Roustabout

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59 Washington Avenue, Portland, Maine

When you think of an Italian-American restaurant a nautical theme doesn’t jump immediately to mind, however one trip to Roustabout will prove how they have captured the best of both worlds. They serve up well crafted Italian food while paying homage to it’s home in Portland and deep ties to the sea. It really makes for a fresh new take on a familiar format.

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What drew us to Roustabout was their happy hour specials which they serve up from 4 to 6pm and 10 – midnight everyday! That’s a lot of happy hours! We love a place that serves up such happiness at such flexible hours. Drink specials are $5 all around and include wines, a rotating draft, seasonal cocktail, and a boilermaker (shot + beer). We ordered up a glass of Pinot Grigio and the specialty cocktail of the day. It was delicious but unfortunately we forgot to write down the name! We do know it had bourbon and a lemon peel garnish.

Roustabout also has you covered in the snacks department. You can order up things from marinated mushrooms to a panini. We decided to try the chips and dip ($4), which were house made paired with homemade clam dip, and the house ricotta with crostini and pepperonata ($5). These were great pairings to our drinks and very satisfying. They would make great appetizers to dinner or awesome after-work snacks.

The great thing about Roustabout is it’s bright open feel. The front is lined with large windows which are great, but can be a little glaring in the sunset in certain seasons. That passes quickly however and you are left to sip your cocktails in a place suffused with light. The bar area is large and comfortable so you never feel squashed in against your neighbors or right on top of the bartender. We loved the little touches, like the comment cards at the end of the night. Best of all, after 5pm they have parking in the lot at 75 Washington Ave!

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The Honey Paw

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78 Middle Street, Portland Maine

Nestled between India Street and Franklin Arterial in Portland is a thriving restaurant neighborhood featuring local favorite such as Eventide, Duck Fat, and East Ender. Complimenting these popular options with their an Asian twist on American fare is The Honey Paw. They bring together locally sourced ingredients and give them an international spin. It can be a busy spot during dinner time so dropping in during happy hour is a great way to check this spot out.

 

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The Honey Paw features happy hour specials from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday. They offer $3 Reisdorf Kolsch, $5 tap wines and 1/2 off their snack menu. They also serve up a special cocktail for just $7. Snacks are normally priced at $5 so this is a great time to sample the whole menu or order up a few things to share with friends. Our favorite by far was the fry bread with uni butter, well the fry bread. It was a great savory fried dough. The uni butter, which is made with sea urchin, was a little to ocean-y for our tastes. The squash and tofu fritters and puffed bar snacks were also great choices.

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The tap wines are a Gruner, always a hit with us, and a rose. The special cocktail of the day was a delicious concoction of lime, cucumber, and gin. It was well worth the $7. They also have a great beer list so after the cocktail we ventured off the specials list to enjoy a Rosee de Hibiscus by Brasserie Dieu de Ciel.

The interior of The Honey Paw is warm and welcoming. It’s perfect for gathering with friends to share plates. Long wooden bars line the tall front windows while a large family style table takes up the middle space. The afternoon sun pours in giving the whole place a cheerful vibe and it’s a great way to enjoy some sunshine, even on a chilly afternoon. Possibly our favorite feature is a bit more whimsical. The sink in the ladies room is a thing of zen-like beauty.

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Overall our happy hour outing at The Honey Paw was great. We tried new things (pickled mushrooms) and marked out some things destined to become new favorites (the fry bread). We are sorry that it took us so long to get in there and we will certainly make sure it’s not long before we go back.