Dining areas on two floors, two bars and a deck, all overlooking Portland Harbor are the seating options at Luke’s Lobster on Portland Pier. Photos by Angie Bryan

From the moment you arrive at Luke’s Lobster, all the way down at the end of Portland Pier past J’s Oyster, you can tell that owner Luke Holden and team put a great deal of thought into every detail. In addition to a wheelchair lift around the side, you’ll find wooden benches on a shaded porch in case the line is out the door. There’s even a little box on one of the exterior walls with copies of the menu in it for people to browse while they wait.

Luke’s Lobster has a comfortable outdoor seating area, complete with menus to peruse, if there’s a wait.

When you enter, you walk past two large lobster tanks and photos of the lobstermen who are filling them. There’s a bar, a significant amount of indoor seating and a deck where diners can watch lobstermen processing their traps right in front of them.  There’s additional seating (and a second bar) upstairs, where the views are even more impressive.

My drinking companion and I headed upstairs and settled in at the bar on the comfortable wooden barstools with backs. We were pleased to find purse hooks underneath the bar, but were even more pleased to see that Luke’s has a specialty cocktail menu containing six original craft cocktails. In an amusing note, the drinks menu is divided into “booze” and “not booze” sections, the latter of which includes their own blueberry lemonade for $4. There are also nine draft beers ($6-$9) and 14 wines by the glass ($9-$12), some of which are also available by the carafe.

More Fun Than Humans, a watermelon margarita with house-made watermelon juice, and Spritz & Giggles (vodka, lemon juice, sparkling wine and a house-made strawberry-rhubarb puree) are among the specialty cocktails.

I started out with the $11 More Fun Than Humans, essentially a watermelon margarita with house-made watermelon juice. My friend ordered the $10 Spritz & Giggles (vodka, lemon juice, sparkling wine and a house-made strawberry-rhubarb puree), which tasted like a glass of melted strawberry-rhubarb pie. In case you’re unclear on how I felt about that, it was delicious. Who doesn’t want to drink liquid pie? Nobody I want to know.

I was less enthusiastic about my drink; the watermelon flavor wasn’t strong enough to hold up to the liquor. When the bartender came over to check on what we thought of our drinks, I told him that, and he immediately offered to take it off the bill and make me something else. That kind of customer service makes me even more excited than finding purse hooks underneath the bar. I went with the $10 Thyme After Thyme (gin, lemon, sugar, fresh blueberries and a sprig of charred thyme), which arrived in an elegant vintage-style cocktail glass and turned out to be a phenomenal layering of flavors, not too sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to our seafood.

We couldn’t leave without tasting the lobster, so my friend and I ordered the $24 Luke’s Trio: half a lobster roll, half a crab roll, half a shrimp roll, potato chips and a pickle. Winner winner, seafood dinner. None of the ingredients are pre-mixed, and a source board downstairs shows exactly where the products come from. Gluten-free buns or beds of greens are available for a surcharge.

Four thumbs (and two livers) up for Luke’s latest venture.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

The Luke’s Trio is half a crab roll, half a lobster roll and half a shrimp roll, served with chips and a pickle.


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