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Katy Kelleher

Katy Kelleher is a writer, teacher and editor who lives in Buxton.

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Posted: October 3, 2016

Like a worn-out sweater that also gets you drunk, Rosie’s is relaxed and cozy

Written by: Katy Kelleher
Rosie's Restaurant & Pub in Portland's Old Port. Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Rosie’s Restaurant & Pub in Portland’s Old Port.
Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

There are days when you want to sip a craft concoction complete with chamomile syrup and dine on miniature plates of picture perfect finger food.

And then there are days when you want to drown three glasses of house wine and put away french fries like you’re saving for winter. Rosie’s, an old port pub and stalwart of the bar scene, is for the latter kind of day.

As the days get shorter and our layers get bulkier, Rosie’s Restaurant and Pub beckons. Like that old fair isle sweater I’ve been wearing since college years, worn out at the elbows and stretched out at the neck, this neighborhood pub swaddles me time and again in sweet familiarity.

Unlike my sweater, Rosie’s also gets me drunk. And anyone who knows me sober knows that’s a pretty great thing. Touting itself as the “Cheers of Portland,” the pub with a green awning has been open since 1987 and, according to all reports, has changed very little in the past three decades.

A patron throws darts at Rosie's Restaurant & Pub in Portland. Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A patron throws darts at Rosie’s Restaurant & Pub in Portland.
Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Inside the red brick building, you’ll find dartboards, free popcorn and cheap beer. On my last visit, I spotted a man with a paperback book, a group of giddy bachelorettes and a few aging punk rockers, all equally at home in the cozy environment.

The menu boasts everything from calzones to pulled pork quesadillas to poutine. Ethnic influences come from all over, but the connecting thread is cheese. Lots of melted, gooey cheese.

For the thirsty, Rosie’s offers 15 taps with seven microbrews, a list of well-mixed cocktails and several easy to pronounce kinds of wine. You won’t trip over your tongue trying to order, nor will you wait overly long for a barstool. Every time I’ve been in Rosie’s, there have been plenty of patrons but also plenty of seating. It’s a miracle how that happens — an easy bit of balance from an unpretentious pub.

If it’s not obvious by now, I guess I should just say it: I love Rosie’s. And so does Esquire Magazine, which listed the Boothbay Square tavern as one of its top 100 bars in the United States. But fortunately, even national attention from a fancy glossy hasn’t turned good ol’ Rosie’s head.


Rosie’s Restaurant and Pub

WHERE: 330 Fore St., Portland
PHONE: 772-5656
WEBSITE: facebook.com/rosiesoldport
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 1 a.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Dartboards, free popcorn, bar seating, table seating, dinner and lunch service, friendly bartenders, $3 draft beer.
BOTTOM LINE: Located on a cobblestone street in the historic Old Port neighborhood of Portland, Rosie’s feels like a step back in time – yet still somehow timeless. Unpretentious and welcoming, this bar is good for happy hour drinks, casual dates and intimate conversations.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes

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