Bowl, play pinball, paint a picture or take charge of the Monopoly board at these fun establishments.
58 Alder St., Portland | 207-791-2695 | baysidebowl.com | $$
On cold winter nights, this is the place where groups of friends meet to warm up with pitchers of beer and a few strings on the lanes. But it’s also a spot in any season to chow down on way-above-average bowling alley grub, including fan-favorite tater tots, served plain or as poutine. On the menu: fare you might expect, such as nachos and “BBQ pork cigars,” as well as lobster grilled cheese and a Cuban sandwich. The island bar seats about 18, but there’s ample seating throughout the dining area, with tables and seats against the wall and a long counter that overlooks the lanes. Live music on weekends.
24 Preble St., Portland | 207-747-4958 | facebook.com/ArcadiaNationalBar | $
Indulge your inner (or outer) nerd with Pac-Man, pinball, or a game of Super Mario Bros to recall your misspent youth at this year-old Portland hangout. The beer selection includes local brews on tap and the menu offers one thing: grilled cheese, plain or with “extras,” which change daily. New this fall: On Saturdays, the bar opens to all ages from Noon to 4 p.m. with no alcohol served; Maine Root beverages and snacks will be available.
245 Commercial St., Portland | 207-618-9500 | musepaintbar.com | $$
Maine is full of talented artists. If you’re not one of them, you can still get in the game by booking a “session” at Muse, putting on an apron and picking up a brush. While you create your masterpiece, with the help of people who are actually artists, you can sip wine or beer and nosh on hot and cold nibbles such as spinach and feta triangles or a hummus platter. If your creative side requires heartier fare, there are a few larger plates, such as 3-cheese mac and cheese or a chicken calzone. Most sessions are $35; food and drink additional.
725 Broadway, South Portland | 207-200-2226 | easydaysopo.com | $$$
A spacious, family-friendly 10-lane bowling alley, restaurant and bar, Easy Day is a huge place that offers great views of the Fore River, Portland and Casco Bay Bridge from the dining area and large patio. The staff is extremely friendly and quick and the crowd is lively and laid-back. The specialty of the house is Detroit-style pizza, served “upside down” (toppings under the sauce and cheese), but there’s a full menu that includes classic bar food, pasta, burgers and more.
206 Main St., Saco | No phone | facebook.com/Up-Up | $
Fair warning: Up & Up got its designation because of the two flights of stairs you have to climb in the narrow townhouse building to get the bar on Saco’s Main Street. Nostalgia is the operative word in this lounge-y space, which feels like someone’s quirky rec room: There’s a stack of board games in one corner, an antique gramophone, and booths with Pac-Man and PlayStation. The cocktail list leans classic; beers are largely local and there’s wine by the glass, bottle and on tap. Chips and salsa and popcorn from the machine are free; a small menu offers items such as grilled cheese, chicken wings and chili.
The approximate cost of two breakfast entrees (not including drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up