Kennebunkport is a summer escape for many folks who are “from away.” They migrate north in droves, bearing license plates of every geographical origin, and tuck themselves away into beachside escapes, hoping to experience a small piece of our state’s proud slogan, “The way life should be.”

Come nighttime, you’ll find these folks slowly meandering through town, sitting at little cafes, sipping on cold cocktails and beers and tasting the local fare. It’s all very quaint, very delightful and very touristy. If that’s your scene, get down to Kennebunkport.

But if it’s not (and personally, I tend to shy away from vacation hubs), keep driving straight through town on Route 9. Follow the rustic little wooden signs that are barely nailed to tall posts pointing you out of town, hinting at a quiet place off the beaten path called Lucas on 9.

Lucas on 9 opened six years ago with the intention of being the place where the locals go for great food, classic drinks and congenial conversation with friends and strangers seeking a comfy, casual neighborhood bar.

And did it work? Absolutely.

The incredibly kind folks at Lucas on 9 welcome you with grace and class. Chatting warmly as you go, you’re led toward the horseshoe bar, well-stocked with any imaginable ingredients for cocktails and martinis — the preferred libation of Lucas regulars.

Find a seat at the bar or head to the periphery, where high stools and tables are far enough away for a quiet conversation, yet close enough to keep you connected to your cocktail compatriots. Look to your left through the windowed partitions to find a comfortable dining area where you can have all manner of treats, from quarter-pound lobster macaroni and cheese ($24.99) to seafood jambalaya ($22.99 full order; $16.99 half order).

The bar is where I set my sights, and as soon as I saw the black raspberry margarita ($6.50), I knew my evening was off to a great start.

Lucas on 9 prides itself on keeping the price point well below the astronomical figures of many in-town summer spots. Take the wine list as an example: Most by-the-glass selections (mainly from California and Washington, but with a smattering of Argentina and Italy here and there) are affordably priced between $6 and $9, and no bottle goes above $36.

Plus there are great bar specials that draw a fun crowd of sports enthusiasts, especially if you’re rooting for the home team. When the Patriots, Bruins or Red Sox are playing, watch the game on one of the flat screens while snacking on dollar dogs and draft beers all night.

While you’re there, do yourself a favor and don’t shy away from the top shelf. True to form, most of Lucas’ basic cocktails come in at around $6.50, with names like Grey Goose and Bombay gracing the well. Call’s are a buck or two more, and top-shelf drinks don’t go above $9. Since most Lucas locals are martini fans, you may as well embody a “when in Rome” mentality and go with the flow.

One of the great things about Maine in summer is spending time outside. That time outside should include eating and drinking, and Lucas on 9 provides a delightful platform for that experience.

Wander just outside the bar to find a lush, green backyard complete with Adirondack chairs, patio umbrellas and bistro seating. Take your cocktail and peruse the well-groomed grounds barefoot, or relax at one of the tables while taking in the summer night with beers and other tasty treats.

After all, it is summer in Maine, and that is precisely what we’re all supposed to do.

Johanna Sorrell is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.