Portland Lobster Company

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180 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine

One of the best places to be in the summertime in Maine is near the water, which is part of why the Portland Lobster Company is such a popular spot once the warm weather rolls around. With the majority of their seating outside it’s no surprise that they were awarded the Best Outside Patio/Bar award in the 2014 Portland Phoenix Best Of poll.  Add in their great food and excellent line-up of local musicians providing entertainment throughout the week and you’ve got a popular place for tourists and locals alike.

Happy hour runs Monday – Thursday from 4-7 and features daily specials.  Can’t make those times?  Looking for something on the weekend or late night?  PLC has you covered!  Go to their website (or click here) to print the PLC Coaster.  Present this coaster to your server to receive happy hour pricing any time! When we went, on a Friday afternoon, the special had been $1.00 off Shipyard drafts. Unfortunately we both forgot our coasters!  No matter, we decided to enjoy the afternoon there anyway.  I was intrigued by the Hidden Cove Tortuga Sour Pineapple ale, so I ordered one up.  I figured it would either be really bad or really good.  Thankfully it was completely delicious and just what I wanted.  Not too sour but not too sweet a beer either.

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If you’re looking to get a bite at PLC you can order either at the bar or inside.  Pro-tip: if the line at the bar looks kind of long, head on inside.  Chances are you’ll find the line much shorter or non-existent.  Either place will provide you with a lobster shaped pager that lights up and vibrates when your order is ready.  The rear area of the patio features a number of picnic tables that are reserved for customers that are dining in.  The bar area has high-top round tables with umbrellas equipped with stools.  Food is allowed there as well.  At the bar you can also get a pitcher of any beer on draft, which is great for groups or to minimize how often you wait in line at the bar.  Dogs are also allowed on the patio, properly leashed.

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View from the pick-up window

PLC is located near some of the lesser known attractions on the waterfront.  One is Portland’s very own version of the Pont des Arts, or Love Lock Bridge, located right next door.  This is sponsored by the Maine Center for Creativity for people in love to place their lock on.

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In keeping with the international flair, the other attraction is located just across from PLC on Long Wharf.  There you will find a fragment of the Berlin Wall which once separated East and West Germany and came down in 1989.  The day we were there a local bagpiper was playing some tunes.

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Overall Portland Lobster Company is a great place to grab a drink at happy hour and enjoy some nice weather.  With the coaster you can turn any hour in to happy hour and who doesn’t love that?  It should be at the top of your list when showing out of town guests the best that Portland has to offer.  It is a seasonal restaurant so you may want to check them out soon if you haven’t already this year.  Don’t forget to print your coaster!

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The Front Room

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73 Congress Street  Portland, Maine

The Front Room is the original restaurant in what is now the Rooms Family which also includes The Grill Room, The Corner Room, and Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room (click on each name to see our previous reviews). Though we’ve had some great experiences at happy hour in these places, it is The Front Room which stands out for best drink deal and overall value.

The Front Room is located on Congress Street in Portland’s East End, just a block away from another Drink Up and Get Happy favorite, The Blue Spoon. It’s a cozy place with a warm and welcoming dining area and open kitchen design. The bar is located at the front of the restaurant so you can enjoy watching life on the Hill as you sip your wine.  They also have a few patio tables out front which are best suited to small parties.

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Happy hour at the The Front Room runs from 4-6pm. The kitchen does not open until 5pm so unlike their sister restaurants they don’t feature any food specials. They make up for this however in their drink specials.  Happy hour features wine for just $2!  Yes $2! This is by far the best happy hour deal in town. Unlike most places they also offer a choice of red and white wines at that price.  What is on offer will vary daily.  While we were there we had our choice of a pinot grigio or a chardonnay for whites and a merlot, cabernet or a shiraz for reds.  They also feature a beer special (Geary’s that day) and a liquor special daily.

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Despite the rumors we had heard that you need to get there early to snag a spot for happy hour, we found it very empty when we arrived just after 4pm and had no trouble ordering ourselves a couple of glasses of white wine and relaxing at the bar. As other patrons came in many were greeted by name, enhancing the feel that you were gathering in a friend’s kitchen rather than in a restaurant. Overall it’s a great spot for a delicious drink at a great price and is out of the hustle and bustle of the Old Port. We can’t wait to go back!