I’ll be honest.  At least once a week somebody will say to me:  Will you ever leave Portland?  It’s so far away from everything, wouldn’t you do better in  major city for what you do?  I’m quick to begin explaining and they seem to just not get it exactly.  I never understood why people think you have to be in a certain place to make something work?  Most people will never understand what we love about Maine, and Portland in general.  It becomes hard to put into words.  So, this is my Portland.

Portland is everything someone like myself could want.  For a 28 year old small business owner who has lived here throughout most of my twenties, this city has given my entire life, and continues to help me grow.  Any other time I’ve been to other major cities, plans are made throughout the week to meet a friend, find a certain type of bar or restaurant and then when the day comes, you go.  If you’re attending an event, it’s the event you go to, and never change venues mid way through to see another show.  Just doesn’t happen.  Now, I’m sure there is a sense of local pride in Chicago, Dallas, or any other major city you go too, but in Portland, it’s a brand, literally.  “Keep Portland local.”  It’s rare to walk around Portland, especially the Old Port and see many big corporate businesses.  They are small businesses run by passionate locals and the people making their purchases understand that.  Here, we all genuinely help each other out here because we want our city to stay exactly as it is, and we in the end, want to see each other succeed.

THE SNUG PUB, PORTLAND.On any given night I can walk from my apartment on the east end and be in town in 7 minutes.  If I want literally any type of food, I can decide on this walk and be there and seated in ten minutes.  But on this night I can walk 200 yards and walk into the Snug, an amazing Irish bar right at the top of Congress near the eastern promenade.  A classic irish style pub, with authentic snugs and Otto pizza right next door.  What more can a person want?  Luckily for me, Michelle the “outspoken” female bartender likes me (for some reason) and immediately gets me a beer and says “hi” in a very sweet manor.  I’m alone, so she doesn’t make fun of any newcomers I may have brought on this night.  Back in the summer I was at the snug, and a gentleman from out of town nudged me and told me the bartender didn’t know how to make a gin and tonic and told me he was gonna let her know.  I said, ” good luck” and enjoyed the show.  She slammed the bottle of gin down in front of him, said “put in what you want pal, then get the out of her bar.”  The bar erupted and the gentleman soon exited.

So after my pint of a local IPA, I throw on my hood and keep walking down the hill.  Right around the time I get down by east ender I get a text from a few friends that are having dinner and I decide to stop in and join.  The east ender, an amazing local spot right by Duckfat off India Street.  I’m not a “foodie”  or can tell you what I’m tasting as I eat like other bloggers.  But I can give you the “average guy” description of their burger: IT’S AMAZING.  Everything made in housefrom scratch with an incredible local beer list.  An hour passes.  Friends talk.  Drinks go down easier.  I finish a beer made by one of my best friend’s company- Bissell Brothers Brewing, and their delectable “Substance” IPA.  I have one more from another friend’s company- Baxter Brewing‘s “Phantom Punch” Stout.  I say goodbye to my friends, and head back into the night toward the heart of the Old Port.

East Ender

East Ender

 

I enter the Old Port and the familiar cobblestone under my feet is accented by amazing lights put up for the holiday season and you hear the clammer of people in bars that line the streets left and right.  To my left Rosies and some other bars on Fore st.  Coming up on my right is Bull Pheeny’s and this place quickly will always generate memories.  Being 28, I tend to stay out of super crowded places now.  I’m not like most people my age that look at that college bar scene in a bad way like it never happened.  I love seeing the college scene bars to my right and in front of me heading down Fore St and remembering how much fun I had in my early 20’s on that street.   College memory part of the story over.

Now I take my right up Market St.  I feel more at ease, this is my street.  It holds my favorite bar.  It also is home to former legendary rock club the “The Big Easy,” and it’s where my office is located as well.  The city seems to be welcoming at every corner.  When the Big Easy was open I would say “hi” to Ken Bell, the well liked former owner who was always out front greeting people on a show night, which was pretty much every night, and 100% chance I would stay in talk for a few minutes and see more friends or people I knew. I finally exit, and now…. my favorite local bar:  The Thirsty Pig.  Quick note here, I don’t base my favorite bar off the decor, fancy drinks, awards they’ve won or whatever else people think makes a “good” bar.  The Thirsty pig is my cheers.  It has an amazing local beer selection, and in-house made sausages.  Simple, but amazing.  Take my word for it.

Thirsty Pig

Thirsty Pig

 

 

 

Speaking of cheers, I enter the room to my best friend bartending, and about 20 of my closest friends taking up half the bar talking and shooting the breeze about absolutely nothing.  Each one welcomes me, probably makes a friendly joke as friends always do and we all continue on.  I spend the night with these people.  They are teachers, musicians, photographers, nurses, students, brewers, engineers, and they all like me, love this place.  That feeling you get when you enter a room and you see friends and realize THIS is makes a great city.  The people.  You see, they know what I know.  Portland allows you to make it your own.  You make relationships with people because of how local everything is, and in a 7 minute walk I was able to do anything I wanted.

If I wanted coffee, sushi, BBQ, an old fashioned, or any genre of music…  I could have it.  This is what I chose to do.  I ate local food prepared from scratch, drank local beers from two close friends, and laughed with even more friends.  Walking home I can see ships come in and out of the bay and I realize probably thousands of people on this night did the same as me.  Except their Portland is different.  But that is what make’s it so great, because like me they would agree, there is no place like Portland.

I agree, there can be thousands of articles written about the best bars and best restaurants around Portland.  Happens every day, locally and nationally. I’m a single, 28 year old man running his business in Portland, Maine and my favorite part of Portland is seeing my friends faces at our favorite local spots.  Some of them are the same as yours.  But we all have them none the less, and THAT is what makes Portland so great.

 

So no, I don’t want to leave Portland.  I can’t find this feeling anywhere else.

 

Hope you all had a great New Year!

 

Kyle Poissonnier

 

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