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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 On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: November 18, 2014

Happy Hour: 31 places for deals on drinks in Portland

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Shutterstock photo

The origins of “Happy Hour — like so much of drinking history — are a little fuzzy. The term was coined on board U.S. Navy ships in the 1920s; it was how sailors referenced scheduled recreation, when they were allowed to box or wrestle to let off steam.

At about the same time, Prohibition helped launch the practice of drinking cocktails before dinner. Since restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol, “cocktail hour” at an illegal speakeasy (or bathtub gin shaken into martinis at home) became the way to jump start the evening.

It wasn’t until the “Mad Men” era that Happy Hour took on its current meaning — a time to loosen ties and unwind at a friendly watering hole after a long day at the office. Of course, Happy Hours are also synonymous with reduced prices on drinks and food, appealing to those whose day never even includes an office, or a tie.

Whether you’re an artist or an accountant, here are 30 places to kick back, relax and get happy on the Portland peninsula. No boxing or wrestling, please.

Old Port

Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room

86 Commercial St. (Custom House Wharf)
Dining room and bar: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Oyster Room: 9-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 p.m.-midnight Fri & Sat.
5-3-5 Happy Hour includes $5 cocktail specials, $3 draft beers, house wines and prosecco; $5 flatbreads

Bonfire Country Bar

37 Wharf St.
4-7 p.m. 7 days a week
Free bacon, plus $1, $2, and $3 food and drink specials

DiMillo’s on the Water

25 Long Wharf
4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday
$1 off all alcoholic drinks and large list of appetizers priced from $3 to $6.

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

75 Market St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
Food and cocktail specials

Ri Ra Irish Pub

72 Commercial St.
4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday
Half-price appetizers


10 Cotton St.
3-7 p.m. daily
Bar food specials (wings, burgers, etc.)

The North Point

35 Silver St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
$5 wines-by-the-glass and $4 draft beers

The Thirsty Pig

37 Exchange St.
4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday
Shipyard drafts $2.50/pint

Old Port Sea Grill

93 Commercial St.
3-6 p.m. 7 days a week
$5 wines by the glass, $3 draft beers, $5 Cosmos and Manhattans, $2 oysters

Vignola Cinque Terre

10 Dana St.
5-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
“Wine Hour:” all wines on the list half-price


505 Fore St.
4-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close daily
Half-price on all appetizers, including guacamole; $2 off specialty margaritas



22 Monument Square
3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
$3 draft beers; $5 martinis; $3 cocktails and wines by the glass, plus specially priced appetizers

Sur Lie

11 Free St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday
$4 draft beers and $7 wines, plus discounted cheese, charcuterie, snacks and tapas.

The Corner Room

110 Exchange St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
Complimentary antipasto offered with drinks; $3 house red/white wines and prosecco; $3 draft beers

The Grill Room

84 Exchange St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
All 12 draft beers, wines by the glass and bar snacks are $3

Timber Steakhouse & Rotisserie

106 Exchange St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
$4 select draft beer; $5 wine by the glass; $5 appetizers; $6 select specialty cocktails

MJ’s Wine Bar

One City Center
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
$5 wines-by-the-glass


25 Preble St.
4-6 p.m. and 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Thursday
Drink specials and $3 hand slabs

Arts District

Taco Escobarr

548 Congress St.
4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday
$5 house margaritas, $3.50 select drafts

Top of the East

157 High St. (The Westin Portland Harborview)
4-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday
$5 wines, $6 martinis, $5 draft beers, nightly food specials

West End

Hot Suppa

703 Congress St.
4-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
All drinks $1 off; $1 oysters; other bar snacks $4-$6

Little Tap House

106 High St.
4-7 p.m. daily
Bar & Barrel (small plate with a beer) specials announced daily on Facebook; $3 glasses of house wine, $3 well cocktails

Local 188

685 Congress St.
4-6 p.m. and 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday – Friday
$4 tapas; Allagash white $3; housemade Fresca cocktails $5; wine $4 glass

Pai Men Miyake

188 State St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9:30-midnight daily
10-oz hot or cold sake for $5; $4 well cocktails; $4 draft beer and house red or white wine $3 Kirin Ichiban; $2 Narragansett


767 Congress St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
Special prices on food and drinks – offerings change daily.

Petite Jacqueline

190 State St.
11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Half-price glasses of wine and draft beer

Zen Chinese Bistro

45 Danforth St.
3-5 p.m. 7 days a week
Drink specials and half-price appetizers

East End

East Ender

47 Middle St.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
$2.75 draft beer special, $3.50 house margaritas, $3 house wine

Munjoy Hill

Blue Spoon

89 Congress St.
4:30-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday
“Wine Time:” one red and one white offered at $2.50/glass; small bites menu

The Snug

223 Congress St.
5-7 p.m. daily
All drafts $3 (except for Guinness), well drinks and Guinness drafts $4

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