I absolutely love a good martini bar, given that, one, it’s a bar, and two, it sells martinis. So I was excited when I learned that there was a relatively new martini bar in Biddeford. Martini’s on Main (and yes, the apostrophe is in its official name) is owned by the same person as Uncorked, the wine bar next door, and Cowbell, a burger joint across the street. In fact, the three establishments even share a single phone line, which doesn’t work so well in practice.
When my drinking companion and I walked in, we were greeted by blaring country music and lighting so dim (at 5:15 p.m.) that we had to stop and let our eyes adjust a bit before proceeding. (And no, neither one of us is 80 years old.) A native Texan, I love country music more than many people, but even I don’t think it belongs in a martini bar that describes itself as “New York style” and definitely not at a volume so high that I had to abandon my seat at the bar and move to a couch further away from the speakers.
Before we moved away from the bar, however, we noticed that the counter top was a pretty but rough tile design, not always the best choice for glasses that you don’t want to tip over by accident. Although the bar had opened only 15 minutes before we arrived, the floor was visibly dirty, as if it hadn’t been washed or even swept for a few days. Both our menus, despite being laminated so that they could be easily wiped clean, were sticky with obvious stains on them. On a positive note, there were purse hooks and charging outlets under the bar – always a plus in my book.
The menu included $10 to $12 martinis, other specialty cocktails for $9 to $12, $8 glasses of wine (three whites and three reds, with prosecco listed as a red wine), four $7 draft beers, three $5 to $6 canned or bottled beers and five $7 desserts. At happy hour (4-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday), martini prices drop to $7.
My friend ordered The New Yorker, described on the menu as “a traditional martini with vermouth and olives.” I ordered a Lemon Drop. Mine was perfect, but my friend’s drink tasted more like olive juice with a splash of gin. It might have been fine had she ordered a dirty martini, but she had not, and – as I probably do not need to explain to Bar Guide readers – a traditional martini does not contain olive juice, just one or more olives for garnish.
Once our eyes had somewhat adjusted to the beyond-dim lighting, we realized that the décor had some thoughtful touches – extremely comfortable couches, an art print of a martini on the wall that would also look great in someone’s home, and some stylish light fixtures. Too bad none of the light fixtures were being used.
WHERE: 137 Main St., Biddeford
PHONE: (207) 284-2355 (line is shared with two other establishments)
HOURS: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
AMENITIES: New York-themed drinks and desserts, happy hour 4-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, ladies’ night on Thursdays, live entertainment on Fridays, DJ on Saturdays, charging outlets at the bar, one outdoor table
BOTTOM LINE: Not the best place to go if you’re looking for an authentic New York state of mind, but a decent happy hour choice if you’re already in Biddeford and want a $7 martini and/or lighting that hides your blemishes.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes