Old Orchard Beach sure has changed.

I admit it, like many Mainers who don’t live in that area, I tend to steer clear of OOB in the summer. But after visiting recently, I can tell you there’s been a revival of sorts down there, and you should check it out for yourself.

If you haven’t been there in a few years, you’ll be surprised by some of the new buildings. There’s a big swanky one on the corner (remember the old arcade?) overlooking the ocean and the Pier, and it has been the home of Myst for several seasons.

Three of the four walls that make up Myst have floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the deck and ocean. The view couldn’t be better for getting some sun and people watching. Saddle up to the bar and sit in a wooden patio chair to have a beer, and Matt Wolf, the manager, will greet you with “Never had a better day,” which is exactly the attitude I want in a beach bar.

There are plenty of tables inside and a large area for group seating in an intimate setup with couches and oversized lounge chairs. Choose the deck to get your sun — it has a capacity of 150 — and sit at one of the many high tops with the best view around. Myst will soon be adding a raw bar.

Obviously, a beach theme is in order for an Old Orchard Beach bar, but it’s not cheesy or trashy here at all. With a huge fish tank and a few pieces of nautical art, the whole place is fairly classy, yet very casual. Matt says Myst is a very family-friendly place, with as many 50-year-olds as 21-year-olds hanging out.

I was slightly saddened to find not a single draft beer on site, but a bottled Shipyard helped. Other bottled choices include Budweiser, Coors Light, Amstel Light and Corona, all in the $3 to $4 range. A glass of wine will run you $6 to $7, and there is a fully stocked bar of your favorite alcohol choices.

The food is worth trying and is reasonably priced with portions to match. I liked the fire-roasted salsa made with hand-peeled tomatoes, onions, poblanos, jalapenos, onions and cilantro. I can also recommend the wonton shrimp, a customer favorite, for $8, or the lobster roll, which is light on the mayo and heavy on the lobster.

There are several sandwiches, salad and burger choices for turf lovers. Or try the whole belly clam dinner for $21 or grilled chicken alfredo for $17.50.

Open at noon daily, and with live music every night except Monday, Myst is worth a trip to Old Orchard Beach. With its casual, laid-back environment just footsteps from the water, good food and plenty of drink choices, you really can’t go wrong.

 

Amber Olesen is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.