Bar of Chocolate

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38 Wharf Street, Portland, Maine

The Bar of Chocolate is a unique place located on Wharf Street in the Old Port area of Portland, Maine where it has been in operation for over 10 years. It’s a cozy spot that specializes in cocktails and desserts. Yes, you can get an amazing specialty cocktail and pair it with an equally amazing dessert made right on the premises. Perfection! But, sometimes specialty cocktails and desserts can hit us right in the wallet.

Luckily, Bar of Chocolate also has a happy hour.  From 4-7pm Monday through Friday you can enjoy $7 martinis, $9 absinthe, $4 house wine, and $4 well cocktails. These are excellent deals on very tasty drinks and really provide something for all except those who only drink beer. Sorry beer drinkers, if you’re looking for a special you’d do best to head down the street.  However we highly recommend getting outside your comfort zone and having one of the amazing martinis that bartender and owner Sarah whips up.  They are glasses of cocktail heaven, you won’t be sorry.

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We showed up at Bar of Chocolate around 4:30 on a Friday evening. It was very quiet but we were soon joined by more patrons as the evening wore on. We decided to sample some of the martini offerings. It’s not often that I can resist a good espresso martini and the one at Bar of Chocolate stands out among some of the best.  It’s not overly creamy but smooth and delicious all the same. Each specialty drink at Bar of Chocolate gets shaken with it’s own glass so the chance of contamination of flavors from other drinks is very low. It’s a great attention to detail that we really enjoy.

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We also decided to split a piece of chocolate cake with caramel sea salt frosting, and boy are we so glad we did! The desserts are all made by Sarah and are top notch.  The chocolate paired perfectly with the coffee in my cocktail without being too heavy or overwhelming.

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Prefer caffeine over alcohol or are the designated driver? Bar of Chocolate also has espresso made on their top of the line (and brand new when we were there) espresso machine.

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The atmosphere at Bar of Chocolate is cozy and friendly.  It’s a great place to meet a friend after work or to go on a date. It’s not a large place but features seating at the bar or smaller tables including some with very comfortable chairs. It’s adorned with a mix of artwork, lights, and a collection of absinthe spoons on the wall. In fact, you might just forget you’re on Wharf Street, which can be perceived as a bit of a rowdy street. Don’t let that deter you. Wharf Street still showcases some of the best of historic Portland with the cobbled streets and brick buildings filled with retail shops, fine eateries, down home establishments, and bars and Bar of Chocolate is truly a jewel among the cobblestones. The only hints of the current reputation of the street are the country music that wafts in when the doors open. This is because of the new country bar located down the street, Bonfire, playing music through outside speakers. Since our visit those speakers have been removed. (source: http://thebollard.com/2015/03/03/the-wild-end-of-wharf-street/) Later at night you might hear the strains of live music from nearby venues as well, but during happy hour Wharf street is fairly quiet.

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Go check out Bar of Chocolate and let Sarah and staff show you just why they’ve lasted for a decade in a town where bars and restaurants are always coming and going. With friendly service, delicious drinks, and heavenly desserts we don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon.

Revisiting Little Tap House

We haven’t written about Little Tap House is quite some time, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been having a blast there now and then. Check out our first review of Little Tap House here. They’ve changed it up a bit, so we thought an update is due.

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Don’t worry, LTH still offers their Bar and Barrel pairing special and they have broadened their happy hour with the addition of some other specials as well. Happy hour now consists of the $5 Bar and Barrel pairing, $4 house red or white wine, $4 select draught and $4 well drinks from 4-7pm, Monday through Friday.

For those of you who have not experienced the Bar and Barrel pairing, it really is a wonderful thing. The chef prepares a small plate to accompany the beer selection of the night. It changes all the time and it’s always tasty.  The night of our latest visit the beer offering was a Barreled Souls Hoppin’ John. This was paired with a ramekin of braised kale and mushrooms with sweet sausage.  Hello comfort food! The hearty treat was just enough to tide us over before a proper dinner.

Now that Little Tap House has updated and expanded their happy hour options its definitely a worthwhile spot to hit up for a drink and a bite.

NOTE: Little Tap House no longer offers the AMAZING sweet potato fries. Let’s all shed a quick tear and hope these items make a return to the menu or at least the special board now and then.