As memories you (may or may not) have of this year’s Old Port Fest drift even further into the recesses of your mind, one truth becomes clear: Summer is officially here. With this much anticipated seasonal transition fully under way, our minds are racing with thoughts of beaches, boats and other ways to stay outside for the next three months. For those upcoming summer nights when you’re looking for an outdoor deck combined with upscale dining in relaxed environment, look no further than Royal River Grill House in Yarmouth.
Established in 2002, the restaurant is staple on the Royal River waterfront, providing tourists and locals alike with fresh catches, creative cocktails and a front row seat to the impressive array of seafaring vessels at the Yankee Marina. The wraparound deck was packed on a recent Wednesday night, the first official one of summer, which meant I had to sit inside.
I didn’t mind being shut out of the deck area too much though; the interior and bar area, renovated a couple of years ago, were just as inviting. The wraparound marble bar acts as a chic centerpiece to the lounge area, which is filled with comfy cream-colored chairs and wooden tables. Gigantic circular chandeliers overhead give off a “Game of Thrones” vibe, but without all of the beheadings and dragons, their effect was pleasingly rustic.
In the spirit of the solstice, I ordered myself a Watermelon Basil Sparkler ($12) which, with its combination of watermelon- and basil-infused vodka and sparkling Moscato, hit the proverbial spot. Light, refreshing and not too sweet, it was the perfect summer cocktail.
In addition to the well rounded cocktail menu, Royal River has an extensive list of wines, which you can order by the glass or bottle. There are also six Maine beers on tap at all times, including Foundation, Shipyard and Allagash.
Ready for a change after my watermelon cocktail, I opted for the Cosmic Bloom ($6) from Foundation which, as the name suggests, is a bright, refreshing, flowery-tasting beer with some nice hoppy bitterness at the end.
Sadly, since our last visit in 2014, Royal River Grill no longer offers a happy hour of any kind. But that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the renovated space, if you haven’t been back.
From almost every spot inside the restaurant, customers are treated to views of sparkling water, blue skies and boat on boats on boats. So grab a seat at the bar, a cushy chair in the lounge or a spot on the deck. Really, any seat will do at the Royal River Grill House.
WHERE: 106 Lafayette St., Yarmouth
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Large marble bar, flat-screen TV behind bar, extensive wine list, creative cocktails, plentiful outdoor seating, beautiful views, friendly and attentive staff
BOTTOM LINE: Royal River Grill House is a Yarmouth waterfront staple worth seeing. With its wraparound deck, fresh menu, exciting cocktails and relaxing yet upscale vibe, it’s a good spot to have in your back pocket for summer nights when you want to do something a little bit different.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes