Open until 1 a.m., Sneaky Pete Billiards riles up the spirit of friendly competition with a variety of different games, including video games, darts, foosball, and billiards atop eight tables. Tournaments are posted on their Facebook page, and leagues take place three nights a week. Patrons of all ages can fuel the competition by diving into hearty dishes such as chili mac or shepherd's pie—a homemade heap of savory ground beef and fresh mashed potatoes that leaves bellies more full than a drill sergeant's swear jar. Guests can also stroll up to the full-service bar and imbibe a selection of 36 bottled beers or variety of cocktails.
As a child, Jason Litalien watched Cheers with his dad; even then, he knew that in the future he wanted to open a neighborhood sports bar inspired by the hit television show's signature watering hole. Duty came first, though; Jason enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for 13 years, keeping his dream alive all the while. Three years ago, he returned from service and opened The Frosty Pint, a friendly pub decorated with Boston sports memorabilia, including a neon Celtics sign and framed Red Sox and Tom Brady jerseys. Cooks curate a menu of American favorites such as chicken wings drenched in teriyaki or thai honey sauce, jalapeño poppers, and deep-fried baseballs. Bartenders, meanwhile, fill glasses with 20 types of draft beer, pour a handful of wines, and mix spirits into cocktails. The Frosty Pint also has an outdoor seating area with umbrellas to protect them from the elements.
Some meat-centric restaurants may try to evoke an old-time Western ranch, but chef Harding Lee Smith dubs The Grill Room & Bar an “urban steakhouse.” Although the open, high-ceilinged dining room exudes plenty of rustic charm, Smith is most inspired by his restaurant's own bustling neighborhood and the local farms beyond it. Starring in a cast of fresh, locally grown produce are grass-fed, all-natural meats from New Gloucester's Pineland Farms. These meats—think spice-rubbed skirt steaks, butterflied pork chops, and organic Cornish game hen—are seared on the open kitchen’s wood-fired grill and then plated with modern flourishes such as truffled mash and grilled onion jam. Seafood dishes benefit equally from the wood grills, while a wood pizza oven creates crackly, chewy pies such as a duck and brie pizza with shaved apples and balsamic syrup.
Wines range through France, Italy, and New Zealand, and bartenders kick out cocktails such as hot buttered rum and the Creole Bull, a Twenty-2 vodka concoction with peppers and smoked peppercorns. Desserts tend toward the rich and creamy, with house-made bean crème brulee and New York–style cheesecakes whose flavors vary with the seasons and the Statue of Liberty's moods.
In 1775, King George III ordered the British Navy to burn the city of Falmouth to the ground in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party. But he didn't realize that ?he was sowing the seeds of mockery that would echo even two centuries later. The rubble from the shelling formed a wharf in the harbor of the city that would become known as Portland, and on that debris, modern barmen Rick Binet and Justin O'Conner built the King's Head.
Binet honors the revolutionary tradition with a thumb in the eye of the tyrant and a sizable offering of fine craft beers. Nearby breweries such as Portland's own Foundation and New Hampshire's White Birch take the spotlight among 40 drafts on tap, and from further afield come the likes of Chimay Triple and Thornbridge. Meanwhile, the kitchen serves smoked rabbit pot pies and grass-fed beef burgers to diners seated in a room featuring a 12-seat glass wine bar, with wines available by the bottle or glass, that overlooks the Wharf.
At MJ's Wine Bar, you won't find uncomfortable chairs or snooty sommeliers. Named for the owner's mother Mary Jane, the laid-back spot eschews expensive sleekness for the cozy feel of a family living room. Guests lounge on espresso-brown leather sofas next to shelves heavy with old records and a wall painted with a mural of a world map. Though MJ's wine list is extensive and carefully curated, drinking there isn't about obsessing over the details of every vintage. Instead, "it's about fun and connecting over a glass," writes the owner on his website. Groups of friends can gather around the rustic communal table to share wine and small plates, or stop in for weekly events, such as wine tastings and live music.
The Portland & Rochester Railroad once connected Portland to Quebec, the Maritimes, and the rest of New England. While tracks still line some of the city's cobblestone streets, the train stop is now home to Portland & Rochester Public House. Using local ingredients, the pub's cooks draw on the culinary traditions of those provinces once connected by the rail. Lobster cakes with spicy harissa, for instance, pay homage to New England's seafood, and a poutine of house-cut fries, bacon, and ducky gravy honors Quebec. To complement those dishes, bartenders decant local beer from eight taps, serve wine from a 20-bottle collection, and handcraft cocktails, including several house-infused bourbon options.