Named after one of the High Kings of Ireland, Brian Boru is a great two-storey Irish pub located in downtown Portland. We were there early on a Saturday night and already there was a great atmosphere, with a mix of people coming in for a late dinner while others (including us) came in for an early drink. Guinness was only $4 a pint, but I decided to go with a So-Co and 7up, and let me tell you, the barmaid sure knew how to pour a drink! Two of these and I was ready to call it a night! The staff was very friendly and we also had a good time hanging out on the patio later on during the evening. Fun, fun, fun!
Dress Code: Very casual
Custom House Wharf is home to both the Comedy Connection (http://www.mainecomedy.com) and Porthole Restaurant (http://www.portholemaine.com) and during the Labor Day weekend, it was by far the most crowded spot in downtown Portland. Someone was checking ID at the wharf's entry and stamped you if you wanted to drink, but younger kids and children were also allowed in (buy they were not allowed to drink, obviously). Some reggae music was playing (they have reggae Sundays all summer long) and there was a great atmosphere all around, and it was nice to have the option to hang out outside as the night happened to be very warm. A fun place to be on a summer night!
Dress Code: Casual
On a very quiet Sunday night in downtown Portland much of the city's evening attractions seemed to be in hibernation. I quite literally stumbled across this bar. Perhaps it was something to do with the outside signage: "DRINKING CONSULTANTS" that attracted me to the place or perhaps just my nose for a good pub - my feet did the walking and I just followed them in.
Brian Boru themes itself as an Irish Pub but you can safely ignore the "themeing". This isn't one of those designer bars with a few Irish posters and an indifferently served pint of Guinness, slapped with a premium price-tag, sort of Irish pub. It's just a decent pub with excellent barstaff and friendly locals.
On busier nights the pub hosts live music, both organised and impromptu, but even without musical accompaniement my quiet few beers became an off-the-cuff major drinking session - always the best kind!!
Dress Code: As you may guess this certainly isn't a jacket and tie place, nor, on a chill April evening the venue for scantliy dressed women. That said, of course, if you want to be either then I don't suppose that would be a problem.
The nightlife in Portland Maine is bustling. Lots and lots of pubs and bars.....and many mini-brewerys with their own pubs.
Ri Ra.......is an authentic Irish Pub.....a good place to start for dinner and an night out in Portland on the Waterfront.
Dress Code: casual
I took my son to Portland to see Cake and The Ultimate Sunshine Festival in Dec 2007 as the concert was sold out in Boston and I had never visited Portland.
We saw 5 bands in all and I noted that the sound system was great and the layout of the seating was fine as well.
I would highly recommend attending a concert there and I would go again.
It was so easy to find.
Dress Code: Anything goes to a rock concert.
I was looking for a local brewpub in Portland and I came across Gritty McDuffs. We sat on some long bench tables and had a few pints of the inhouse brewed beer. We also had a light evening snack which was good. While we were there a few locals were out celebrating a birthday and it was nice to see somebody had boight a cake and the servince staff offered a knife and allowed them to eat it. Not pretensious in any way, a nice local pub. The place is not huge and it looks like it can fill up really quick in busy periods.
Dress Code: Anything as long as you've got footware and a top on.
An excellent bar to go to in the evening is Brian Boru.
It is a very casual, Irish bar. The bar has two floors, with outdoor patios/decks on both floors. There is usually a live band playing on the second floor. You can also order food until about 9 PM.
Dress Code: Anything goes. The younger crowd may dress a little hipper than the older crowd. On weeknights, Boru's will see a more executive crowd. On weekends, you'll see a mix of hip/urban, yuppie, grunge, and everything else.
If your looking for nightlife, Portland Maine is second to none. From Reggae to classical, hip hop to country, Portland has the venue your looking for. Each place has its own clientel so to speak. Thursday, the place to be is Brian Boru's Irish Pub with real Reggae music upstairs. Friday the place to hang out to start the night off is Foreplay sports pub. The crowd is a bit younger but the atmosphere is fun. From there the choices are just about endless. Iguana, another young college hang out. Oasis, same thing. Big Easy for some Jazz or some sort of live music. The crowd is a bit older in the Big Easy. A good happy hour any weekend would be the Free Street Taverna. They have good food as well and the service is excellent. Two outdoor decks make it a fun summertime hang out. Saturdays starts with the Foreplay again. Or maybe Gritty's pub. Newly renovated, their Rasberry wheat ale is to die for. From there, off to the Pavillion. The Pav is definitely a teeny bopper joint but it is the only real place to get you MOjo going... Many more quality places in Portland..
Unique qualities, the atmosphere is always friendly, the same people are out all the time. This allows you to meet people a little easier... Very large Irish population so you know there are great Irish Taverns on every corner
Dress Code: Not much in the way of dress code. The Pavillion and Liquid Blue do not allow men to wear their hats into the bar. But other than that, the more cleavage you show the better. At least that is the impression I get by seeing all these fine young ladies decked out in their tight little cleavage bearing outfits.
THIS PLACE IS CLOSED (I don't know how to delete this)
Locally called "UNAS", it's well known for their martinies... When I just moved to Portland, I told my friends with horror "there is only ONE martini bar in Portland!" and even after discovering that there are other places in Portland where you can have a nice martini, UNAS is still, according to me, the only "martinies bar" in Portland. They have 3 pages of specialty martinies! Most places have around ten items, they have 3 pages! And they change them all the time! (once you become a "regular" you can ask for martinies that are not on the list anymore... it's very cool!)
They also have a very nice wine menu by the glass or bottle, and good prices or our bubbly friends.
They have a tiny menu (mostly for when you NEED to eat so you can keep drinking). I would recomend UNAS for "before" or "after" dinner... Or just skipp dinner :)
It's pretty interesting how we found out about this place. We went to a museum on Spring Street called the The Museum of African Culture (Nigerian art) and we met a Nigerian guy and he told us that Talib Kweli was going to be playing at this spot called the Billards. We actually were planning to check out the Old Port but the guy told us its just filled with bars, not your typical dancing clubs. (We were also told the Industry nightclub and the Pavilion were closed as well. ) So anyway, we got to this place at 10:30 and we had to pay 25 bucks (we thought it was five dollars becuase according to residents, the lounges were cheap to get in). But anyway, it was a mix crowd (young and old folks), mainly white people with a sprinkle of blacks and other minority groups. The vibe was interesting, the place is not fashionable at all (well, its a pool arena). We didn't buy drinks because we were interested in seeing what type of music was going to played and if Talib was really going to be there. Soooooo, Talib came out around 11:30, the crowd went wild (I still can't believe he was in Portland Maine, lol). We also met up with our new friend, who brought his other buddies. Alot of people were pushing and smoking so it kinda got crazy. My bf and I had to get out of the crowd, for alittle while. So anyway, at 12:45, Talib ended his concert and we were aware that the nightlife shuts down at 1:00am so we got out of there quick, so we can beat the crowd. And by the time, we got to the car, the Portland cops were on their way to the Billards to make sure everyone was leaving. My bf and I laughed because that's soooooo New York (when the cops are just waiting to destroy a party). Interesting night but I enjoyed it.
Dress Code: You can wear anything you want. No dress code enforced.
Space Gallery is a fantastic place to visit. They host Dance Parties, concerts by musicians such as like John Ritter or the Dresden Dolls, political forums, and of course art exhibits.
Dress Code: Most of the people around will be in their hipster best, but of course you should dress however you want. Just relax and have fun!
This is the Portland outpost of Ri-Ra, my boyfriend works at the one in Providence. It is huge, with a great, friendly staff. Perched right on the water in Portland. We spent a few hours here, drinking Magners and Harps and had a great time. It felt like home!
Dress Code: Casual