Thursday April 17th 2014

Drink

Portland
Top of the East Lounge
// InfoCurrently closed for renovations
www.facebook.com
// At a glance

Lounge on leather with a cocktail in hand and a gorgeous view of the bay. You can’t help but take in the view immediately (those monster windows surround the entire room). Top of the East is handsome and elegant. There’s no slummin’ it up in that place.

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Portland
The Big Easy
// InfoOpen 8 or 9 pm-1 am
www.bigeasyportland.com
// At a glance

The Big Easy has been a staple for live music in Portland for about a dozen years. By far, it has the best sound system, and people who love live music go to the Big Easy. At the Big Easy you have a full bar and a casual atmosphere that’s in no way stuffy or artsy.

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Portland ME
Ruski’s  Tavern
// InfoOpen Mon-Sat 7 am-1 am; Sun 9 am-1 am
www.facebook.com
// At a glance

It’s the only joint where you can get a Hooker with your breakfast, served all day and night. It’s small and quaint, but anything but boring. Any given day you’ll find a number of regulars.

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Portland
Brian Boru public House
// InfoOpen 11:30 am-1 am daily, kitchen closes at 10 pm
brianboruportland.com
// At a glance

Because of all the Guinness signs and promotions throughout Boru, it was reassuring to know they take pride in their pour. But Brian Boru goes beyond just the physics of imported beers to stand out. The perfect happy hour deck helps. So does the toucan painted on the side of the building.

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Portland
Yosaku Japanese Restaurant
// InfoOpen Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2 pm & 5-9:30 pm; Fri 11:30 am-2 pm & 5-10:30 pm; Sat noon-3 pm & 5-10:30 pm; Sun noon- pm & 5-9 pm
// At a glance

Yosaku offers wine and beer. The wine selection is by the glass or bottle and includes two kinds of Plum Wine, a cloying beverage many people love. You can also order draft or bottled beer. At this point, you’re probably thinking the drink selection can’t possible get better or more expensive. But it does, my friends. Ever heard of Shochu?

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Portland
Sangillo’s
// InfoMon-Sat 8 am-1 am; Sun 9 am-1 am
www.facebook.com
// At a glance

Sangillo’s has been around since the ’60s. That’s old-school. There’s not much to the place – they have two TVs, a jukebox, a MegaTouch and a ciggy machine. Only cash is accepted and there are no draft beers.

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Portland
Amigo’s
// InfoOpen Sun 2 pm-1 am; Mon-Wed 3 pm-1 am; Thur-Sat 11:30 am-1 am
www.facebook.com
// At a glance

During the summer, Amigo’s is jam-packed. It’s literally shoulder-to-shoulder on the first floor, second and the patio. On the weekends, you’ll find a band on the patio (no cover) and one upstairs. The jukebox fills the downstairs bar with music and the bartenders have the authority to nix your song if they don’t like it.

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Portland
Forest Gardens
// InfoOpen 11 am-10-ish pm Mon-Sat; open Sun for football games
www.facebook.com
// At a glance

If it weren’t for the Miller Lite sign, you’d never even know it was a bar. Inside it’s just as inconspicuous. Take a second look and you’ll find subtle, but rich character. Entering the bar is like a time-warp to the late ’80s. They just removed the pay phone and the only time-stamp is the hi-def, flat-screen TV behind the bar.

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Portland
The Wine Bar
// InfoOpen Mon- Thur 5-11 pm; Fri-Sat 5 pm-midnight
// At a glance

The atmosphere is laid back. You get the feeling of being out, but the comfort of being home, too. And The Wine Bar ain’t no pick-up joint. They don’t allow such cheap behavior. This is the kind of place you go with a small crowd to share opinions on the current economy, fantasize about your next trip south or talk shop.

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Portland
Ri Ra Irish pub & Restaurant
// InfoOpen noon-1 am Mon-Sat, 11:30 am-midnight Sun
www.rira.com
// At a glance

This Irish pub looks smaller than it is. You could roll into the spot with a crew of friends and not be cramped, thanks to the upstairs and side bar. Well, unless there’s a band playing or it’s Happy Hour. The place gets packed. And fast.

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