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Maeve’s Mobile Cocktail Hour on Road to Success

Published Wednesday Jun 7, 2023

Author Matthew J. Mowry

Mellissa Walls, owner of Maeve’s Mobile Cocktail Hour. (Courtesy photo)

Mellissa Walls has spent years learning the ins and outs of restaurants, working front of house as a hostess, waitress and bartender and back of house as a manager and chef after graduating from culinary school.

However, shortly after the initial COVID outbreak, an old leg injury flared back up, and Walls found she couldn’t work the line or go up and down stairs like she used to, leaving her to wonder what she could do to earn a living. “During my existential crisis, I ran across this mobile bar concept. It is really blooming across the country.”

Completely immobilized, she spent time researching this idea kicking around in her head and eventually reached out to two brothers who run Maine Vintage Campers to see if they could convert a camper into a mobile bar.

As her knee healed, she realized she had not heard back from the brothers for a couple of months and reached out again. “He said, I have been thinking about you. You need to come and see what I’ve been working on,” she recalls.

What he was working on was converting a 1964 Shasta trailer into a custom mobile bar. It was love at first sight for Walls, who quickly agreed to buy it, eventually naming her new trailer Maeve, who she notes was a Celtic goddess so intoxicating that even the gods couldn’t look upon her without falling under her spell.

She worked with the NH Liquor Commission to learn everything she needed to do to have a new and little-used license that allows mobile bars to operate in NH. “It took me a long time to iron out those laws to figure out what I could and couldn’t do with my license,” Walls says. “We can do private parties. The client buys the liquor, I bring Maeve over and set up the bar with whatever [cocktail] menu we [she and the client] come up with.” She also notes she can work public ticketed events.

Maeve, the custom mobile bar. (Courtesy photo)


Walls debuted Maeve’s Mobile Cocktail Hour at a nonprofit gala in June 2022. “It’s really cool. Maeve is a bar. She is outfitted with refrigeration, she has a kegerator, and a waterspout for speedier service,” Walls says. She has outfitted Maeve with an eclectic array of vintage glassware and plates as well. Maeve has a silver polish exterior and a slab of wood that can be used for bar service. Her walls are adorned with old pages from almanacs, and Mr. Boston’s official bartender’s guides. “She really draws your eye,” Walls says. “She is gorgeous.”

Maeve and Walls are proving popular, especially for nonprofit events and weddings. “Business has been absolutely booming,” Walls says, noting she set a modest goal of 16 events last year and booked 29. She already booked that many for 2023 so far and began hiring staff. She has three employees and plans to hire more for what is looking to be a busy wedding season this year. She has craft fairs, a party for a play opening for a theater, several wedding and private parties booked as well as an employee appreciation event for a company.

For indoor events or larger events that need more than one bar, Walls added a satellite bar, Maude, which is made from a former China hutch.  

Walls says there are only a handful of mobile bars operating in the state, and she differentiates herself by drawing on her culinary background and offering catering services.

Business is going so well, Walls says she has dreams of eventually having a fleet of mobile bars. “Who knows? I am excited to see where this goes.”

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