Sunday Happy Hour: Blue and Sapporo

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Sapporo, 230 Commercial Street Portland, ME

Blue, 650 Congress Street, Portland, ME

Usually Sundays are reserved for leisurely brunches mid morning filled with pancakes and mimosas. Don’t get us wrong, brunch is great but it can also be crowded and hard to get people together. Enter the Sunday happy hour. You can meet up with friends after regular Sunday activities or just wrap up a great weekend before heading home to get ready to face the week.

We decided to see what Portland had to offer by way of Sunday happy hour and decided to check out two spots Blue, a great cozy music venue on Congress Street, and Sapporo, a Japanese restaurant located down on the waterfront on Commercial Street.

Our first stop was Blue for their Sunday Spins happy hour which runs 3 -6 pm. Specials included $3 craft beer (bartenders choice), $1 PBR, $3 house wine, $5 house cocktail and two food specials $4 red snapper or hummus and olives. They also have a regular M-Th happy hour as well with slightly different specials.

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Blue is a fun place to hang out. It’s small and cozy which makes it a great place to catch live music. During Sunday Spins it’s also a great place to bring in your vinyl records and give them a listen. They also have a number of records there for you to choose from if you don’t want to bring your own. Everyone was very polite, usually changing records after one side had played which allows for flexibility. You may hear anything played there, though if you hang with us it leaned toward Sergio Mendes and Led Zepplin.

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After  Blue we headed down to Sapporo which runs happy hour Sunday – Thursday from 5-7pm. They offer a number of specials mainly focusing on sake and Japanese brews for drinks and a bunch of food items. It’s a great way to assemble a delicious and inexpensive dinner. If you need more than small plates and appetizers their full menu is available as well. We were a larger group and a bit raucous so we ordered up a large sampling of food and tucked in. Our servers were great and it was a lot of fun!

We love a weekend happy hour and these two places were great options. If brunch just isn’t your thing or you are looking for something different, we recommend you give these places a try.

 

Rhum Food & Grog

 

4 Free Street, Portland, Maine

Summer seems like the best time for tiki. Cool tropical drinks and chilled oysters are just the thing to combat scorching temps and suffocating humidity. Rhum Food and Grog has got the menu to cool even the driest of parched throats. We would argue however, that as the temps cool down Rhum is going to prove invaluable to Portland’s restaurant scene.

Walking into Rhum is like being transported into a vibrant, tropical fantasy. The large bar has ample seating. There are bright colors and grass accents a plenty. There are tables for groups and cozy rounded booths for larger parties. Lighting is a bit dim, but that only adds to the island feel of entering a shady, cool place as a respite from the sun. They do have TV’s, but they are more tuned to Magnum P.I. than typical bar viewing.

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Hours of Happiness,  as Rhum calls them, run Sunday – Thursday from 4-7pm. During those hours you can get $5 Sailor Jerry cocktails and $1 Rhum style oysters. Cocktails rotate, but on the day we were there they offered three different ones: the Cobra Lightning featuring white peach, chili and lime; the Anchor Wolf with blood orange, honey and basil; and the Hula Raptor with elderflower, pineapple and lime. They were frosty, potent, and amazingly delicious.

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The drinks come served in an adorable Sailor Jerry can which keeps the drink nice and cold. The drinks are served with crushed ice and are sweet with a potent finish. They are what you wish all the frozen drinks at Funtown could be. They come garnished with appropriate fruit and a fun spangled straw. While a frozen drink may not be your first thought when the temps sink down, they will be a bright welcome antidote to the dreary grey days of January.

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The day we visited also featured a few other snacks in addition to the $1 Rhum oysters. We availed ourselves of the mussels (which come chilled for the uninitiated) and the oysters. Both were delicious and countered the sweet drinks perfectly.

 

Our bill came in a Spam tin! A delight for fans of Python and potted meats alike. Little touches like this are great.

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While Rhum has a great patio don’t relegate it to summer time only. The patio may close for the winter, but the party can be had year round. While it’s not the same as hopping a plane to the islands, spending happy hour at Rhum is much cheaper and certain to distract you from the chill winds outside. In any season, Rhum has something to offer.