The tale of Fore Street in Portland's Old Port is a tricky one. As a rule, the street has consistently been one of the busiest in the area, filled with shops, restaurants, and plenty of nightlife options. Because of the popularity, a new hotel was built to abut the street and capitalize on tourism. Between the pandemic and planned construction, Fore Street has looked a lot different for the past couple years. The transformation will continue at the corner of Fore and Union Streets soon, as a new business is about to call 442 Fore Street home.

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Beyond food and drink, one of the fastest growing industries in Maine is cannabis. 442 Fore Street will be home to a new recreational dispensary called Venus & Mars. Dispensaries in Portland are nothing new. As the industry has blossomed and rules have become clear, several dispensaries and shops have poured money into redefining spaces that have been vacant for years.

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That will be the story for Venus & Mars. They've taken over the space that once housed Pearl nightclub. For several years, Pearl was one of Portland's most popular late-night destinations, specifically for dancing. In the height of summer, lines often stretched around the corner of the Fore Street with enthusiastic patrons trying to make their way in.

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It shouldn't be a surprise that a dispensary is taking the place of a nightclub. Noise complaints and volatile situations have plagued both Fore and Wharf streets for years, with the City of Portland trying to find a balance between maintaining nightlife while not disrupting tourism.


 

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