When walking up the wooden stairwell to Bandaloop in Kennebunkport, the low lights and dark ambiance may make it seem like the venue isn’t open.

Do not be fooled.

Instead, pull open the heavy rustic door and take a step inside to this sophisticated yet natural bar adventure.

Bandaloop has been serving an organic menu in its Kennebunkport location since 2004, when owners W. Scott and Bridget Lee opened the place.

They offer more than just a unique food menu; there is also a vast and constantly changing bar menu. And we aren’t talking about pub chips and appetizers.

After stepping inside, you can immediately pull up to the sleek gray wooden bar to your right. Boasting about a dozen seats with hanging track lighting, this is not your average barn-converted-into-a-restaurant place.

A bench runs the entire length of the far right wall with two- and four-person tables. Or you can move up to the renovated loft space to gaze over the scene below.

Normally someone who orders a pint of the local craft beer on tap, I was swayed by the allure of the Blueberry Lemondrop Martini ($9.) I always find fruity mixed drinks to be a dangerous gamble, but this time it paid off.

Listening to Dave the bartender’s stories and experience, I was assured I was in good hands when my drinks were being mixed.

Sipping my fancy drink, I looked around to assess the scene. Exposed post and beam accents somehow don’t offer the same casual ambiance you find in other barns.

The entire bar area wraps around an exposed kitchen area, where you can smell the delicious dinner menu hanging in the air.

Bandaloop’s bar is fully stocked and offers liquor, wines, saki, beers and hard ciders. The menu rotates constantly, but you can find a pretty accurate listing at bandaloop.biz.

For beers, there are a few domestics and a wide assortment of bottled imports. The most popular brew is St. Peters ($6) from Suffolk, England, an organic microbrew that offers a mid-bodied flavor. It also comes in one of the coolest bottles I’ve seen. On tap, choose from two flavors from local brewer Peak Organic ($4.50 each).

Across from the bar, a chalkboard of daily specials and featured drinks from the bartender are noted on a chalkboard. Whiskeys, scotches and bourbon took up most of space on the night I was there, along with a few fun drinks like their saki wines and J.K. Scrumpy’s Hard Cider ($7).

That night, strawberry mojitos ($8) were flying across the bar as Kennebunkport shoppers and friends gathered around the tables to unwind and chatter away.

Bandaloop has it all: a full bar, a sophisticated yet authentic setting, and great conversation over delicious fruity drinks. 

Elisa Doucette is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

 

filed under: