As someone who likes the idea of sports, but is also definitely not a sports person, I feel that I should confess something right off the bat (pun intended): I’ve never actually been to Rivalries in Portland.
In a way, that’s a good thing, as my experience at Rivalries’ Falmouth location wasn’t clouded by comparisons, but a fresh look at a new sports bar in the suburbs.
I found Rivalries, next to Family Ice Center and behind the Wal-Mart off Route 1, to be the perfect midday pick-me-up on a gray and rainy Wednesday afternoon – when, by the way, there isn’t much happening in televised sports. But that meant a few fellow patrons and I had all 32 TVs to ourselves.
That’s right: Thirty. Two. Screens. The interior, aside from the spectacular TV display, was cozy and warm, with high ceilings and a tasteful amount of exposed beams. I felt vaguely like I was in a ski lodge, and I liked it.
The bar area is huge. Even with 16 high-top tables and a 15-seat bar, there is plenty of space to move around and enjoy a game, rabble-rouse and gesture emphatically with one’s fellow sports fans.
There were daily food specials on a board, 12 beers on tap (with a good amount of local options) and a full bar, if you’re more of a rum-and-coke person.
All beers are offered in 16- and 20-ounce servings and, most importantly, in a pitcher.
For food, I ordered what any sane woman drinking Maine Beer Co.’s Lunch alone on a rainy afternoon would order: pickle chips and nachos.
I’m going to get real right now and say that I think it’s OK to judge an establishment almost entirely on the caliber of its pickle chips. Rivalries’ were some of the best I’ve had in Maine: chips, not spears, and just the right amount of breading.
Also, the nachos were ginormous and delicious, which are my two big qualifiers for nachos.
The menu otherwise contained a few soup and salad options, as well as a splendid array of classic bar foods: wings, onion rings, burgers and even poutine – the kind of fuel needed for cheering one’s team to victory.
There was an equally spacious dining area that seemed family-friendly and is probably a little quieter than the bar area.
A small game room with Big Buck Hunter and hockey foosball will be sure to please both the young at heart and actual children.
There are no happy hour specials yet, but having been open for only about a month, Rivalries’ managers want to take time to get to know their clientele before figuring out what should go on the board.
I’ll be sure to come back to check out what they offer and maybe even catch a game or two. As long as there are pickle chips.
Samantha Schnare is a freelance writer and taproom associate at Bissell Brothers.
WHERE: 2 Hat Trick Drive, Falmouth
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Separate bar and dining area, plentiful seating, 32 TVs, daily food specials, dinner and lunch menu, micro arcade.
BOTTOM LINE: The new Rivalries location boasts many of the same things that make its Portland location a local staple: family-friendly, plentiful screens, spacious and comfy interior, full bar and classic bar food. It’s a great place to watch the game with your whole crew.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes