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Claire Jeffers

Claire Jeffers is a freelance writer living in Portland, Maine. Follow her on Twitter: @claireeats

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Posted: July 22, 2014

There’ll probably be a wait at The Ramp … and it’ll be worth it

Written by: Claire Jeffers
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Photo by Claire Jeffers.

The Ramp Bar & Grill is what a sports bar might have looked like in Maine several decades ago. Except at The Ramp, there’s a distinct sanctuary-like quality to the place. While old pennants, jerseys and Fenway signs take up every inch of ceiling, the decor is meticulous in an appealing way, like the rows of rusty basketball hoops bolted to the low-hanging ceiling of one room, or the benches held together solely by a collection of antique baseball bats.

The significantly more casual sister restaurant to Pier 77 (white linen tablecloths versus mismatched chairs and tables and the above-mentioned sports relics), The Ramp is a beach-y, string-lights kind of place that has a prime view of Cape Porpoise Harbor off Pier Road in Kennebunkport.

Browse all Maine’s watering holes and eateries: Maine Restaurant & Bar Directory

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Photo by Claire Jeffers.

There’s limited space inside, but somehow everyone gets squeezed in, so a 20-minute wait (yes, even to sit at the bar) is worth it. They’ll get you a drink while you pass the time on the side deck, where a few benches and Adirondack chairs overlook the water.

Inside, a mixed crowd of locals and vacationers (several French-speaking families were overheard) dine on what’s best described as dressed-up pub fare (bistro-style clam chowder, crab cakes, nachos, mussels, spaghetti and meatballs), local craft beer, wine by the glass or a choice from the house cocktail list. Combined with the salty air, the smell of tomato sauce, fish stew and crusty grilled bread wafts from the kitchen, making it hard not to order one of everything from the menu.

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Photo by Claire Jeffers.

The wine list is sensible, ranging in price from $7 to $13 a glass. They have four beers on tap, including Guinness, Baxter IPA, Rogue Dead Guy and Allagash White. The bottle list includes 18 common contenders and a few local craft beers.

Ask for the cocktail list if your server doesn’t immediately pass it along. It’s worth trying one (or two) of their seven options, which range in price from $9 to $12. On the cheaper end, the Angry Arnold ($9) is a perfect sweet and sour mix of Gunpowder rye whiskey, iced tea and fresh lemon. For $12, the cucumber martini is made with Hendricks, St. Germain’s Elderflower and muddled cucumber, and the Pinarita is a mix of Hornito’s tequila, lime juice, coconut cream and pineapple juice with a shaved-coconut rim.

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Photo by Claire Jeffers.

Open daily and year-round from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., The Ramp is steadily busy on summer days. The sunset here is highly recommended. When the tide’s out, lobster boats and dinghies sit stranded on the muddy flats, and the windows of The Ramp reflect a pink-orange tinge as the sinking sun dips behind coastal cottages.

WHERE: 77 Pier Road, Cape Porpoise
PHONE: 967-8500
HOURS: Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
SPECIALS: Daily food specials.
AMENITIES: Outdoor seating, window seating, vintage sports paraphernalia (lots of it), small TVs if you want to watch a game.
PARKING: Free parking lot.
BOTTOM LINE: The Ramp Bar & Grill is the more casual sister restaurant of Pier 77. The Ramp offers great food and drink and you could walk in with sandy feet or get dressed up for a cocktail, either way works here. Known for its almost shrine-like sports theme, every inch of space (and space is rather limited) is covered with old Celtic and Sox signs, pennants, baseball uniforms and hats, basketball hoops, etc. The view from The Ramp is breathtaking, especially at sunset when the harbor gets painted in oranges, pinks and reds.

Claire Jeffers is a Portland freelance writer.

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