When husband-and-wife team Jennifer Fox and Rick Frantz bought a space formerly home to an old biker bar/pizza joint back in 2007, there wasn’t much dispute over what they’d name their new pub.
Longtime residents of Great Diamond Island and native New Englanders, Fox and Frantz wanted to name their comfortable, family-friendly restaurant after a lifelong friend.
Fifty-plus years ago, Frantz was a counselor at Camp Chewonki (now known as the Chewonki Foundation) in Wiscasset, and one of his campers was an 8-year-old boy with special needs named Andy. For more than 10 years, Frantz saw Andy every summer at Chewonki, and from there, the two established an enduring friendship.
Now 62, Andy lives in South Portland in a group home and every Wednesday, like clockwork, Frantz picks him up, takes him grocery shopping and then the two make a final stop around 5 p.m. at Andy’s Old Port Pub on Commercial Street.
Adjacent to Gilbert’s Chowder House, Andy’s is five steps above street level and hard to see from the sidewalk. However, once inside, the service is welcoming, even if a bartender has to shout “hello!” from the other end of the room. The dimmed sconces fill the space with warm light, and the walls are covered with a mixed theme of lobster boat photos donated by the pub’s regulars and local art, including paper mâché seagulls that hang behind the bar.
Needless to say, Andy is very proud of his eponymous pub. Staff members and regulars know him well, and Frantz and Fox are happy to give him a place to call his own.
Andy’s is its own brand of neighborhood pub. On Commercial Street, where you can’t walk two steps without seeing another bar, chowder house or restaurant, Andy’s seems to offer a slice of solace. While there are plenty of regulars, especially when the live music gets going at night, there are many out-of-towners who stop in for a hot bowl of lobster stew, the celebrated burger or a pint of local craft beer.
Cocktails seem to be making an entrance at Andy’s, too. The Bloody Coastline is one of five Farm to Flask Maine Cocktails that feature Maine Craft Distilling spirits and recipes. This take on the Bloody Mary is complemented by the distinct juniper flavor of the locally made gin, and with the accompaniment of two fried oysters with red pepper aioli, this is basically a light meal for a mere $8.50.
Live music plays every night (no cover) at the stage by the front windows, and on Tuesdays, you can find comedy performances in the back room, which transitions into a stage.
Food is served daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and you’ll find plenty of specials, both for food and drink, to keep you happy. Andy’s is an ideal place to warm up on a chilly fall day or stop in for live music after 6 p.m.
94 Commercial Street, Portland | 207-874-2639 | www.andysoldportpub.com and www.facebook.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10:30 pm. daily
AMENITIES: Free popcorn, live entertainment, clean single-stall restrooms ample seating, great lighting.
PARKING: On street
BOTTOM LINE: Andy’s Old Port Pub offers a full bar, craft spirits, a large selection of beer and wine and local sodas. There’s live music every night, comedy on Tuesday nights in the back room and free popcorn all day. The service is great – you’ll feel less like you’re at a pub and more like it’s a family restaurant with a lively atmosphere. You can’t go wrong here.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: No