My roommate and I decided to head into Portland for a midweek night out. Our destination? Dock Fore in Portland’s Old Port.

As we crossed Fore Street, Angie spotted the large Shipyard Pumpkinhead poster advertising $1.95 pints from 3 to 7 p.m. That price is pretty hard to beat in Portland bars.

When we walked in, admittedly we felt like strangers walking into Cheers. Despite the mixed-age groups enjoying happy hour, Dock Fore is definitely a place where regulars go because everybody knows their names. On the flip side — if you walk in and nobody knows you, you feel a bit like the things that don’t belong.

But for a Tuesday evening, the small bar was hopping with happy hour-goers. Angie squeezed between patrons to reach the bar and order a Pumpkinhead. When the bartender handed over her drink, it wasn’t your average 16-ounce glass, but a 20-ounce pint.

“This place may be a hole-in-the-wall bar,” Angie said to me as she took her first sip of beer. “But it’s heaven in a hole.”

Pumpkinhead for $1.95 isn’t the only steal Dock Fore has to offer. On weekdays, a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. features $1.95 and $2.95 pints, $1.95 domestic bottles, $2.95 imported bottles and well drinks, and $1 off glasses of wine.


While we were there, the bar also had a communal plate of crackers, cheese, veggies and dip set out for patrons to enjoy.

The specials don’t disappear on weekends either, when you can’t go wrong with $2.95 mimosas and a $3.95 Bloody Mary.

Throughout the fall, the televisions mounted behind the bar feature football on Sundays, with seven NFL games on at once. With that come specials that include $8.95 Longtrail IPA pitchers and free hot dogs and peanuts.

All over the walls hung a number of paintings by local artist Susan Roux. The vibrant-colored paintings were beautiful and framed in gold, and were a stark contrast to the rest of the bar, which featured happy hour and beer posters.

Dock Fore is your run-of-the-mill place, which is unusual for the Old Port. The neighborhood bar sits amidst a bar scene littered with nightclubs, sports pubs and dance floors.

It’s a place to chill, sip a drink and chat with friends. It’s not a place to go shake your booty, drink the latest trendy cocktail or play some bar games.


Maybe not featuring the latest trend is what keeps Dock Fore’s doors open, though. Owner Shaun McCarthy said it’s been open for more than 30 years.

I’m sure the regular crowd will keep it going for another 30 years or more.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.


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