ISO: Fun, casual dining with great beer in Portland, ME
I am traveling for business to Portland and looking for a cool restaurant to eat good food and good beers. My friends and I hope to find a casual restaurant with entrees around $15. It does not matter what type of food but a good beer selection is pretty important. Any suggestions out there?
Its hard to go wrong with the Great Lost Bear. Some people have disparaged the food, but it is standard pub fare, I doubt there is anything over 15 bucks, and I think its just fine. Lots of burger and sandwich selections, good wings, etc. But more importantly, they have about 50 beers on tap, most of them local. They also have tastings many nights with the brewers in-house to pour their creations.
If your looking for fun and different - Home of Casco Bay Brewing - take a 15 min. ferry ride over to Peaks Island to the Pub at The Inn on Peak Island. (just pick up the ferry there in downtown Portland) just a block off the dock is the Inn.
I second the Great Lost Beer. The food is OK. Cheese fries are great, burgers good and they have pretty wide selection of pub fare. But you can't match the beer selection or beer-geek vibe. Usually one or two cask conditioned beers available at all times.
They were recently named one of the 10 best beer bars in America by Forbes Traveler. And if you are a brewer, there is a comprehensive brewer supply shop, next door.
On Thursday nights they showcase a local or regional beer, often with the brewer in attendance. They have also added specials on Wednesdays to showcase their new Belgian taps.
If you are around this week on Thursday night, they are having their annual rite of Spring, Allagash beers, mussles and frites. Keep it under your hat, I want to make sure I get my share!
Enjoy Portland..lots of great food and drink to try!
I instantly thought of GLB too. I go regularly, the food is just ok, nothing special but passable for burgers, wings, a huge salad, etc. There are a few land mines and it is incosistent but sit at the bar if you can so you can see all the drafts (they do have a list as well) and, generally, you'll get better service. Television is way in the back so socializing is more the focus then the boob tube. For some reason the soups are always delicious as are the dessert specials (must be made by the owner or at least consistently the same person).
It's a short taxi ride from downtown (advisable anyway if consuming mass quantity of alco-carbo beverage). If a huge, wide variety of mostly New England beers with a new handful of Belgian beers on tap as well doesn't do it for you, right downtown is Gritty's and Sebago Brewing, all with decent pub fare and a line of their own brews. If that type of food doesn't do it, Vignola's (which I haven't been to in a very long time) has charcuterie, pizza and apps that should fit your budget and they have a long list of bottled beer featuring Belgian ales.
GLB has a good selection of beer but nothing else to offer. I gave the place many opportunities but after constant disappointment I stopped going altogether. The food was bad on my visits. plus there is nothing to do in that neighborhood.
Here's my advice - portland is a great beer town. Many local brews which are widely available. Gearys, shipyard, grittys, casco bay, peaks island and many more.
For this time of year, head to flatbread pizza which has a great location (on the harbor). Try to time your dinner to keep you there for dusk / sunset. Somehow the beer there always tastes great. They must keep it a few degrees colder or the lines are really clean...not sure.
I like gilbert's chowder house also. Can't beat fried seafood and cold dark beer!
I am not a big fan of grittys but a lot of people love the place.
plenty of places in town along the waterfront and in the old port that will serve up good beer and good food. Ri-ra is another. Mesa Verde is good. Dogfish cafe is good.
have fun! try not to work too hard.