The seaside port town of Portland, Maine is a classic place for a good Irish pub, and the area does not disappoint. The tough, wet Maine winters and the relatively cool and windswept summers help make the Irish pub scene very popular.
Portland has long been a town for Irish emigrants and this too has added to the allure and romance associated with the Irish pubs in the area.
The following are the four best Irish pubs in Portland, Maine.
Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant
72 Commercial Street
The name Ri Ra is derived from a Gaelic term meaning, basically, ‘let’s party.”
As one of ten Ri Ra pubs around the United States, the Portland, Maine edition is as consistent and well run as the rest and fits the Portland waterfront district like a glove.
This is a hip place, with a Maine sentiment but Irish flair. There is a real sense of community among the denizens, as the Ri Ra sponsors sports teams, organizes charitable fund raisers and even hosts a Pub Club that keeps people updated on the bar and helps coordinate the fun and activities of the regulars.
As you might guess, Ri Ra pours a fantastic Guinness. The food is an interesting fusion of contemporary American and traditional Irish. The Irish Crab Cake dinner is outstanding, the Emigrant’s corned beef and cabbage delicious, but the Guinness Braised Pot Roast is probably the signature dish.
Offering a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, this is an excellent place with reasonably priced food, with entrees topping off near $20.
375 Fore Street
Bull Feeney’s is as authentic as it can get, and the homage it pays to the history of the Irish in Portland, its décor and great beer collection are all evidence of that.
The pub is named after a family that helped welcome emigrants from Ireland settle in the Portland area.
While it maintains its Irish pub charm with its exposed brick and dark wood, the food is actually top end and among the finest restaurants, all things considered, in Portland. The boiled Maine Lobster is a ‘layup’ and the Baked Haddock & Scallops steal the show.
Lunch features small variations on this theme, with lobster rolls and fish sandwiches.
It is a place that attracts events as varied as bachelor parties, St. Patrick Day celebrations and even wedding receptions. There are plenty of private rooms and the staff and management caters to all.
Bull Feeney’s is open from 11:30 AM to 12:30PM every day of the week.
Brian Boru Public House
57 Center Street
There is no pretense at Brian Boru. This is a raucous good time, with plenty of Irish music, Guinness and friendly, Guinness drinking locals and some tourists.
The food is good, albeit limited in selection in scope, and with just enough Irish influence to make it different than sports bar fare.
This is a very popular place for St. Patrick’s Day parties, bachelor parties or after a day on the golf course.
Three Dollar Deweys
241 Commercial Street
Three Dollar Deweys has been around since 1982, and in that time has become a bit of a Portland institution.
It bills itself as “Portland’s Original Ale House”, and “Portland’s Best Copied By the Rest”.
What’s an Irish pub without some bravado and humor, anyway?
And this place backs it up, with 36 beers on draft and about 10 seasonal drafts that they are frequently rotating.
The food here appears to be ‘regular’ pub fare, but the reality is more exciting. The ingredients are by and large local and fresh and they spend far more time sweating the details than what might otherwise be expected.
This is a great place and definitely among Portland’s best.
So if you live in Portland, Maine or are a tourist, make sure to visit these Irish pubs for great Guinness, food, and Irish spirit.