I've been exploring bars and restaurants since moving to Portland in hopes of finding one suitable for regular visits, but it's surprisingly hard to find one that meets all of these criteria. Does your go-to bar check all these boxes?

1) Memorizable Specials

The best way to prove you're a regular somewhere: you know when (down to the hour) they offer drink discounts and half-price apps.

2) A Seat For You and You Alone

Third stool to the left, with the jacket hook under the counter, that spot's just for you. Innocuous as it is, it's your go-to spot and you'll always pop a squat right there.

3) Your Friend the Bartender

Mike's a good guy. His son's about to go off to college and his daughter is debating switching from softball to theater; he'll support her no matter what. He also has a lab named Buster and hates millenials who just duck their head in to complete tasks on their pub crawl scavenger hunt.

4) Happy Hour or Night Cap

If you need a beer at 3:30pm (hey, I wake up super early) or a "just one more" at 1:20am, this is your place. They hold seemingly unsustainable hours and somehow your favorite bartender is always there. Does he work 200 hours a week?

5) Never a Tourist Trap

The crowning cap of achievement on a perfect go-to bar is the lack of tourists. With any luck, they'll stroll right past your hole in the wall while reading a "Best Bars in Maine" article written by a traveling blogger. Meanwhile, you slip in the door right behind them and they're none the wiser. Say hi to the other regulars on the way in!


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