Portland's Best Dive Bars
Did you know that National Dive Bar Day is observed in July? Here at Laurel and Iron that seems like a reason to celebrate!
While the term dive bar traditionally refers to a disreputable pub, I think the term has evolved to mean something different in recent years. No longer is a dive bar synonymous with biker gang hang outs and seedy townie joints. Colloquially, the dive bar has become more of a hipster hangout than a scary drinking den.
I’m about as far from a hipster as they come and trust me, ya girl enjoys a nice $12 craft cocktail but sometimes, I just want a $2 PBR Tall Boy and a round of darts. So, let’s celebrate the American tradition of sticky floors and cash only establishments.
Portland, Maine is a trove of classic dive bars. Here are a few of my favorites!
Amigos (9 Dana Street): Amigos is a Mexican restaurant by day, and seedy bar by night. On a warm summer night, take a stroll down the Old Port’s cobblestone streets and find yourself enjoying Portland’s cover band scene with a local beer. Or try one of their many varieties of margaritas! Stop in at the Blue Rooster, located right next door, for tater tots on your way out!
Downtown Lounge (606 Congress Street): If you’re into Scorpion Bowls, Downtown Lounge, affectionately known as DTL, is the place to go. The standard pub food is surprisingly good but I really go for the atmosphere. Tuck in to vinyl booths for a $7 pitcher before catching a show at the Maine State Theater.
J’s Oysters ( 5 Portland Pier): If you want a true, classic Portland experience, J’s is an absolute must. A favorite of Anthony Bourdain’s, J’s is the kind of neighborhood joint that will make you think you’ve walked on to the set of Cheers. Plus they have...you guessed it, OYSTERS! Their lobster roll is another must! Oh, the Zipper, a chambord, vodka, and lemon-lime soda concoction that is both pretty and refreshing!
Old Port Tavern (11 Moulton Street): This restaurant transforms into a nightclub at 9PM on Friday and Saturdays. Once the tables are pushed aside, grab a spot on the dance floor. This is my favorite place to end an evening with my besties. Unlike some of the other dance spots in Portland, your unlikely to be bothered as you groove to early 2000’s beats. Leave before the lights come back on and head up to the Slice Bar before the crowds spill out onto the streets.
Rosie’s (330 Fore Street): What’s better than freshly made popcorn to go alongside your Allagash White? Literally, nothing. Rosie’s takes the cake for Portland hangouts. Beat the “from-away” crowds in the heart of the Old Port with a drink and a snack at Rosie’s.
Tell me about your favorite dive bars in the comments below!