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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 27, 2015

Crooners & Cocktails will fly you to the moon with a great happy hour

Written by: Claire Jeffers
Crooners and Cocktails offers happy hour Tuesday through Saturday from 4-6 p.m. and again from 11 p.m. - 1 a.m., featuring $3 drafts, $5 Sinatra cocktails, $5 Cosmos, $3 appetizers and $2 oysters.  Claire Jeffers photo

Crooners and Cocktails offers happy hour Tuesday through Saturday from 4-6 p.m. and again from 11 p.m. – 1 a.m., featuring $3 drafts, $5 Sinatra cocktails, $5 Cosmos, $3 appetizers and $2 oysters.
Claire Jeffers photo

At Crooners & Cocktails on Exchange Street, it’s hard not to get nostalgic. Like its name suggests, the soundtrack at this restaurant and bar is strictly set to crooners like Sinatra and Martin, and even the two small TVs play black & white Turner Classic Movies.

Owners Chris Harris and Rick DaSilva have a thing for the Rat Pack, and thought Portland could use a fine dining establishment in the style of supper clubs (dinner and a show) of the 50s and 60s. While supper clubs were known for live music and entertainment, Crooners & Cocktails won’t be offering shows until they secure a license. For now, a gimmicky red carpet is rolled out every night (Tuesday through Saturday), tables are draped with white linen, and the chairs and bar stools are comfortable, plush lounge furniture that will be great for whenever the shows do commence.


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Both restaurant industry veterans with a combined 40 years of experience, Harris and DaSilva opened Crooners on May 15 with a tight budget and a vision to offer “super classic American cuisine” and “booze in a glass that’s done perfectly.”

You won’t find any experimental craft cocktails with house infused liquors or local bitters, but the list of 14 drinks ($8 to $11) are as classic as they get and, for the most part, done right. The Negroni is perfect, but the margarita is served in a perplexingly large bowl-sized stem glass akin to something you might see at a chain Mexican restaurant. Other cocktails include a French 75, Mint Julep, Manhattan, etc., and even Ol’ Blue Eyes’ favorite drink – Jack Daniels on the rocks with a splash of water. During happy hour (Tuesday through Saturday 4 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.), the Frank Sinatra and the Cosmo are both $5, draft beer is $3, select appetizers are $3, as well as $2 oysters.

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Claire Jeffers photo

Harris admits the name Crooners and Cocktails has been misleading to some who think its just a bar, even though he’d like people who think of it as a place to get dressed up and go out to dinner (jeans and a t-shirt also acceptable here). Including the bar, there are 39 seats available in a rather narrow space. Mirrors line one wall, which helps visually, but with a packed house, there’s the potential to feel a little cramped.

For now, the crowd at Crooners seems to be mixed. While some young faces sat at the bar, the tables were mostly filled with an older clientele – which makes sense, given the Frank Sinatra vibe.

In the coming months, check Crooners’ website for events and specials. On December 12 they will be celebrating Sinatra’s 100th birthday, fit with a Jack Daniels tasting and live music.

The Negroni  Claire Jeffers photo

The Negroni
Claire Jeffers photo

Crooners and Cocktails

90 Exchange St., Portland | 207-536-0469 | croonersandcocktails.com
HOURS: Dinner 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Brunch
AMENITIES: Red carpet, black and white Turner Classic Movies, coat and purse hooks under bar, comfortable chairs and bar stools
PARKING: On street
BOTTOM LINE: A classy joint with a major throwback vibe to the 50s and 60s era of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Crooners & Cocktails offers classic cocktails, beer on draft, a great happy hour, and a full dinner menu.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes

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