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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: September 30, 2015

Dining Guide: 5 newer places to try for happy hour

Portland has more restaurants and bars offering happy hour than ever. But if you find yourself stopping into the same haunts again and again, these hot spots — all opened within the past year or so — are worth checking out.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

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

Crooners & Cocktails

The bar at Crooners & Cocktails on Exchange Street. Claire Jeffers photo

The bar at Crooners & Cocktails on Exchange Street. Claire Jeffers photo

90 Exchange St., Portland | 207-538-0469 | | $$$$
Frank, Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack would feel right at home at this supperclub-inspired newcomer, with red walls, bar stools upholstered in black Naugahyde and TVs playing Turner Classic movies. Happy Hour is 4 – 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., with $3 drafts, $5 select glasses of red and white wine, $5 Cosmos and Frank Sinatras (Jack Daniels on the rocks with a splash of water — apparently Ol’ Blue Eyes’ favorite drink). Bar snacks, including deviled eggs, are $3 and oysters, sold by the 1/2 or full dozen, are $2.


52 Washington Ave. Portland | 207-808-8502 | | $$$
Terlingua brings a mashup menu of barbecue classics and Latin American dishes to  up-and-coming Bayside, where it shares a block with Oxbow’s new tasting room and the under-construction Roustabout. Happy Hour is 5 – 6:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and all day on Sunday and Monday (the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays), with $4 draft beers and 1/2 price select wines. On Sundays and Mondays only the barbecue usually reserved for dinnertime comes out of the smoker all day; ribs and wings are $1 each. Bartender Joe Ricchio serves his epic “MargaRicchio” version of the margarita on Mondays for $8 instead of the usual $12.

Bao Bao

The bar at Bao Bao. Whitney Hayward/ Press Herald file photo

The bar at Bao Bao. Whitney Hayward/ Press Herald file photo

133 Spring St., Portland | 207-772-8400 | | $$$
This nearly one-year-old restaurant in the West End is always busy, so happy hour, 4:30 – 5:30 Tuesday – Friday, may be a great time to grab a coveted seat. Deals include $2 appetizers — most likely one of chef Cara Stadler’s addictive dumplings — $4 wines by the glass and $2 off all draft beer. Note that tables in the dining room, which boasts a dramatic copper wall sculpture of a dragon, is reserved for groups of 8 or more, but spots at the sunken bar are first come, first served.

Portland Patisserie

Portland Patisserie. Gabe Souza/Maine Today file photo

Portland Patisserie. Gabe Souza/Maine Today file photo

46 Market St., Portland | 207-553-2555 | | $$$
You might not expect a bakery styled after a traditional French pastry shop to offer happy hour. But because the French love wine as much as they do their croissants and crepes, you can take an imaginary trip to Paris daily, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., when bottles of wine (French, of course) are half price with the purchase of a cheese or charcuterie plate.


Maps in Portland's Old Port. Claire Jeffers photo

Maps in Portland’s Old Port. Claire Jeffers photo

64 Market St., Portland | 207-727-9263 | | $$
A quirky, below street level bar, Maps serves beer, wine, grilled cheese sandwiches, coffee and cake. Decorated with a funky mix of vintage furnishings, faux fireplaces and yes, maps, the place has a friendly, nostalgic vibe far removed from the Old Port hubbub. Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday (Maps is closed Monday and Tuesday). Pitchers of any beer on tap are $10; $1 off all wines by the glass and 16-ounce draft beers; and a slice of homemade cake with coffee or tea is $5.

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