Monday, January 2, 2012

Portland's Best: Happy Hour (Part I)

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While this past weekend's partying (and yesterday's headache) perhaps has more than a few of you ready to swear off alcohol for good this time, I've centered my first 2012 blog post around Happy Hours in Portland, Maine. Don't vomit. Just read.

I am a big fan of the Happy Hour. After work, I don't always want to go home to my empty cabinets and beerless fridge. Happy hour is a lovely alternative--if I attend said happy hour, I don't have to slave away boiling water for ramen noodles for the umpteenth night in a row. My lack of culinary skills and my love for local beers always has me on the lookout for the "ultimate" Portland Happy Hour. And though I'm sure I've missed a million good ones, I've compiled a list of some favorite spots for cheap drinks and eats.

Shay's Grill Pub in Monument Square has one of the best happy hours in town because of their food deals, as well as drink specials. Stop in to Shay's after a grueling Monday at the office and not only do they have $1.50 PBRs (don't roll your eyes; I am neither a hipster nor a lover of shitty beer--just broke), but you can pair that cheap swill with a $4 quesadilla. Wednesday nights their pub meals (usually priced between $13-15) are only $9.99, plus Bud Lites are on special for $2.50. And while the two beers I've mentioned are less than ideal for the beer snobs we cultivate here in Portland, Shay's Friday happy hour caters to those with a more refined palate: $3 local drafts. Boom.

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If you're not at Shay's on Monday night, you ought to check out The East Ender. It's located, as you may have guessed, in the east end, and it's got quite the happy hour hook up. They have pretty sweet deals every day; from 4pm-7pm they offer $2.50 Geary's Pale drafts, $3.50 Margaritas, and $3.50 House wine. But Monday night is the time to go because from 5pm to midnight, all drafts are only $3 and Hoegarden bottles are just $2. Holy smokes! 'Til midnight! Happy hours that end at 6pm make me sad because they exclude people with  regular workday jobs. Not all of us have the luxury of (or the liver for) day-drinking availability. Thank goodness The East Ender recognizes this.

A Tip: Last time I went, I scarfed down one of their signature (bacon topped) burgers as I sipped on $2 Hoegardens. I suggest you do the same. 

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Rivalries Sports Pub and Grill had to make the list. For those that know me, this may seem funny, as my dad and stepmom are notorious Riv's regulars. And while I tease them for their sometimes less than adventurous dining choices, this place is actually a pretty cool sports bar. With the Celtics back in full swing, Rivalries is the perfect place to post up for your basketball fix. Their happy hour is awesome because it's actually not a happy hour; it's a happy day. Though the food specials only go til 7pm (which is still pretty neat), the drink specials run all day long. Yup. All day.

My advice: go on a Tuesday when it's 2-for-1 wings and $1 off Shipyard Drafts. The Sweet Chili Buffalo sauce alone is worth the trip. Though word to the wise: they are a bit on the saucy side so eat with caution--I once flung their sauce in my eye and borderline went blind. Also, not the best meal to eat on first dates, unless of course, you hate second dates.

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Back over in the East End, is The Snug. The cool tables here are reason enough to go (it's like you've got your own private room!), but they also have drink specials every day from 5pm to 7pm. Once again, I'm a big fan of this 7pm situation, as it means I have a chance of getting there on time after work. All their drink specials are just $3, featuring both local microbrews, as well as imported delights. Otto's is right next door so if you want cheap pizza to go with your cheap drinks, you're in luck. Also, any bar that does this when someone robs them, pretty much rules.

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Last, but not least, I have to mention Pai Men. Since opening in August 2010, this Japanese noodle bar has grown into so much more than noodles. Recently, they have really upped the ante with their Happy Hour--they've got two! This is a practice that's seen more in larger cities, but not so much in Portland. 7 days a week, Pai Men features drink specials from 4pm-5:30, and again from 9:30pm to midnight. I love the idea of a later happy hour--for those who work long hours, or for those who like to venture out a little later in the evening. Plus, they're across from One Longfellow Square, so it's perfect for after a show. Last time I was in, I enjoyed a $3 gin and tonic, and the lovely bartender/server Brooke graciously served my friend Matt his $2.50 hot sake. Yum yum.

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Honorable mentions:

Samuel's Bar and Grill has half-priced drafts every day from 2pm-6pm, and various kickass deals on any given night from 4-close. Oh, and as I've previously freaked out about on this very blog, they have 50 cent wings Wednesday and Thursday.

Andy's Old Port Pub has live music EVERY day and Mon-Fri $2.50 Shipyard Export drafts.

Howie's Pub, located out on Washington Ave, is one of my favorite "dive bars." The atmosphere is low-key, and the beer is always cheap. Monday nights, a seemingly hot time for awesome specials, is 2-for-1 pizza and $2 PBR drafts.

If none of these places tickle your fancy, then I'll punch you. No, wait. I mean, if you find yourself wanting more than just a list of my personal favorites, click here for a rundown of other great drink specials in this lovely little city. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. looking for place to grab a beer tomorrow night Ali and your blog came up. thanks! Miss you! Aunt S