Since its grand opening on March 12, Easy Day in South Portland has quickly become a popular stomping ground for locals. Most nights, especially weekends, you can bet the bar – and the lanes – will be crowded.
Turn right on Broadway from the Casco Bay Bridge and Easy Day will be the giant building on the right – it’s hard to miss. Formerly Beale Street BBQ, Chris Tyll (owner of Pat’s Pizza in Portland) has transformed the space into a 10-lane ten-pin bowling alley with room for 275 people. Tyll, a former Navy SEAL, named the establishment after the motto, “The only easy day was yesterday.”
Not surprisingly, Tyll runs a tight ship. The staff is welcoming, quick, and accommodating. And there are staff members posted at different corners of the space for guests’ convenience. Other conveniences include an ATM at the front entrance, a hotel-like lobby in the same entrance fit with leather chairs, and remarkably comfortable bar seats (leather, padded, high-backed).
I would be remiss not to mention the impressive view of the Fore River and the Portland skyline from an isolated dining room at Easy Day. Tables are set up along tall, wide windows. The view might even make you forget you’re at a bowling alley with laser rainbow lights.
The separate dining room might also provide respite from the loud music in the bowling alley/bar area (lots of Prince is played – a good choice for bowling).
The kitchen is managed by Jean Dimillo – former owner of G&R Dimillo’s (where Portland & Rochester Public House is now) – and, so far, the food has received good reviews. Most notable is the Detroit-style pizza that Tyll insisted on serving, so much so that he sent Dimillo to Detroit to train with 2012 World Champion Pizza Maker Shawn Randazzo.
The training paid off because Dimillo’s says the pizza is by far the most popular menu item at Easy Day.
Weeknights, the bar has busy pockets, with nearly all of the 20-some seats occupied. Other times, there’s plenty of space, with many seats filled by sole diners scrolling through their smartphones.
Weekends are a different scene altogether. As Dimillo put it, “Fridays and Saturdays are off the charts.”
Daily drink specials include $4 glasses of wine and $3 draft beers from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Soon, Easy Day will be adding more specials on the weekend.
Open from 10 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day, lanes are $30 an hour or $15 for a half-hour, or $4 per person per game.
Claire Jeffers is a Portland freelance writer.