When I’m giving people directions in Portland, I prefer to use landmarks. This is mostly because I don’t know a lot of the street names, and it also gives people a point of reference.

For instance, I never say, “turn onto Union Street off of Commercial.” My directions usually include a turn when you see the long sign for Three Dollar Deweys on the corner.

The bar has become a landmark in the Old Port. Dubbed Portland’s original alehouse, it has a laundry list of beers and ciders offered by the pint and by the bottle, with prices ranging from $3 to $6.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Three Dollar Deweys also offers the Irish “Black List,” which features a number of drinks made with Guinness and a second, lighter beer, so your glass has that nice layered effect when served.

I wasn’t feeling a pint, though, when I met up with my friend Kelli on a recent night. Instead, I opted to try Absolut Pear with soda water. The fact that Absolut makes a pear-flavored vodka was news to me, so it sounded like an interesting drink to try. Served in a pint glass, it was a hint of fruity for $6.

Three Dollar Deweys has the character of an old alehouse too. Aside from the seats at the bar, there are long picnic-style tables perfect for large groups.


Framed old illustrations and art hang around the bar and dining area. Above the archway to the bathrooms in red writing is an epigraph that reads, “A man has no better thing under the sun to eat, drink, be merry & have fun.”

That could be the motto of this bar. Most people were smiling, enjoying their beverages and chatting with friends. I’ve frequented the bar for lunch, happy hours and late nights out, and it always seems busy. And it’s always loud with raucous banter.

If you’re feeling hungry while you drink, Three Dollar Deweys offers free freshly popped popcorn all day. The scent of the popcorn fills the entire space, mixing with the smell of beer and any other food that may be coming out of the kitchen.

It offers standard pub fare for lunch and dinner, but nothing is standard about the taste of the food. Everything I’ve had is delicious.

Kelli and I chilled at the bar for a couple of hours sipping our drinks and watching people come and go.

It was a relaxing night in the Old Port for us, without the nuisance of having to stand squished at a bar or being jostled around with other people trying to edge their way in for a drink.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.


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