Joe’s Boathouse is nestled between dry-docked boats at Port Harbor Marina in South Portland.
There are fewer boats on land and more in the water to look at during the summer, but it presents a cool view of Casco Bay at any time of the year.
The bar is a small part of the seaside restaurant, but has an element that’s hard to miss.
Below the counter, where mostly no one ever pays attention, is a large fish tank lit up with a variety of aquarium fish.
The bar overlooks the kitchen area where chefs whip up some delicious food.
When I stopped in recently, there was only one other person at the bar and people at a few tables still dining late into the evening.
According to regulars, the place is quite busy during the summer months, especially with fishermen and boaters after a long day on the water. It’s one of the few establishments that draws tourists and locals alike.
While the bar itself is small, the menu is not.
There’s a decent selection of beer on draft or by the bottle ($3 to $6) and wine by the glass (average of $7) or the bottle.
There’s no cocktail menu, but the bar has any liquor you would need to whip up a cocktail of choice.
I grabbed an Allagash White for $5.50 and a cup of the restaurant’s soup special, chicken corn chowder.
While the size of Joe’s bar limits the number of people who can sit there to about five or six, the restaurant offers outdoor seating that’s hard to beat. With summer fast approaching, it’s definitely a spot to put on your list to drink in the sun and watch as boats depart and dock.
If you plan to head to Joe’s with a larger group, you can always call ahead and see how the scene looks.
If it’s busy in the small bar, a table for a large group can be reserved.
And if you do saddle up to the bar, just mind where your feet swing. Fish don’t like it when you tap (or kick) on the glass.
Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.