March 21, 2013

Bar Guide: Cozy up to the bar – or booth – at Sebago in Gorham

While all Sebago locations are built somewhat from the same mold, each provides a neighborhood feel that typical large chain restaurants don't.

By EMMA BOUTHILLETTE

The family of Sebago Brewing Company's bars and restaurants is a good standby for a happy hour or dinner out. Having visited locations in Portland and Scarborough, I was excited to see what the business did with its location in Gorham.

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click image to enlarge

Bartender Chris Salamone pours a Frye’s Leap draft from one of the many Sebago Brewing taps at the popular spot in Gorham.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

SEBAGO BREWING COMPANY

WHERE: 29 Elm St., Gorham

PHONE: 839-2337

WEBSITE: sebagobrewing.com

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday; 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday

PARKING: Parking lot

SPECIALS: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday is happy hour, featuring $1 off pints and tall drafts and $6 appetizers; 10 p.m. to close Wednesday through Saturday is the late-night happy hour, with $1 off pint drafts, $5 appetizers, $5 call drinks and $6 burgers

AMENITIES: Televisions in the bar and a nice patio for warm-weather drinking outside

WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes

SCENE: A cozy bar and restaurant that's perfect for happy hour or group gatherings

Nestled in the downtown area of one of Portland's many suburbs, the Gorham location is cute and quaint. I met Teila there for after-work drinks and dinner on a recent weekday, and to my surprise, there was absolutely no room at the bar when we arrived just after 5:30 p.m. Sebago is apparently the place to be in Gorham for happy hour.

Teila and I scored one of the last remaining tables and started reviewing the drink menu. The extensive cocktail menu includes drinks between $6 and $8. I almost chose sangria, but that's the kind of thing served everywhere, so I went with a specialty cocktail instead.

The Sparkler featured Absolut vodka with fresh-squeezed lemons, crushed strawberries and club soda. This refreshing drink, served in a pint glass, made me long for a warm summer day even more. Of course, my selection may have been different had I noticed the "drink local" cocktail menu using base liquors made here in Maine.

Quiet honestly, though, if you're going to go to Sebago, it's worth trying one of its beers. Teila is a fan of dark, heavy beers. Our waitress recommended a great stout for her to try that was served in its appropriate glass. It's hard to go wrong choosing beer at a place that makes its own.

If cocktails or beer aren't your style, Sebago has a good wine list with options by the glass in the $5 to $7 range or by the bottle for $18 to $30.

While all Sebago locations are built somewhat from the same mold, each provides a neighborhood feel that typical large chain restaurants don't. That said, I do have to mention that the Gorham location is probably the smallest of all four restaurants and bars. The actual bar area was jammed-packed for happy hour. Every seat along the bar was taken, as were the high-top tables, and many people were standing near friends who were seated, filling the space even more.

And that was on a Wednesday night. I can imagine that weekends are even busier, especially if there's some type of event at the University of Southern Maine's Gorham campus. Sebago is within walking distance of the college, and I'm sure it's a popular spot for students and families who may visit to watch a game.

The one thing I found cool was that in addition to freestanding tables, Sebago has booths both large and small. The larger booths could probably fit six to eight people or more if you really wanted to be cozy.

Also, according to the bar's website, there is a patio for the warm months. It's not the kind of patio for those who want ocean views while drinking, but rather a spot that faces the woods.

I did notice a small stream running along the parking area, which probably makes its way by the patio. I wasn't able to get a good look at the patio area, though, because navigating the bar crowd was almost impossible.

As for the food Teila and I ordered, it was equally as good as the drinks. Thumbs up all around for Sebago Brewing Company in Gorham -- as long as you don't mind rubbing elbows with your drinking neighbor. 

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.

 

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