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Colleen Katana

Colleen Katana is a romance novelist by day and a cocktail reviewer by night. She lives in Portland where she can usually be found hunched over her laptop, wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes. Instagram: katanacollins

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Posted: November 6, 2017

The price is right at The Painted Turtle in Scarborough

Written by: Colleen Katana
The bar at The Painted Turtle on the Scarborough-Gorham line. Photos by Colleen Katana

The bar at The Painted Turtle on the Scarborough-Gorham line.
Photos by Colleen Katana

There are some days that you want to put on a cute dress and a pair of heels and have a glass of wine somewhere trendy. Then there are days you want to tuck your hair into a baseball hat, wear your favorite Patriots sweatshirt and ripped jeans you haven’t washed in two weeks while having a cheap beer and a good burger.

When you’re looking for the latter, The Painted Turtle is the place to go.

Sixty mile per hour winds and the destruction thereafter of that October storm was not enough to keep locals away from this little bar by the Scarborough-Gorham line. If anything, the fallen power lines and lack of electricity probably gave these patrons even more of a reason to leave their dark abodes and swing in for a hot meal and a cold drink. Such was the case with the lady having a beer beside me; since she couldn’t cook dinner and her road home was blocked by Central Maine Power workers, she popped in for a quick cold one.

The Painted Turtle has a frat-boy feel.

The Painted Turtle has a frat-boy feel.

The place was somewhat hard to find, with its faded sign and low-lit driveway in the dark winter evening, and I missed the turn the first time. Once inside, the staff was friendly and helpful, but after you order, they let you be. The decor is casual and cute with statues of turtles decorating various areas and the menu scribbled on a chalkboard on the wall. With its insanely cheap drink specials and inexpensive junk food, my inner frat boy was jumping for joy as I sidled up at the tiled bar and ordered a house margarita ($2), Frye’s Leap IPA ($1.99) and a Jell-O shot (for kicks and giggles and only $1).

Full disclosure: I didn’t have the typical college experience. I went to an overpriced art school down in Georgia where fraternities and sororities were about as cool as your grandmother’s needlepoint. So, when I stepped into the local dive — and I say that with the utmost affection — I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of bros lining the bar. All it needed to complete my lacking fraternity experience was beer pong set up in the back corner and a girl puking in the bathroom.

Jell-O shots are just $1 and draft specials are as little as $1.99.

Jell-O shots are just $1 and draft specials are as little as $1.99.

But I digress. Back to the booze. For those beer-loving patrons, the bar has 12 taps of mostly local beers. The margarita I ordered was an even mix of sour and sweet and tasted exactly how a $2 margarita should taste. The Frye’s Leap was a decent IPA, served in the same cheap plastic cup that all the drinks were served in, adding to that fraternity experience I never got to have.

Waffle fries are among the fried snack offerings at The Painted Turtle.

Waffle fries are among the fried snack offerings at The Painted Turtle.

In a moment of weakness (and who wouldn’t have one, staring at a menu full of wings, onion rings and other fried deliciousness), my companion and I ordered a plate of loaded waffle fries ($6.99), the bacon cheddar burger ($3.99), and the lobster roll ($8.99). The loaded fries were a bit disappointing, but the burger was simple and delicious, as was the lobster roll. It’s certainly not going to win any awards, but for half the price of your average lobster roll in Portland, it hit the spot.

All in all, The Painted Turtle is a fun, laid-back place, perfect for a casual night out and a quick, inexpensive drink and dinner.

The Painted Turtle

WHERE: 89 County Road, Scarborough
PHONE: (207) 839-8880
WEBSITE: On Facebook
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Happy hour, full bar, Jell-O shots, pitchers of beer and margaritas, breakfast, lunch, dinner, TV, kid-friendly, outdoor seating
BOTTOM LINE: A local haunt, perfect for the casual night out with friends, The Painted Turtle is a fun, easy bar to hang out and drink some cheap beer.

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