Plans are to continue with a similar menu, but the new restaurant will have twice the space and will likely sell liquor as well as beer.
The deal, which Scuttlebutt co-owner Phil Bannan said was agreed to in principle, has not yet been signed.
"We'll try not to change our product and we will continue to offer casual, family friendly dining," Bannan said. "Fish and chips will still be our mainstay."
When the deal is signed, it will bring the port into a type of lease long used in private business. The port will start getting a percentage of the restaurant's profits. It also will require Scuttlebutt's to pay its own utilities and other expenses and be involved in building maintenance.
Steve Hager, the port's property manager, said he had been looking for a restaurant tenant for the new waterfront center that will house the administration building and a host of marine-related private businesses.
He said Scuttlebutt is a well-run business that should attract people to the center.
Port director John Mohr noted that charging the restaurant a percentage of its gross sales and for maintenance is a new way of doing business for the port and will limit its costs and help it share in its tenant's success.
It plans to add those elements to its standard lease.
Mohr also noted that the building Scuttlebutt now uses on W. Marine View Drive is in an area scheduled for demolition and that the shift will allow the port to redevelopment it sooner.
Bannan is a former port director and port commissioner who didn't run for re-election last fall. He noted that the business still had five years left on its current lease but was looking "a little bit tired and is in need of a facelift."
"This will help us move into a crisp new building," he said. "It's a good location."
He said the new location should allow Scuttlebutt's to double the 55 seats in its existing dining room.
"We've been maxed out where we are and they'd like to tear the building down," he said. "We've had people lined up on Friday and Saturday nights and for some lunches, and we've been trying to figure out how to get more capacity."
Bannan said Scuttlebutt will likely make the move in February. He said the new location will include a dozen or so of Scuttlebutt's brews on tap, an increase from the existing eight. And he said he plans to apply for a liquor license.
"The rent stays the same the first year and then it goes up," he said, noting selling liquor should boost sales. He said the restaurant, now closed Sundays, will be open then at the new location.