Sunday, December 8, 2013
By EMMA BOUTHILLETTE
I wouldn't normally think of pigs being parched. I'm more apt to associate swine with insatiable hunger.
Bartender Nyla Smith draws an Ishmael American Copper Ale from Rising Tide Brewing Co. at the Thirsty Pig, which offers a good selection of Maine-made brews.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
THE THIRSTY PIG
WHERE: 37 Exchange St., Portland
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday
PARKING: On-street metered parking that's free after 6 p.m. and on Sundays
AMENITIES: A great back deck for some outside sipping
HAPPY HOUR: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with $2.50 Shipyard drafts
SCENE: A small bar with an emphasis on chilling out, chowing down and sipping beverages.
However, someone thought pigs might want a drink with their slop, which brings us to the Thirsty Pig.
The small bar is tucked amid shops on Exchange Street in Portland's Old Port. If you're not paying close attention when you walk by, it could be mistaken for another cafe along the street, with its large bay windows revealing a number of tables and a dark wood floor.
The bar itself is hidden behind the counter and can't be spotted just by looking through the window. But fear not, it is there.
Stocked with an assortment of beer and wine, the Thirsty Pig is proud to offer a number of local brews.
In addition to the taps at the bar, available brews are written on small chalkboards propped up by metal kegs along a shelf behind the bar.
I headed there for a happy hour drink with my friend Shannon. When we arrived, she opted for the Peaks IPA. I, on the other hand -- in full denial that Shipyard Pumpkinhead has hit the taps and summer is winding down -- ordered the Blueberry Ale on draft.
Wanting to soak up every bit of summer possible, we hit the back deck rather than cozy up to the small bar inside.
Now, this deck area was a huge surprise to me. A lot of bars have offered makeshift outdoor seating by setting some chairs and tables right outside their front doors on the sidewalk. Not the Thirsty Pig.
Tucked between the tall buildings is a spacious porch where you can sit overlooking the street and entry of the Regency Hotel.
As we sat and caught up on each other's lives, we indulged in some great people-watching. Some folks tried to contest a parking ticket with the meter reader. Another guy walked right up to the railing of the deck, pressed his face against the fencing, pretended it was a jail and asked us to let him out.
The back deck quickly filled up with professionals needing a post-work pop and tourists taking a break from Old Port shopping. At some point, outdoor speakers started spewing some tunes.
We'd heard the fresh sausage links on the Thirsty Pig's menu are delicious, but decided we weren't in the mood.
Like any good establishment with a fun name, the Thirsty Pig also has swag. Its shirts feature a pig with a keg strapped to its back.
And if the pig is toting around a keg of beer like that, it sure explains why he's more thirsty and less hungry.
Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.