Wharf Street, with its charming cobblestones and bustling nightlife, isn’t a frequent weekday destination for most Portland locals.
Don’t get me wrong; I love places like Bonfire as much as the next gal, but it can be a bit much for a Wednesday. For a more chill Wharf Street option, head right next door to Jager, a new Bavarian pub right here in Portland.
Jager opened in February 2017. In other words, it’s still a brand-spankin’ new addition to the Portland bar scene. Marketed as a Bavarian pub, its main focus is packing 20 taps full of German-style beers and local craft brews, as well as providing theme-appropriate bar snacks, such as bratwurst, spatzel and weiner schnitzel. Köstlich!
A German pub in Portland couldn’t have been more appropriately timed, as far as the beer selection is concerned. As craft beers have risen in popularity over the past few decades, the focus has largely been on creating hoppy juice bombs: IPAs, double IPAs, pale ales and the like. As a huge fan of hops, I can’t say I hate this trend, but it can leave me thirsty for something different every now and again.
Enter the beer selection at Jager. The draft list is jam packed with lagers, pilsners, eisbocks, dunkels and many more fun-to-say words like freigeist bierkultur. So, what does it all mean?
German-style beers, lagers and pilsners, in particular, are lighter, drier and more refreshing than the hazy, juicy IPAs to which many of us have become accustomed. You might be tempted to reduce anything labeled as a lager to a Coors or Bud Light; I urge you not to do this. Your tastebuds will thank you, as mine did while I sipped a Jack’s Abby House Lager ($6.50 for a half-liter): cold, refreshing, and with a very pleasant honey taste.
That’s not to say local craft brews are not welcome at Jager; I spotted some Austin Street Patina Pale Ale and the omnipresent Allagash White on the menu as well. And if beer isn’t your thing, they’ve still got you covered. A cider and wine were included on the draft list, in addition to a full bar ready to concoct any cocktail your heart desires.
As far as ambiance goes, Jager stays true to its shtick. Dark walls, dim lighting and a large wooden bar set the tone, and the fact that most beers are served in half-liter beer mugs really makes you feel like clinking glasses with your neighbor and yelling out a hearty “Prost!”
Just when it starts to seem like you can’t walk down the street without tripping over a new bar in Portland, one comes along and impresses you with its unique and much needed offerings. Jager: Come for the beer, stay for the fun German words.
WHERE: 41 Wharf St., Portland
WEBSITE: jageroldport.com and facebook.com/JagerOldPort
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
AMENITIES: Twenty beers on draft, full bar, great industry happy hour on Sundays, casual vibe, exotic beers, flat screen TV behind the bar, great bar snacks, friendly and knowledgeable staff.
BOTTOM LINE: A Bavarian pub right in the Old Port, Jager has an amazing selection of German-style beers, local craft brews, great Bavarian bar food, and a chill vibe on Wharf Street. Duck in and be transported to Germany for a quick beer and a brat as soon as you can.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes