The 200-seat Fantail Pub is a clam's throw from Frenchman Bay, trickling into the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It's easy to spot with its parasol-lined veranda, housing what Fantail staff call "The Lobster Pound"—a light-catching fish tank where patrons can pick their own live Maine lobster to be sautéed in butter, or they can opt for a pre-chosen lobster for quesadillas and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese In the dining room, lights hang like overturned martini glasses over two 8-foot billiards tables, each covered with red felt. Bar-side flat-screen TVs display NFL Sunday Ticket games, letting patrons watch as many as three games at a time as they quaff beers. After two-handing a burger with pulled pork, patrons can admire the Fantail's wall mural, which shows rippling currents, a color-drenched sunset, and an astronaut falling from space in the background.
When she's developing a menu, executive chef Rae Hebert doesn't start with the dishes. She starts with the people around her. What do local Maine farmers and artisans have in store? she asks. What did they grow, craft, or raise this season, and what do they anticipate having in a few weeks? That's why the menu at Wild Duck Pub changes with the seasons, just like the color of tree branches' mood rings. Hebert's lunch and dinner menus each average seven entrees and just a handful of smaller dishes, which lets the kitchen team home in on?and perfect?every bite. Even the burger, for instance, features a Maine-raised grassfed beef patty. And the BLT, that humble American staple, gets an upscale reboot with basil mayonnaise and fresh mozzarella.
Live music floats over the din of conversation and toasting pint glasses at Irish Twins Pub while chefs prepare classic bar bites in the kitchen. Onion rings fried in Guinness batter kick off the menu, which also includes buffalo chicken salads, Reuben sandwiches, pizzas, and subs stuffed with bangers, or savory irish sausages. Soft drinks and a collection of beers complement each dish, poured into 22-ounch imperial pint glasses, or 16-ounce American-style glasses.
Modernity has permeated both Thistles Restaurant's cuisine and decor, and helped earn it a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 from TripAdvisor. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Alejandro, whose kaleidoscope of culinary skills includes dishes popular in Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Contemporary fixtures shine light down on the smorgasbord of selections, and red, black, and white accents fill the dining space just as accent marks fill the menu.
Every day is different at Standard Gastropub. Every day, its chefs dream up new twists for their menu, putting a gourmet touch on pub favorites and infusing global flavors into classic street foods. In the past, that's meant fresh maple bacon glazed donuts, Asian-fusion burritos, schnitzel coated in pork rinds, and crispy egg rolls stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese. The day's short yet captivating menu depends largely on what tickles the chefs' culinary imaginations and what was in the fridge that morning, as well as what ingredients they can source from local vendors.
Standard Gastropub does have a few constants. Its casual interior contains an open kitchen and robin's-egg-blue picnic tables that make for quirky seating options. Against the wall is a large refrigerator with glass doors, which look in on uncommon wines and more than 200 beers from across America. Further proving the team considers beverages to be more than an afterthought is a selection of craft sodas and coffee from Tandem Coffee Roasters.