Turkey Day means mashed potatoes and stuffing as far as the eyes can see. It also means in-laws, Turnpike traffic and sinks full of dirty dishes. Thanksgiving can be overwhelming.
Plenty of local restaurants are offering Thanksgiving dinners (we’ve rounded them up here: Thanksgiving dinner without the fuss, make a reservation at one of these 23 Maine restaurants) but for those of us who still love that home-cooked pile of meat and carbs, there are other ways to navigate our holiday sanity. For one, you can always work out those holiday stresses with a sweat-inducing yoga session or a spirited sprint through downtown Portland. Or hit the bar. A handful of local watering holes will be open just in case we need them. And we will. And after dinner — or in lieu of it — you can always hit the movie theater or the bowling alley.
20 Milk St., Portland | 207-774-4200 | theregency.com/armory-lounge
Portland hotel bars are all open on Thanksgiving, however, the warm and cozy Armory seems especially suited to settling in with a post-prandial cocktail from the specialty martini menu. There’s even a Pumpkin Pie martini: Stoli Vanil, cinnamon-infused simple syrup, pumpkin puree and whipped cream, with a graham-cracker rim. In the lower level of the Portland Regency, it’s open from 3 to 7:30 p.m., and the holiday menu served upstairs at the hotel restaurant, 20 Milk Street, is also available in the lounge.
Maine Street Grill
1 Ossipee Trail, Standish | 207-648-7211 | www.mainestreetgrill.com
The bar is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The kitchen will be open, too, but it closes earlier than the bar, so be sure to get your food orders in early.
Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub
396 Fore St., Portland | 207-772-2739 | www.grittys.com
To experience the Old Port before hipsters and hot restaurants, bring your out-of-town family and friends to Maine’s first brew pub since Prohibition. Grab a stool at the copper-topped bar and order a pint of Gritty’s Best Bitter, the first beer Ed Stebbins brewed at the pub back in 1988. Open at 8 p.m. for drinks; kitchen is closed.
Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern
123 Maine St., Brunswick | 207-725-7981 | joshuastavern.com
The bar will be open at 7 p.m. for cocktails and beer, but the kitchen will be closed. (We really just need the cocktails and beer anyway, right?)
Rosie’s Restaurant and Pub
330 Fore St., Portland | 207-772-5656 | www.rosies-oldport.com
This casual eatery and bar remains a congenial hangout for regulars who appreciate good pub food and the ôCheersö-style atmosphere. In addition to the outstanding burgers, you can also tuck into a full Thanksgiving dinner, beginning at 11 a.m. To wash down the turkey and trimmings there are 15 beers on tap, draft cider and generously poured cocktails. Open until 1 a.m.
Ruski’s Restaurant & Pub
212 Danforth St., Portland | 207-774-7604
Established in 1892, Ruski’s takes pride in being everyone’s favorite dive bar, but it’s not so much dive-y as it is home-y. Breakfast is served all day, and Thanksgiving specials include a turkey dinner and vegetarian options. Open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., just like always; serving food until 11 p.m.
Brian Boru Public House
57 Center St., Portland | 207-780-1506 | brianboruportland.com
For a properly poured Guinness and a classic Irish pub atmosphere, escape to Brian Boru, where the taps start flowing at 5 p.m. and you can wile away the evening playing cards or Scrabble. Just up the hill from Portland’s Old Port on the edge of the West End, you can’t miss the bright red building emblazoned with the giant toucan, which has been home to Irish-owned businesses since the 1880s.
Pat’s Pizza Old Port
30 Market St., Portland | 207-699-4455 | www.patspizzaoldport.com
Open at 2 p.m., which means you can sidle in with a belly full of turkey, have a beer and then order some chicken wings or a “Healthy Uncle” pizza and fill your belly up even more.
And remember, you can almost always count on a hotel bar to be open on a holiday, because travelers need their nightcaps, even on holidays.
Greener Postures Yoga is offering Thanksgiving-morning yoga sessions at both of their studios (one in Falmouth, one in South Portland). Sessions are 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 9 to 10:15 a.m. at both locations and are by donation. All the donations from the South Portland go to the South Portland Food Cupboard, donations from the West Falmouth classes go to the Falmouth Food Pantry.
There’s also a by-donation class at Portland Power Yoga from 9-11 a.m. Donations go to the Wayside Food Programs. These donation classes are a perk for folks without a ton of funds, but the money goes to local foods banks – so don’t skimp!
FMI: www.greenerposturesyoga.com and portlandpoweryoga.com
Thanksgiving is already a race for some of us (who will get to the potatoes first? Who will successfully devour pie piece No. 1 and still be hungry for pie piece No. 2?) but some folks still like an added physical challenge (not including wrestling Aunt Sharon for the last of stuffing). There are a few road races Thanksgiving morning (which leaves plenty of time to nap before dinner).
33rd Annual Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler
Starts 9 a.m. at Portland High School, 284 Cumberland Ave., Portland | $20 Starts at Portland High School, Portland |
Bring non-perishable food donations for Project FEED.
7th Annual Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day 5k
Starts 8 a.m. at Greely High School, 303 Main St., Cumberland Center | $17/$14 student in advance, $20 on race day | www.greelyhockey.org
Proceeds support Greely hockey.
You fall into a tryptophan coma after Thanksgiving dinner every year. And while turkey-induced slumber is swell, so are strikes, spares and fountain Cokes. Spare Time in Portland will be open in the evening, offering a bowling bundle from 3 to 11 p.m. $12.99 per person includes one game of bowling, one game of laser tag and $5 gift card for the game zone. (Bowling shoe rentals not included. They cost $3.79.)
Spare Time, 867 Riverside St., Portland. 207-878-2695. sparetimeportland.com
Easy Day in South Portland will also be open at 2 p.m.
Easy Day, 725 Broadway, South Portland. 207-200-2226. easydaysopo.com
For some families, heading to the movies on Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition. For some individuals, avoiding Thanksgiving dinner by hiding out in a dark movie theater is also a time-honored tradition. Catch a movie, like the holiday-themed “Love the Coopers,” “Suffragette,” “The 33,” or “Spectre.” Watch with or without your family. But definitely with popcorn.
To see what’s playing: Check movies and showtimes
See “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)”
The Theater at Monmouth typically begins their performances of one splendid holiday classic or another on Thanksgiving night. This year, they’re going a new, comedic route with “Every Christmas Story Ever Told,” a compilation of carols, characters and traditions from around the world (fitting all of it into one show will be just another Christmas miracle). The play is a “fast, furious, and slightly irreverent look at holiday classics and traditions.” And, per tradition, the first performance is Thanksgiving night(the show runs through Dec. 6).
7: 30 p.m. Nov. 26 (show runs through Dec. 6), Theater at Monmouth, 796 Main St., Monmouth. $10. theateratmonmouth.org