El Rayo Taqueria, located on the corner of York and High Streets, has got everything we look for in a great summer happy hour. Large patio area? Check! Great drink specials? Check! More than just a measly 1 hour happy hour? Check! Best of all they also have an ample off street parking area, crucial for those of us coming from out of town. Especially on First Friday. Now all that was needed was for the apocalyptic rain clouds threatening us to stay to the north!
If you’ve never been to Portland on First Friday prepare yourself. It’s a great event that happens on the first friday of every month that features an artwalk around town. All the galleries are open and art lovers of all types descend upon the city. If you’re not into that it’s best to avoid Congress Street mainly especially the area around the museum and MECA. Which led us to choose El Rayo for our First Friday happy hour. Last Friday we were joined by some special out of town guests and the rainclouds stayed away making for a gorgeous friday evening. El Rayo Taqueria (not to be confused with El Rayo Cantina just next door) features happy hour specials from 4-6 Monday through Friday including $5 Carmena Reposado house margaritas, $5 Bacardi dacquiris and $5 Barcardi Cuba Libres (rum and Coke). For beer specials they feature Sol, Bohemia, and Tecate all for $2. Drinks were tasty the service was great, ensuring that they were free flowing! We also ordered some chips, salsa, and guacamole for the table. The chips are delicious, but a bit salty at times. We’ve noticed that at many places where they warm their own chips all the salt sticks to just a few chips which makes for an unpleasant surprise when you bite into it. I guess it keeps you thirsty though!
The Taqueria at El Rayo is mainly an outdoor establishment. It features picnic tables covered with vibrant floral tablecloths with bright umbrellas for shade. They also have an area for those who are just there for drinks and if you’re looking for something to keep you occupied they have cornhole available as well. There is an area indoors in case it rains or you just prefer to be in there. The atmosphere is great, sometimes you might even forget you’re still in Maine. The view is very nice looking out over the mouth of the Fore River. They also feature live music Sunday-Wednesdays. This is a family friendly establishment so if you’re looking to go somewhere with your family or meet a friend with kids, it’s great. If your happy hour requires you to be somewhere with no children, you may want to look elsewhere.
By the end of the evening we’d enjoyed a number of delicious drinks, spent quality time with friends and family, and had a great happy hour. If you’re looking for a relaxed, casual atmosphere that also features kick-ass margaritas, El Rayo Taqueria is your place!