Friday, May 24, 2013
By EMMA BOUTHILLETTE
I've heard about The Frog & Turtle for ages. The bar and restaurant's menu is posted online, and I've been drooling over it for weeks. I finally took myself on a post-work date on a recent Tuesday to try this place out.
Bartender Jessie Coates pours drinks at The Frog & Turtle in Westbrook, which features about a dozen classic and specialty cocktails as well as a long wine list and several beers on tap.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
THE FROG & TURTLE
WHERE: 3 Bridge St., Westbrook
HOURS: Bar service begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for brunch on Sundays
PARKING: Municipal lots across the street and behind the bar in addition to some on-street parking
SPECIALS: Mug club night on Tuesdays and 50-cent wings on Wednesdays
SCENE: A relaxed atmosphere great for a party of a few friends. The lounge is cozy, and the bar is kept nice and warm. There is also a side room for special events.
AMENITIES: Two televisions above the bar, cozy lounge furniture and a stage for entertainment
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes
I wasn't disappointed.
I made my way to Westbrook while most of Portland's business people settled in a bar near their offices. I was lucky enough to grab a parking spot right on Main Street, which has no time limit after 5 p.m. Westbrook does have a number of municipal parking lots flanking The Frog & Turtle, so don't fret if you can't park on the street.
I walked into the restaurant to see the bar right inside the door. I was a little dismayed by this: Maine's cold winters make bars close to doors sometimes uncomfortable and chilly. The staff must have realized this, though, because they keep the temperature nice and toasty inside.
A couple sat at one end of the bar sipping drinks. I sat a couple of seats down from them and started contemplating the many drink options.
The bar makes about a dozen classic and specialty cocktails. With an array of hard liquor, the bartenders could surely make any drink you'd desire. There's also a long wine list and many beer options on tap.
The bartender on duty has worked for The Frog & Turtle for three years. He approved of my selection -- The Soothsayer -- because it's a cocktail he created. The $9 drink, served in a highball glass, featured basil leaves muddled into fresh lime juice and shaken with Bombay Sapphire gin. He finished off the drink with a splash of tonic.
I was surprised to find that the drink was much sweeter than I expected, but it was still quite refreshing. I sipped my cocktail while munching on a rather large helping of the small order of poutine -- a popular French dish with fries, smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds.
While I was there, a few patrons came to sit in the lounge section of the bar. It looked like a rather comfy spot to occupy on a Thursday or Friday night, when there is live music on a nearby stage.
I didn't linger too long, though, because as 6:30 p.m. rolled around, more people were coming to sit at the somewhat short bar. The Frog & Turtle will, however, be added to my list of places to return for more awesome drinks and delicious food.
Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.