C2 – Congress Squared

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157 High Street, Portland, Maine – located in the Westin Portland Harborview

Usually the Top of the East is the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of getting drinks at the Westin Portland Harborview hotel (better known as the Eastland to locals). With it’s stunning views of Portland, great cocktails, and fun vibe how could it not? However we encourage that next time you are in the area to stay on the ground floor and check out Congress Squared (C2).

Hotel restaurants are usually not known for stellar specials that can get the locals talking, but Congress Squared has turned that on it’s head. Their happy hour runs daily from 4-7pm. Already that puts them ahead, great hours and a reliable spot for weekend happy hour observing. They then pair that with $4 specials on Maine beers, a $5 wine of the day, a $7 sage brush cocktail, and 1/2 off the bar food menu. That’s some decent savings!

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We love that the beer list embraces the thriving beer scene that Maine has. It encompassed just about every beer on the menu and represented selections from Allagash, Rising Tide, Geary’s, Shipyard, Atlantic Brewing, Baxter, Sebago, and Peak Organic. While not on special they also have hard cider from Ricker’s and Farnum Hill. All beers are bottled (or canned if appropriate) but are poured into the proper glassware. No draft lines to maintain or impart off flavors, so if you prefer a draft beer you won’t find it here. It was a chilly evening, so we ordered up some Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale and an Allagash White. The wine of the day was a Ghia, a young, blended red which the wine drinker of our group gave approval to. While the happy hour drink prices may seem a bit high, especially compared to other places, they do represent $2-$3 off their regular prices.

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Congress Squared also features locally sourced ingredients in their food. The bar menu is half off during happy hour and believe us, it’s a great deal. It applies to EVERYTHING on the bar menu not just selected items. These are not just appetizers. You can get steamed mussels, BBQ pork sliders, grilled flatbreads and cheese and charcuterie plates. We opted for the Maine lobster sliders, mac and cheese, and the sirloin steak burger (sourced from Pineland Farms beef). When our food came we were pleasantly surprised to learn that these were not small plate portions. They were generously sized, artfully presented, delicious entrees. With their happy hour going till 7pm it makes it a great place to grab dinner and drinks at a great price.

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The dining room seats around 70 people so that it doesn’t get too crowded.  It’s got a modern yet cozy feel that makes it comfortable for hanging out with friends but also a good place to go out for date or fancier meal. They encourage making reservations but it’s not necessary. We highly recommend checking out Congress Squared for a great meal at a great price paired with a delicious local brew.

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