If you’re a Portland local, you’ve probably indulged at one time or another in our incredible selection of taphouses, breweries, cocktail bars, and whiskey lounges, but sometimes that’s just not what you’re going for.
Sometimes, you just want a place where you can show up in sweat pants and feel right at home with the other local clientele.
That’s why we wanted to take some time to highlight the more underground bar scene of Portland. They may not make any national lists, but they’ve certainly got a soft spot in our hearts.
Here’s our list of some of the best dive bars around town.
Whether you’re shooting some pool inside, or smoking cigs on the back deck, you haven’t really had a night in the Old Port if you’ve never been to Amigo’s.
Front row tickets to the Cobble Wobble sold seperately.
For a great traditional lobster roll, right on the waterfront, head over to Andy’s. Located five steps above street level on Commercial Street, this neighborhood pub can be tricky to find, but you’ll be glad you did.
Serving up a full menu of pub fare, and offering some of Maine’s best beers on tap, you’ll want to add this dive bar into your repertoire. They also pride themselves in being Portland’s home to international soccer, so there’s always a good crowd when a match is on.
Dive bar by day, and dance club by night, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Portland local who doesn’t have some story about a night out at Bubba’s.
Known for their Friday night 80s parties, including their light up dance floor, this is one Portland staple you don’t want to miss. Located on Portland Street, it’s just on the edge of downtown, which can make bar-hopping a bit trickier, but the memories alone (or lack thereof), are worth the trek.
CBG coins itself as “Fine Diving since 2019,” and we couldn’t agree more. Located on Congress Street, they offer a slew of local beers, a long cocktail menu, and good eats that will leave you satisfied any day of the week.
With old school décor including wood paneling, classic beer signs, and a disco ball, they went for the dive bar look and leaned right into it.
Have a seat right on Congress Street during the warmer months with their outdoor patio, and satisfy your hunger right up until midnight, seven days a week. Last call for drinks is at 1:00AM.
The term ‘dive bar’ can be a contentious term, but the Commercial Street Pub has been around long enough to know they can embrace the title.
Established in 1990, this self-proclaimed dive bar is always a good spot to catch a football game or play some classic arcade games.
Another classic Old Port pub, and must-visit dive bar is Dock Fore on Fore Street, your one-stop-shop for sports, “gourmet Jell-O shots” and the $1.95 pint.
With an amazing outdoor patio in the summer, and an unbeatable Happy Hour seven days a week, it’s no wonder why so many Portland locals call this bar home.
Another classic dive bar in downtown Portland is the Downtown Lounge.
They don’t try to sugarcoat it with the name, and they don’t try to sugarcoat it with their menu: it’s a small downtown spot offering cheap drinks and limited food options, but it’s still a great centralized meeting spot for local friends or pre-concert drinks.
It’s getting harder and harder to find a real sports bar in downtown Portland, but Fore Play stays true as Portland’s original sports bar. They’ve been serving up a spot to pound some beers while catching the game for over 27 years.
When there isn’t a game on, they’ve got pool, foosball and air hockey, to keep the sports vibe going every minute they are open.
Just across Tukey’s Bridge in East Deering, there’s an understated, but well-loved neighborhood bar that certainly deserves a trip off the peninsula to check out.
Good vibes, and friendly staff are what make this cozy pub a fan-favorite, along with their weekly activities such as Karaoke and Trivia. Hop across the bridge and check them out for yourself!
A small, dark, and loud basement bar has all the markings for a solid dive bar, and Maps certainly does not disappoint. Specializing in a unique combination of loud rock played on vinyl and curated by whoever happens to be bartending, cupcakes, and grilled cheese, this is a homey bar inhabited by patrons that wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
Aptly-named, the ceiling of Maps is covered with, you guessed it, Maps, and the beer prices will leave you just as satisfied as the oddly amazing confectionaries.
This may be a more contentious addition to the list, serving up a genuinely delicious lunch and dinner menu, featuring prime rib, lobster bisque and more, but the Old Port Tavern is, if anything, a local’s dive bar at heart.
As one of the oldest bars in the Old Port, in the historic Mariners Church Building, OPT has a loyal following for their cheap drinks, live entertainment, and, (pro tip) amazing pool hall on the third floor.
Take a trip down Wharf Street for one of Portland’s best draft beer selections at Mash Tun! With 35 craft beers on tap, you’ve got a good chance of finding a new favorite at this well-known dive bar.
Snack on some delicious tacos, grass-fed burgers or local oysters as you stop in for some drinks anytime you’re in the Old Port.
Rosie’s Restaurant and Pub is a popular favorite for good food, and cheap drinks in a fun and casual atmosphere.
With an amazing outdoor section right on Fore Street in the warmer months, this one can be hard to miss while out strolling through the Old Port.
They’re open 11:00AM – 1:00AM every day, so you can get your early lunch and settle in for hours of beer, darts and friends.
Portland is filled with some great breakfast and brunch spots, but for the perfect, greasy hangover cure, any true local knows that Ruski’s is the place to go.
Serving their famous breakfast all day, Ruski’s also whips up some deliciously stiff Bloody Marys, mimosas, or whatever other hair of the dog you may be looking for.
Located in the West End, it’s a bit out of the downtown action like many other well-known breakfast spots, but still draws a crowd of dedicated locals that put Ruski’s over any other breakfast in town. They also offer great lunch and dinner options that shouldn’t be missed.
If you’re not living on the peninsula, but are looking for cheap eats and drinks without having to go all the way downtown, Samuel’s is a crowd favorite that is hard to beat.
If you’re hungry, Samuel’s features a full menu of pizza, wings, burgers and more until 1:00AM every day of the week, and brunch on the weekends. If you’re thirsty, they’ve got happy hour prices on beers and cocktails running every day of the week, including deals like $1.50 Labatt Blues, and 5 cent mimosas after your first mimosa.
Even if you’re on the peninsula, Samuel’s is worth a trip out to outer Forest Ave. to check out!
Formerly Dirty Dove, St. Joe Restobar has rebranded and put more focus on their food menu, while also offering some delicious cocktails and a solid selection of beers, wine and cider.
Check out the new vibe at this neighborhood dive bar on Congress Street.
Another friendly and casual watering hole in downtown Portland is Tomaso’s Canteen on Hampshire Street. Known for chicken wings, and their beer and a shot combo deals, Tomaso’s is a great place to get some serious bang for your buck.
Stop in on Tuesdays to grab tacos from the Disco Jalisco food truck from 11AM until they sell out.