled barn wood tables and chairs and a brick wall, and lets attendees feel as if they’re in an artist’s loft—even if they are picking up a paintbrush for the first time since high school art class.
“Some people are nervous about not having prior experience. The artists walk you through every step. The people who do have experience don’t have to follow step by step. They can embellish or change colors.”
This spring, Muse will add new programming, including opportunities to paint wine glasses, mason jars and wooden signs. People can also send in a photo of their pet. The staff will sketch it and attendees will be able to paint their furry friends.
And another Muse is slated to open in Woodbury this May. The expansions are coming during a time where coloring books, PaintNites and Paint and Sips are en vogue as people look to escape from everyday life for a few hours.
“It’s a time where you can have some creative expression where you’re not thinking about the other things going on. It’s therapeutic.”