"There's two things to do in Portland - eat and drink."
Both times we've been up to Portland thus far we've stayed at the Hyatt Place Portland - Old Port. It's literally in the PERFECT location with restaurants, bars, and the water just a hop, skip, and a jump away. I'll never stay anywhere else!
TANDEM COFFEE & BAKERY
An old gas station turned into a coffee shop, I mean can you get any more freaking awesome? Not to mention their tag line is "People Need to Chill" which is written on each of their cup holders and t-shirts. Their home roasted coffee is fabulous and the food is a knockout. I had the best oatmeal there I've ever had in my life. Now, this wasn't just plain old oatmeal - you won't find anything "ordinary" at Tandem. All of their menu items have unique flavors and combinations. My oatmeal had warming spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and even a hint of spice with cayenne. It was SO creamy and thick, like a rice pudding. I wish I would've asked for their secret because I'm still trying to recreate it - STUMPED.
STANDARD BAKING CO.
The cutest little spot with homemade breads and pastries. The first time we visited Portland, this was our morning spot for coffee and a bite. A major plus is they use unbleached and organic wheat flours in their baking and locally sourced ingredients. There's no indoor seating here but there's a few benches outside or you can take a loaf on the road.
So glad we accidentally stumbled upon this place! After heading over to Hot Suppa which had an hour wait, we ditched, walked back towards our hotel and found Local 188. They had a patio, brunch, and most importantly cocktails - WIN. The name is a reflection of their farm to table roots, with locally sourced ingredients and majority of the menu being prepared in-house. I had a scramble with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese with a side of home fries and no joke - a cloud-like english muffin. My boyfriend had a breakfast Paella which also looked unreal. Needless to say, we left there with happy bellies.
Three words: grass fed burger. Oh wait, and the parmesan ranch truffle fries. That's pretty much all they have on the menu but trust me, it's all you need. Mash tun really gives me the local vibe, food made with love, they have a ton of craft maine beers on tap, and you sit right at the bar which is also the kitchen. What other restaurant do you go to that you can chat it up with the chef and watch your food being made? Not to mention the bartenders have been cool *ish* - we couldn't get enough of this place and found ourselves back every night.
This one falls under the eat and drink category. They've got an amazing selection of home brewed beers and spirits along with some other local options. Both times we visited Portland, we had the chicken wings at LR and they did not disappoint. They literally are mouth-watering, fall of the bone good. I also had an arugula salad there for lunch which was quite delicious. Their outdoor patio is a perfect spot for a drink and lunch on a nice day.
Right on the water and absolutely gorgeous. Definitely a pricey spot but we went on a Sunday night for pre-dinner $1 oysters. If you sit at the bar, the oysters are not only shucked right in front of you but there's a well on the bar that they fill with ice and lay the oysters right on top - so dope. They were so fresh and definitely some of the best I've had. If you love oysters, or seafood in general, this is the spot.
URBAN FARM FERMENTORY
If you love cider or kombucha, this is a must stop. All of their homemade brews are done with local ingredients and flowers/herbs they grow on site. The basil jun (which is similar to Kombucha but is with green tea and honey) was amazingly refreshing. I also loved the limited edition sidra cider which was an aged, subtly sour version of a usual cider. What's awesome about their ciders too is they have little to no sugar so you can have more than one without going into a sugar coma - YAY to that. You could probably spend all day at UFF, it's got the drink and play vibe with baggo boards, darts, and outdoor picnic tables.
MAINE BREW BUS
This was such a fun activity for the first time we visited Portland, we hit three different breweries and had lunch at a brew pub. Our tour guide was entertaining and super informative and hilarious enough, my boyfriend and I ended up on the bus with a group of bachelorettes so needless to say, we had a very fun and memorable day.
Here's a list of some breweries we've hit which have all been amazing:
BEER. BEER. BEER. SO MUCH BEER. Novare has about a three page menu of beers, some you've probably never heard of before but that's what makes this place legit. Their huge patio doesn't hurt either, nothing like sitting outside on a beautiful day with an ice cold drink.
PORTLAND HEAD LIGHT AND FORT WILLIAMS PARK
Portland is an eating/drinking city but there is also an scenic and beautiful lighthouse, walking trail, and park that is worth visiting. They even have built-in grills for use which we didn't know at the time but will definitely be taking advantage of next time!
BONFIRE COUNTRY BAR
This falls under play because you'll find yourself back on Bonfire late-night, every night. It's the perfect spot for a night cap and to listen to some country tunes. The solo cups, porch swings, music videos playing, and john deere tractor seats make this country bar an absolute gem. Did I also mention they do a bacon happy hour from 4-7pm, 7 days a week? SCORE.