There’s nothing like one 80-degree day to kick spring fever into high gear, so it felt like a better time than ever to head to Spring Point Tavern in South Portland.
Some might call that a paper-thin excuse; I call it inspiration.
If you are as addicted to the bagels at 158 Pickett Street Cafe as I am, you may have noticed the small tavern almost directly across the street and to the left. Or, like me, maybe you haven’t. The outside of the tavern is unassuming and easy to overlook; one small neon sign plus a wooden sign post are the only hints that something cool might be inside.
For a relatively divey bar, the interior of Spring Point is cheerful and light with the string lights covering the ceiling, brick walls and other decorations that have been amassed over the years. An old cigarette vending machine joins an old piano in the curiosities department, and the bar itself wraps around the corner, so bartenders can serve both sections at once.
While Spring Point Tavern has a full bar and daily drink specials, my drinking pals and I are creatures of habit, so we went for a couple pints Guinness ($4) and Shock Top ($5) as we found our seats and took in our surroundings.
The overall customer demographic was hard to put a finger on. Located right on the edge of the Southern Maine Community College campus, you’d think Spring Point Tavern would be a college bar. As it turns out, the casual, low-key vibe of the tavern is attractive to patrons young and old. The crowd was a mix of ages and life stages, which was a nice break from the solidly 25-to-35 age range present in most downtown Portland bars.
While we sipped our beers and perused the selection of old-timey card games (Scruples is worth a gander if you ever go, as it is as inscrutable as it is hilarious), we realized that we had stumbled upon none other than karaoke night (Wednesdays) at Spring Point Tavern.
As someone with an almost shameful interest in karaoke, or at least in knowing where and when it happens just in case, I was shocked to stumble upon one completely by chance. We were treated to rousing renditions of “Baby Got Back” and the always epic “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Apparently, these karaoke performers really knew how to read a room.
Though we teetered on the edge of grabbing the mic ourselves for a while, we didn’t give in to our baser desires on this particular night. But we all left (grudgingly) knowing that Spring Point Tavern is a place where it would be easy to spend an entire evening and agreed we’d be back for repeat visits.
Sometimes you immediately click with a bar; it just gets you implicitly. And when that happens, be sure to hold on tight and mark the karaoke nights on your calendar.
WHERE: 175 Benjamin W Pickett St., South Portland
HOURS: Noon to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday
AMENITIES: Pool table, horseshoe bar, cheap drinks, pool table, darts, live music nights, open mic night, karaoke, outdoor patio with covered smoking area, TV above bar, friendly staff, multiple seating areas, bar snacks, pub food, games
BOTTOM LINE: Spring Point Tavern is just good, old-fashioned fun. Darts, pool and karaoke all go really well with a $4 beer, so check their Facebook page to see what’s up on any given night.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes