Portland, Maine – do it like the locals do it

17 Mar

by Kristy & Friends

Kristen just moved back to the Northeast, so I compiled a list of my favorite things in Portland hoping to inspire her… and asked a few friends to do the same.

Zack’s Portland Awards:

Best dog-friendly beach: East End Beach
Best dive bar with late night food: Ruski’s (West End)
Best bar (and best beer selection in New England): Novare Res (Old Port)
Homegrown Tea Shop on (Munjoy Hill)  — guaranteed coziness
Best coffee shop — Hilltop Coffee (Munjoy Hill)
Best soup: Kamasouptra (Monument Square, upstairs in the public market)
Best place to encounter crazy people: Around Joe’s Smoke Shop (congress st.)
Best place to hang out for hours without buying much: Upstairs at the Public Market.
Best grilled peanut butter and fluff sandwich: Upstairs at the Public Market
Best place for fried pickles and/or milkshakes (and many other great things): Silly’s (Washington Ave/munjoy)
Best place to watch the sunset — Eastern Prom.
Mondays (Bluegrass night) at the Empire (Congress St.)
Thursdays (Bluegrass night) at Gritty McDuffs (Old Port)
Most intimate music venue (folk/blues): Blue
Best music venue for a fairly big act: State Theater
Everything at the Space Gallery is awesome! — concerts, lectures, films….
Free admission to art museum every Friday night.
Best bowling (I hear): Bayside Bowl
Best local alternative publication: The
Best place to be if Portland is once again burned down by the British navy: Fort Gorges.
Best breakfast: Front Room (Munjoy Hill)
Best hair salon: Options Hair Studio (Old Port)

Kristy’s Portland Favorites:

Food & Drink:
-Otto (pizza)
-Duck Fat
-Sushi: Miyake, Fuji
-Flatbread Pizza
-brunch at Bintliff’s
-Best Bagels: Mr Bagel
-Local Sprouts
-Coffee: coffee by design, Bard coffee
-dive bars: Rosie’s, Bubba’s silky lounge, J’s Oyster, Amigos
-Pubs: Gritty’s, Brian Boru’s (live music often), Bull Feeney’s, RiRa, Sebago Brewing
– bars with better drinks: Empire, Novare Res, Local 188, Sonny’s

-nice restaurants: 555, The Front Room (and other ‘Rooms’), Street & Co, Fore Street, Bresca, Evangeline, Hugos, Bar Lola (lots of good ones on Munjoy Hill…and lots of great spots popping up all around Portland, all the time!)
-markets/groceries: Rosemont, Portland Market (2 floors, near Monument Sq), Big Sky Bread, Standard Baking Co
-Bizarre: The Clambake near Pine Point, chocolate store near OOB (with a chocolate moose!)
-Farmers Market:
-Great food resource:

-lighthouses (Portland Head Light, Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth)
-Go to Peaks Island
-Fort Gorges
-Crescent beach
-Pine Point and Old Orchard Beach
-Portland trails and maps:

-SALT, MECA (exhibits, classes)
-Artwalk (first Fridays of every month)
-Museums/galleries (ie: SPACE, Maine College of Art)
-bookstores/record stores in old port: Rabelais (cookbooks), Longfellow Books

Lindsay’s Portland Picks:

Food & Drink:
-the Snug
-Local 188
-Mesa Verde (mexican)
-Conundrum (wine bar by the Big Indian in Freeport)
-Silverhouse for late night karaoke
-reggae on Diamond island
-Grace (in a former church)
-The Empire for shows
-Brian Boru on Sunday afternoons for live Irish music
-Saltwater Grill, Walters, Joe’s Boathouse…
-Bakeries: Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth, Scratch, 5 Cats, Standard Baking Co

Hiking and out of town:
-The greenway or beltway
-In Gray there is good hiking, in Bath there is a great coffee house, and in Westbrook there are new funky businesses
-Smiling hill Farm (also in Gray)
-Pineland Farms outside portland (cc skiing)

Joe’s Portland Additions:

More fun food: 158 (breakfasty) and Scratch Bakery in So Po, and in Portland, Hot Suppa and Bintliff’s for brunch and Silly’s for just creative and tasty food.. and awesome cake…

Another pub: Empire Dine and Dance, up in the arts district, with free Bluegrass downstairs on Monday eves (doh!) – great venue upstairs and a quieter pub downstairs – nice if you’re looking to get away from the old port feel (multiple meanings..?)

Outdoor: another good ref:  HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank”

Music: Lots of free music kicking around, and some great non-free venues – Portland City Music Hall, One Longfellow, State Theater just reopened..

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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Kristy, Maine, Travel


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