The bar at Flood’s inside the Francis Hotel on Congress Street in Portland. Photos by Angie Bryan

Walking into Flood’s, the bar and restaurant that replaced Bolster, Snow, & Co inside (but unaffiliated with) the Francis Hotel, my drinking companion and I immediately admired the decor.

Cozy lighting (including candles), beautiful flowers, carefully chosen paintings and vintage-looking silver items, such as little trays, all contribute to the atmosphere. I don’t want to sound like I’m 80, but the music was too loud for the vibe the night we were there.

My friend and I settled in at the bar on the backless wooden barstools, hung our purses on the hooks underneath the bar and started chatting with the amiable bartender. She told us that the bar was named after Old Mr. Flood, a character created by the author Joseph Mitchell in 1948. A quintessential New Yorker, Old Mr. Flood retired and moved into a hotel, where a series of old friends visited him while he lived “on fresh seafood, harbor air and the occasional good Scotch.” Not a bad retirement plan. And given that many of the guests at the Francis are New Yorkers, it seems appropriate.

The $10 False Prophet (bourbon, rhubarb and cinnamon, with a gorgeous rhubarb garnish) and the $10 Dangerous Sister (plum, basil, bay, lemon and a Japanese vodka-like liquor called shochu) at Flood’s.

My friend decided on the $10 False Prophet (bourbon, rhubarb and cinnamon, with a gorgeous rhubarb garnish). We could taste all three components as we sipped it, with a slight (in a good way) aftertaste of cinnamon. I chose the $10 Dangerous Sister (plum, basil, bay, lemon and a Japanese vodka-like liquor called shochu). It was light, refreshing, subtle and smooth, but unfortunately came in what another friend of mine would refer to as a child’s portion. Other specialty cocktails on the menu included the $9 Be Ernest (vodka, lime, guava, curry and falernum, a Caribbean liqueur), the $11 Blame the Broom (mescal, black pepper and cherry) and the $11 C.M.P. (rye, black tea, lemon, angostura and milk). Flood’s also offers three white wines by the glass ($10-$14), three red wines by the glass ($10-$13) and six draft beers ($5-$11).

Flood’s is the brainchild of Greg Mitchell, the co-owner of Palace Diner in Biddeford. We didn’t eat anything but the food menu had about 10 dinner options, ranging from $9 to $23. Flood’s advertises itself as “cocktails and dinners for all occasions,” a theme the bartender echoed when she explained they wanted their patrons (a mix of locals and hotel guests) to feel comfortable coming for either just a drink or a full meal.

Unfortunately my friend and I were far from comfortable during our visit. As much as we loved the atmosphere, service and cocktails, both of us were uncomfortable to the point of distraction sitting on the unusual wooden barstools, which had a raised wooden rim around the seat that dug into our legs. We left without a second drink because it hurt so much, and we both agreed the seating would stop us from coming back. My friend is very slender, but I carry around a lot of extra padding (one might call it my own personal seat cushion), and both of us left with imprint marks on the backs of our thighs.

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

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