Over the last few years, Portland has established itself as a great city with a lot of great cocktail bars. While I tend to gravitate towards beer (here’s a list of great beer in town), I thought it would be fun to document some great spots around town that you can visit if you’re visiting or thinking about moving to Portland.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the list.
The North Point
The North Point is a small, yet wonderful cocktail bar right on Silver Street in the Old Port. If you’re looking for a good place to go on a date, check this place out. It has romantic lighting (that’s what my wife says). The Cucumber Gin Martini is one of their most popular drinks. I like the pear martini. If you show up on a Monday, they have half price bottles of wine. If you show up on Tuesday, they have $6 mojitos. They used to have outdoor seating but the city was lame and put a stop to that.
Average price per cocktail: $12-13
Full disclosure – the owner is my neighbor so I may be biased 😉
Vena’s Fizz House
Next up, Vena’s Fizz House (which is right down the street from the North Point). This might be my favorite spot in town. If you like margaritas, you need to check out the Maine margarita (Tequila, blueberry, pine, dry curacao, lime juice, bitters); it’s my favorite drink in town. They also have a ridiculously good supply of bitters and everything you need to make epic cocktails at home.
Here’s what I recommend – ask one of the bartenders to surprise you. They are always trying new things. Finally, they have mocktails, which is perfect for the people who will be driving you home.
Average price per cocktail: $13-14
Portland Hunt & Alpine Club
Portland Hunt & Alpine Club is another popular spot here in town. This bar is right off Middle Street, which is right in the heart of the Old Port and close to Commercial. If you’re expecting a backwoods vibe, that’s not the case. In fact, it’s probably the opposite. This might be the most Instagrammable cocktail bar in the city.
Additionally, the owners have written a book called Northern Hospitality, if you’re curious to learn more about their style.
Average price per cocktail: $13-14
Blyth & Burrows
Blyth & Burrows is a relatively new spot off Exchange Street; it’s right in the Old Port and very close to other spots mentioned above. This location is my party-trick spot. I’ll bring friends from out of town here because there’s a secret door which goes to another bar (push the bookcase).
That’s not all.
There’s another door in the second bar that leads to a place where you can sit and talk. It’s a unique experience. The drinks are also great, although I don’t have any specific recommendations besides going through the hidden doors 🙂
Average price per cocktail: not disclosed on their website, but if I remember right, it’s similar to other locations mentioned above.
If you are up in the West End and/or find that the Hunt + Alpine Club is too busy, go to Little Giant instead.
It’s run by the same people who own Hunt + Alpine, so you can expect a similar level of quality. Quite frankly, I’ve only been here once, but I enjoyed it and it’s trendy looking so it’s a good spot to pose for Instagram or whatever the cool kids do these days. Unlike many of the other spots mentioned, they have food/brunch as well.
Average price per cocktail: Not posted on their website, but you can expect to pay the same as the others above.
- Gross Confection Bar – I haven’t been here but have heard great things (despite the name having “gross” in it).
- Sagamore Hill Lounge – a new spot in the West End worth dropping by.
- Bramhall – EPIC food and drink spot with a super fun speakeasy vibe.
In the future, I’ll add more to this list, but I’ll try to find the best (and cheapest) spots in town.
Finally, please don’t be a doofus and drink and drive. Take an Uber/cab/horsedrawn carriage home.