My friend Teila has been taking classes at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland for a while now, but she never noticed a small local bar just down the street from campus.

Spring Point Tavern is a neighborhood bar that is a stone’s throw away from the college.

She and I stopped by on a recent Wednesday for a few drinks. According to one regular who we sat next to at the bar, it was a quiet night. He said the nights when the bar hosts karaoke or live bands are typically busier.

Teila and I stared at the liquor offerings displayed on shelves behind the bar as well as a sign listing all the available bottled beverages. Between the full bar, a number of bottled beers and 10 beers on tap, there’s plenty of drinks that are reasonably priced from which to choose. When the bartender told Teila that well rum drinks were $3 for the night, she decided on a rum and Coke. I opted for a Twisted Tea, which cost $3.25.

The walls of the bar were covered with posters advertising upcoming bands, events and specials. One poster mentioned that the bar hosts water pong on Mondays, except for the first Monday of the month, starting at 8 p.m. Another promoted comedy nights on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

There was also a sign listing the types of Jell-O shots for $1 apiece. In case you get hungry, small bags of chips are available as well as pickled eggs that sit in a large plastic jug behind the counter.

The bar itself has inset maps of Portland Harbor. Strings of lights are hung from the ceiling, woven back and forth between twigs and branches, providing cool ambience.

While there’s a DJ on Fridays and live music on Saturdays, there’s also a jukebox to keep the tunes rolling on every other night. The Celtics’ game was on the large flat-screen television as well as on the television behind the bar so patrons could keep up with the playoffs.

As we sipped our drinks, we continued chatting with the regular sitting next to us. He said he lived nearby and really enjoyed the atmosphere of Spring Point Tavern. He liked that it drew a diverse crowd and that people there are friendly.

It’s refreshing to go to a local bar that has that welcoming vibe. Sometimes, the neighborhood places aren’t always amiable. There’s nothing as uncomfortable as walking into a new bar and having everyone stare at you.

It seems that the bar draws a variety of crowds too. In the time we were there, it emptied out and a new group of patrons filtered in. People from all walks were enjoying cocktails, chatting with each other and making comments about the game on TV.

Teila told the bartender she was disappointed she hadn’t discovered the bar sooner. The bartender joked she should come by and they’d help her study for finals sometime.

It made me wonder why I never thought of studying for finals in my local bar. Of course, my guess is it wouldn’t have been a productive study session.

After we paid and headed to the door, the bartender shouted at us, “Thanks for stopping in. Come again soon!”

And I’m sure we will.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.


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