The bar is in a separate room at Unity House of Pizza. Photos by Angie Bryan

After a fun afternoon rail-cycling in Thorndike, my friends and I set off in search of a nearby watering hole.

We were ecstatic when our friend Google told us about a bar in Unity called The Broken Hag, so you can imagine our disappointment when we learned it was out of business. Our spirits lifted as we drove past another bar in Unity called Spanky’s (as you probably have surmised, I’m a sucker for a good bar name), only to plummet when we saw the signs on their front door announcing their permanent closure.

Watering holes are hard to come by in these parts, but Unity House of Pizza gets the job done. Photo by Angie Bryan

But the emotional roller coaster finally ended when we came across UHOP. No pancakes in sight, though – it stands for Unity House of Pizza, and there was a separate room devoted entirely to its bar, which opened in 2007. Things were looking up.

We parked in the big lot across the street and were pleasantly surprised to find the bar pretty crowded. Then again, maybe nobody else could find another drinking establishment, either. The three guys sitting at a high-top next to us looked like they knew what they were doing, evidenced by the large buckets they were drinking from. We asked them what they were drinking and they exclaimed, “Rum buckets!” with the kind of transcendent smile one has after tasting good quality chocolate for the first time.

Rum buckets are ubiquitous at UHOP. Photo by Angie Bryan

My friends and I didn’t need more convincing – rum buckets it was (except for the driver). UHOP has an extensive food menu but no formal drink one, although it does have a full bar. The buckets arrived at our table complete with a little plastic handle like you’d find on a child’s sand bucket toy at the beach. (I can neither confirm nor deny that we used that handle to hoist our buckets closer to our mouths while enjoying our drinks.)

As you might expect from something whose name combines “rum” and “bucket,” our drinks were all sorts of tropical deliciousness. Lots of citrus and pineapple (and, of course, rum) – what’s not to love? At one point we had a mini panic attack, realizing we never stopped to ask the server the price. As delicious as the rum buckets were, we didn’t want to have to dip into our life savings to afford them. Unity cost of living to the rescue; they turned out to be a mere $8. Luckily for our livers, UHOP didn’t offer a takeout version.

Perhaps influenced by the large amount of rum in our system, my friends and I ordered some stereotypical fried bar appetizers, none of which was noteworthy, and a pizza, which is what we all should have ordered because that’s what UHOP is named for. If you’re in the neighborhood – which you may find yourself soon if you plan to attend the Common Ground Country Fair – it’s worth ordering a pizza to absorb some of the rum from your bucket.

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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