With plenty of reasons to abstain- health, fitness, pregnancy, medication, age, designated driving, sober curiosity- there’s an increasingly obvious need for craft mocktails. With a mocktail in hand, folks don’t have to feel excluded, or relegated to the proverbial kids table (or, drink menu) for choosing not to drink alcohol.
We want to shine the spotlight on mocktails, the N/A beverages Portland’s beloved bartenders thoughtfully create so all folks– those who imbibe and those who abstain– can comfortably take up space, and feel confident in a seat at the bar.
Here’s a round up of bars and restaurants in Portland, Maine where you can find delicious mocktails.
Please note, mocktail lists are subject to change. Please note that images used for each establishment may not be the mocktail described but are instead an accurate representation of the aesthetic and presentation of each location.
A bar and arcade hybrid, Arcadia has it all – from pinball to board games, classic cocktails such as the Spicy Paloma to new age mocktails like The Mock Trial (a balanced blend of bitter Stappi soda and sweet “fluffy” pineapple). Other zero proof options include a Watermelon Mojito and a Coffee Tonic with Nitro cold brew, fever tree tonic, and cane syrup. Grab one on your way to the skeeball table- you only need one hand to play!
Woodford’s corner’s own little taco bar Bird & Co proclaims on their awning: “tacos, cocktails, beer”, but what about the mocktails, you ask? Fret not, Bird & Co keeps their beverage menu inclusive by offering 4 different mocktails for those who chose not to imbibe: Non-alcoholic Margarita, Strawberry-Lime Fizz, Pom Collins, and a Cold Brew Martini.
Paper Tiger is bold, quirky and inventive, inspired partly by traditional fast food, partly by oyster bars, and partly by late night Chinese restaurants. Their cocktail menu emphasizes island-style classic cocktails and rum-based drinks and their mocktails subscribe to a similar vibe and flavor profile. The Blue Ohioan, (pictured above) packs a punch with Blue Oleo, Saccharum, pineapple, house coconut cream, and lemon. While you’re there, also try The Platonic Best Friend, a light and bubbly spritz, consists of house pear shrub, lemon, and seltzer.
Via Vecchia, Italian for “The Old Way”, has created a cocktail program which does an incredible job merging that old world sophistication with new world flavors, techniques and aesthetics. Take for instance, the N/Agroni. You’ve probably heard of Italy’s most renowned cocktail, the Negroni, made of equal parts Gin, Vermouth and Campari, but what’s a N/A-groni, you ask? It is the spirt-free sister to the Negroni, and brainchild of Via Vecchia’s bar manager Mark Hibbard. The N/A riff is a delicious herbal, slightly bitter blend of gentian, cherry bark, grapefruit and juniper, served on a large rock of crystal clear ice, and garnished with an orange peel. Cin Cin!
Scandanavian, minimalist vibes run deep at The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club from the interior design to the tinned fish boards. Their cocktails and mocktails, however, are a little extra and we love that. The N/A Bonecrusher starts with N/A spirit, add fresh lime juice, spicy red pepper, agave and smoked salt- and you get the perfect balance of tart and smoky, sweet and savory.
Liquid Riot, Maine’s first Resto-Brewery & Distillery believes “everyone has a right to drink what they so choose”, thus everyone is welcomed through their doors. If what you choose is to abstain from drinking alcohol, Liquid Riot’s beverage list includes both delicious housemade sodas and mocktails. Two favorites are the simple, yet delicious Fruit and Bubbles: a simple Raspberry base with citrus, topped with a sparkling NA wine and the tropical No Pain, No Gain with passion fruit, coconut, orange, ginger-honey and lemon.
Sagamore Hill Lounge, located on the first floor of the Lafayette Arms in the West End, is a classy, upscale neighborhood bar and lounge offering an approachable cocktail menu of “unpretentious” seasonal concoctions and classic cocktails you can sip alongside Lyndon B. Lynx (iykyk), a taxidermied Lynx.
The Mint Romney, a mocktail from the past that deserves an honorable mention, was packed with mouth-watering tartness from blackberry syrup and lemon, brightened up with lemon and slightly warmed by the cinnamon and clove notes coming through from the Angostura bitters. At Sagamore Hill, they like to say, “We’ll save a seat for you”, now mocktail drinkers will know they’re being saved a seat too! Cheers to inclusionary establishments.
A solace tucked between bustling Warf Street and Fore Street, Central Provisions is well known for their craft cocktails and small plates, but were here to highlight a unique section of their menu, “Temperance Drinks”. You’ll find playful n/a riffs like the Pain(Free) Killer, the Cold Fashioned, the Con-Pari & Soda and more.
Not currently found on their “Temperance Drinks” list (but hey, who knows what the future brings?), the Pineapple Suprizefighter was a standout mocktail special from the summer, a refreshing mixture of Ritual (Zero Proof) Agave Spirit, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Italian Spritz, Red Bell Pepper and Acidified Pineapple.
Crispy Gai is hard to miss with their pretty pink exterior and bright neon sign up on Exchange Street. Their cocktail list consists of: Originals, where you’ll find drinks consisting of exotic and fun ingredients with funnier names, Our Takes, see quirky riffs on the classics, and finally, Non-Alcoholic (woo!). A n/a fan favorite is the bright and zippy Lemongrass Rickey: Lemongrass-y lime cordial, Ango, carbonation, mint- excellent beverages to compliment Southeast Asian inspired cuisine and tons of crispy gai (gai is the Thai word for chicken. You’re welcome.)
Papi is a Puerto Rican bar and kitchen, that serves up authentic dishes and cocktails. They have a small selection of mocktails, but they are well worth the visit. One of our personal favorites is the Lulo Lemon Spritz: which includes lulo, lemon, mint, and soda. These south-of-the-border mocktails transport your taste buds from Portland, to Puerto Rico.
Bar Futo, a new Japanese-inspired restaurant rooted in binchotan-fired cooking has quite the bar program consisting of a robust sake list, inventive and classic cocktails, and a non-alcoholic list of mocktails and loose teas. One Mocktail not to be missed is the Japanese Breakfast: it packs a powerful punch of fruity flavors with mango, orange, and pineapple, but not overpowering. Delightful, really.
Alto Terrace Bar + Kitchen, located on the elevated 4th floor terrace of the Cambria Hotel on Hancock Street in the Old Port, offers plates to share, select main dishes, locally sourced craft beer, thoughtfully selected wines, handcrafted signature cocktails as well as mocktails. Currently the Mayor Dow is a favorite amongst mocktail lovers. Named for a prohibition era portland mayor, Neal Dow, the mocktail is made with blueberry and jalapeno shrub, lemon juice, simple syrup and a Grenadine floater, garnished with fresh strawberries. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy- we’re here for it.
Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room has been a staple for seafood and waterfront dining in Portland since 1898. Although they may be known for their signature stuffed lobster dish, Boone’s also has a extensive non-alcoholic menu to quench your thirst.
While you can’t go wrong with any of these, some must-try’s from the menu include the Magic Apple (pictured above) as well as the Ice Storm 98′ Punch.