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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: March 4, 2015

Dining Guide: 5 Portland hotel bars you should know

There’s something about a hotel bar. Maybe it’s the chance to meet people from out of town, or perhaps the comfortable feeling that if you have one too many, there are rooms nearby. These Portland hotel bars all have distinct personalities, and one is even offshore.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

For full listings and more restaurants, see our searchable Restaurant & Bar Guide.

Armory Lounge

A busy night at the Armory Lounge. Press Herald file photo

A busy night at the Armory Lounge. Press Herald file photo

Portland Regency Hotel | 20 Milk St. | 207-774-4200 | theregency.com
One of the city’s favorite haunts — especially in the cold weather — The Armory is cozy and convivial. Just below street level at the historic, Old Port hotel (once an actual armory), the bar has warm-wood paneling and book-patterned wallpaper, comfortable armchairs and spacious tables – making it feel a bit like a library that serves martinis. Settle in with a specialty cocktail and ask your server for a plate of the complimentary pub cheese and crackers. If you’re hungry there’s a full menu and the burger is one of the best in town.

Top of the East

Top of the East. Courtesy photo

Top of the East. Courtesy photo

Westin Harborview Hotel | 157 High St. | 207-775-5411 | westinportlandharborview.com
Following a much-needed refurbishment, Portland’s sky-high cocktail lounge is once again the place to be, especially when the weather allow for a spectacular view of Casco Bay through windows on three sides. A variety of comfortable seating options includes round tables for four, sofas, and communal high tops, all designed to give as many guests as possible access to the view. There’s a large wine list, selection of local beers, classic and contemporary cocktails, and interesting appetizers such as braised pork belly sliders, and beet and dill pollen-cured salmon.

Glass

Glass at the Hyatt Old Port. Courtesy photo

Glass at the Hyatt Old Port. Courtesy photo

Hyatt Place Old Port | 433 Fore St. | 207-775-1000  | portlandoldport.place.hyatt.com
Portland’s newest boutique hotel will soon have a restaurant, but for now, this sleek, sexy bar anchors the ground floor of the iconoclastic, modern building. Blue, wavy glass pillars help define the space and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto Fore Street allow for excellent people-watching. Joshua Miranda presides over one of the city’s most creative cocktail menus; trust him for a drink that may sound odd but will be delicious. A small plates menu features snacks such as lobster tacos and risotto fritters.

Eve’s at the Garden

The Lounge at Eve's at the Garden. Courtesy photo

The Lounge at Eve’s at the Garden. Courtesy photo

Portland Harbor Hotel | 468 Fore St. | 207-523-2075 | portlandharborhotel.com
A double-sided fireplace and a wall of windows looking out to a (now snow-covered) courtyard are among the charms of the lounge at Eve’s at the Garden. An under-the-radar place to meet for a drink in Portland, the centrally located bar is convenient and cozy, with the feel of a private club. Sink into a sofa or wingback chair and order a sophisticated snack from the Bar Bites menu to go with your drink. Happy Hour is 4 – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday with select wines, specialty drinks and martinis for $5.

Inn on Peaks Island

Inn on Peaks. Claire Jeffers photo

Inn on Peaks. Claire Jeffers photo

33 Island Ave. | 207-766-5100 | innonpeaks.com
For a weekend drinking adventure, take 20-minute ferry ride over to Peaks Island for a new scene and new faces, while staying within the city limits of Portland. The inn is open Friday evening – Sunday in the winter, and draws a steady crowd of island residents. Part of the Shipyard Brewing family of restaurants, you’ll find Shipyard’s signature beers on tap, as well as cask-conditioned ale brewed in-house. The food includes pub grub favorites: wings, nachos, chili and chowder, burgers and a few hearty entrees, plus a separate selection for kids.

 

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