The North Point is right in the Old Port, but just slightly off the beaten path and enough so that you may not have visited yet. If that’s the case, we recommend you add it to your rotation of happy hour destinations.
The North Point’s cocktail list has the usual suspects, along with a few signature drinks that are a tasty revelation. On a recent visit, enjoyed on their sidewalk seating area, my drinking companion ordered the d’anjou pear martini, which came with a slice of pear in the martini, soaking up the alcohol and ready to be enjoyed once the cocktail was downed. After going back and forth between the smoked caramel vanilla bourbon and the vanilla bean martini, I opted to follow suit and also order a martini. It did not disappoint. My drink was delivered with an entire vanilla bean in the glass, suffusing the martini with both the flavor and aroma of the bean.
For my next round, I went with a more budget-friendly glass of Allagash Black, which I dunked my bean in. The subtle vanilla flavors nicely complemented the chocolate flavors of the Belgian-style stout. Allagash, maybe a special Portland-only vanilla-infused Allagash Black is in order?
We arrived for the tail-end of happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday, but since we opted for cocktails, we didn’t take advantage of the happy hour specials. If you visit during the week between 4-6 pm, glasses of wine are $5 and it’s only $4 for draft beer, including local selections like Allagash, Geary’s, Shipyard, and Sebago. The beer and wine “menus” come cleverly delivered wrapped around a pint glass and a wine bottle, respectively. There are 23 bottles of wine and 10 beers on tap to choose from. I went on a Thursday, but if you make it earlier in the week, you can look forward to half-price bottles of wine on Monday and on Tropical Tuesdays it’s just $5 for mojitos. Score!
The appetizer menu includes delectable nibbles such as poached pear and arugula salad, grilled chicken skewers, and spinach and artichoke dip. There are also build-your-own meat and cheese plates.
My one quibble is with the prices. The cheapest item is a $9 baby spinach side salad, which makes this more of a place I would go to for dinner rather than drinks and appetizers. The flatbread menu is impressive and at only 13 bucks, seems like an appealing option. Personally, I’m eyeing The Ultimate Grilled Cheese with smoked Gouda, pepper jack, sharp cheddar, Swiss, tomato, and bacon; also The Farmhouse, made with goat cheese, spinach, walnuts, granny smith apples, Bosc pear, raspberry jam, and honey. They both sound decadent and delicious.
I chose to enjoy my drinks outside in the warm weather, but the interior is also a delight. It has dim, romantic lighting and tables with chairs as well as bench seating, the latter piled with welcoming pillows.
The bathroom I visited – one of two unisex bathrooms – cracked me up. They’re decorated with Victorian era photographs with witty captions about each subject. And for anyone who has ever experienced the horror of walking into the loo only to find not a scrap of toilet paper, they have not one, not two, but THREE wall-mounted toilet paper holders stocked with all the TP you could possibly ever need. I love this quirky yet practical touch.
The North Point is located at 35 Silver Street in Portland.