Maine has many great things going for it, but among the tops on that list is summertime. They call it ‘Vacationland’ for a reason, after all… Summer in Maine means lots of things: beaches; lobsters; lots of recreation on the mountains, lakes, and rivers; and Sea Dogs baseball, among other things. But here at FTS, one of the things we look forward to doing in summer is getting those steins filled OUTSIDE!
In our FTS Al Fresco series, we’ll take a look, throughout the summer, at some of the best spots to wet your whistle in Maine.
If you were paying attention to our last FTS Al Fresco post, you know that I have a soft spot for those tucked away kind of places. Well, this week, we’re happy to take a look at another hidden Portland patio with fresh air, great food and drink, and plenty of options for filling your stein: Eve’s at the Garden, the bar and restaurant at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Yeah, we’re going upscale, FTSers!
Invisible from the street, Eve’s includes the central courtyard of the hotel, and provides an intricately manicured patio garden with a small pool (Decorative only! No swimming! So they tell me…) as background to your visit. The noise from the street is completely gone, as you’re sitting in a heavy iron patio chair, listening to the birds and the gurgling fountain. There’s an umbrella, in case you need shelter from the plentiful midday sun, but given the wet, cold spring we’ve had here, I bet you’ll opt to let the sun shine in.
Any time is a good time to check out Eve’s, since they’re open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night – and get this: Chef Tim Labonte was named the winner of Maine Restaurant Week’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off, so maybe early is the time to go… (Man, those waffles sound good.) But from our point of view, Happy Hour at Eve’s is THE place to be. Drink specials ($5 Jim Beam Manhattans. I mean… You know me. I’m a bourbon guy) pair up with the “Bar Bites” menu (garbanzo fires and fish tacos, please…) for an hour that is better than happy – it’s downright delightful. You’ll catch tourists at the same time as a decent post-work crowd at Eve’s Happy Hour, as it’s really in the heart of the Old Port, close enough to grab a quick nosh and swig before hitting the shops, seeing a show, or heading home after a long workday.
Of course, it’s a shame in one regard that there’s no ocean view or copious people-watching at Eve’s, but there’s just something about the cozy courtyard that does it for me, as an upscale hideaway. The service is very good; and there’s no denying that Chef Labonte is doing some good things with bacon, which is pretty cool.
And speaking of cool, if you can’t make it to Eve’s in the summertime, well… You’re missing out, to be sure, but fear not! The Portland Harbor Hotel’s annual Ice Bar takes center stage each January, and offers a look at the colder side of cool, with ice sculptures, fire pits, and the proceeds going to help some worthy local charities. Definitely something for every stein!
The FTS Al Fresco rundown:
- 468 Fore Street in the Portland Harbor Hotel.
- Open daily for breakfast thru late night; Happy Hour is Mon-Fri, 4-7PM
- Yes, they take plastic.
- Parking: the Hotel has a garage that’s cheap and cash-only in the evening; on-street parking is generally metered. Try Commercial, Fore, and Spring Streets first.
- Full bar with Happy Hour cocktails & wine specials.
- Vibe is welcoming, but you’d do well to polish it up a little – let’s say snappy casual and above.
- Eve’s Social Media: Twitter & Facebook