Where to stay, eat and booze in Portland, Maine?
October 1, 2007 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Mainers: I need bar and cheapo hotel recommendations for Portland this Friday.

We will be arriving around 8 p.m. and stay overnight before catching a ferry in the morning. Where should we stay? Where should we drink? Fun dive bars with food preferred but any type of saloon recommendation gratefully accepted. AskMe is full of Portland advice, but it's all for that other Portland.
posted by CunningLinguist to Travel & Transportation around Portland, ME (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: YAY! I can't believe it's actually "my" Portland this time.

I don't know where you can stay, but for booze and eats:

High-End eats: The great Fore Street, and also Street and Company for seafood.

Low-end eats: Granny's Burritos, Flatbread Pizza Co. (not traditional pizza, but awesome brick-oven, crunchy-granola, organic, local - try the pumpkin ice cream with gingerbread for dessert) and the Wine Bar on the 2nd floor behind Street and Co. on Wharf St.

Pubs: Gritty MacDuff's, right in town, and the Great Lost Bear, a little ways out. Good pub grub at both.

Hint for future: To search Portland, ME, info, search "Maine." There are a ton of threads, with good Portland info subsumed in them.

Also: If you have time to stop in Portsmouth, or if you want company while you're in Portland, don't hesitate to email. We're 45 minutes away from Portland and often go up for an evening - it's an easy trip in either direction.
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on October 1, 2007

Best answer: Portland is effing awesome.

It's not really a bar but there's a little place called Duckfat which has amazing sandwiches, fries and not too expensive wine.

There is a big bar across the street from Mexicali Blues in the old port that is a nice place to get a drink.

Brian Boru's is a straight ahead irish bar. Nice place, dark, dank, just right.

2nd on Grannie's Burritos.

There are a bunch of cool places on Congress St., near the art museum, going south. Blue is one, I'm not sure the names of the others.

Too bad you don't have more time to spend. It's a pretty great place.

posted by sully75 at 7:18 AM on October 1, 2007

Best answer: Not a Mainer, but figured I could chime in with a hotel recommendation. I stayed last year at the Inn at St John, which was comfy and cheapish, and a pleasant walk from downtown.

And I second Duckfat. Best fries you'll ever taste, assuming you're not vegetarian (it's called Duckfat for a reason).
posted by catesbie at 7:36 AM on October 1, 2007

Best answer: Seconding Inn at St John. Stayed there a bunch of years ago and it was great. Looks pricey, but it wasn't.

I always stop by Gritty's when in Portland, too.
posted by jdl at 7:48 AM on October 1, 2007

Best answer: I know nothing about hotels, but a ton about restaurants.

If you want a real dive bar, go to Amigo's in the old port.

Other good drink options include the White Heart or the Downtown Lounge, both on Congress Street. Both offer food, but the DL's is much better, but there can sometimes be a long wait.

Real neighborhood places with generic but huge portions of american food: Rosie's in the Old Port and Ruski's on the west end.

I think the best higher-end restaurant in Portland is Caiola's in the West End, although a friend of mine told me the paella was very dry. YMMV.

If you want to go out to breakfast and it's warm and sunny go to the Porthole and sit on the deck. (That's on one of the wharfs in the Old Port.)

Post more info about what you're into and I'll come up with more!
posted by miss tea at 7:56 AM on October 1, 2007

Response by poster: This is great. You guys rock. I booked us into the Inn and St. John's and am already slavering for duckfat fries. And one always likes such an embarras de choix when it comes to bars. I promise we will do our utmost to hit them all!

Miko - you're one mefite I've always wanted to meet, given that I'm in newspapers and into museums, but I think the tenuousness of our plans (we don't know exactly when we will get there etc) precludes making social plans. Another time!
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:50 AM on October 1, 2007

Is the Afghan Restaurant still open? I used to go once a week when I was at USM!
posted by Mmothra at 3:13 PM on October 1, 2007

Response by poster: Just wanted to thank everyone for that Inn at St. John recommendation - a fabulous old former bordello now nicely renovated and very charming. (Beware though: some of the bathrooms are shared, and even if you get a private one, it's liable to be down a hallway anyway. That said, while I am not big on shared bathrooms, this was fine.)
We got to Portland too late to go check out the downtown, but had a spectacular bacon pizza at the joint across from the hotel. There should be more bacon pizza in the world. And if you can possibly arrange to be in a really non-touristy Portland dive on a night when Manny Ramirez hits a three run homer at the bottom of the ninth in a playoff game, I recommend the experience. Utter delerium.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2007

« Older Name that tune (redux)   |   Why can't I load certain web sites? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.