Located in Sanford’s Midtown Mall behind Family Dollar, Mill Towne Tavern is the kind of place where, as soon as you walk in, you know you’re going to have a positive experience.

The spacious interior has something for everyone – there are six pool tables, numerous widescreen TVs, a jukebox, a dance area, several games such as giant Jenga and cornhole, a fun retro-style candy dispenser and a variety of seating options. The seats at the bar (which I was delighted to see had purse hooks underneath) didn’t have backs, so my friends and I settled in at a nearby table.

I don’t necessarily expect to find a cocktail menu at a casual hangout kind of bar, but Mill Towne Tavern had one, and – in a surprise twist – it had a bit of a tiki vibe. The 11 specialty cocktails were all either $8 or $10 with the exception of the $12 Mill Towne Punch Bucket, described as “Rum, rum, and more rum with our special blend of juices, poured into a 32oz bucket, topped with fruit…and more rum!” Obviously, I had to order this. It did not disappoint.

There’s a whole lot of rum in the Mill Towne Punch Bucket. Photo by Angie Bryan

In addition to the punch bucket (which, did I mention, contained rum?), my friends and I ordered the $10 Hawaiian Long Island (vodka, rum, tequila, gin, blue curacao, cream of coconut and pineapple juice), the $8 Spiked Tea (Carolina sweet tea vodka and lemonade), and the $10 Sex in the Driveway (Tito’s Handmade vodka, peach schnapps, blue curacao and Sprite), because who has time to drive all the way to the beach when you’re in the mood?

We enjoyed all the drinks, but the unexpected favorite was the Spiked Tea. I thought I was pretty well-versed in vodka flavors, but I had never heard of sweet tea vodka before. That’s definitely going on my next liquor store order.  I don’t even like tea, but that combo was phenomenal.

Hawaiian Long Island, Spiked Tea and Sex in the Driveway from Mill Towne Tavern’s specialty cocktail menu. Photo by Qamar Cowger

The vibe at Mill Towne Tavern is super relaxed, and not just because I had consumed an entire bucket of rum. The food, which was served in generous portions, came out on paper plates (but with real utensils) and is ordered at the counter. That said, when the bartender noticed that I was on crutches, she came over to our table to take care of my order. She appeared to be the only person serving that night, but it didn’t affect her efficiency at all.  Our drinks were ready almost immediately, our food came out really quickly, and she was friendly and chatty with everyone – a real pleasure to interact with.

Mill Towne Tavern prides itself on its pizza, but also has wings, poutine, salads, pastas, burgers (including a peanut butter bacon burger) and sandwiches. One of my friends ordered the wings, which managed to be nice and crispy without being greasy. I got the individual-sized Buffalo Mac N Cheese pizza (you can also get a large pizza for multiple people), with Buffalo sauce, mac and cheese, and Buffalo popcorn chicken. The only thing it disappointed was my cardiologist.

Pool tables offer one of several activities at Mill Towne Tavern. Photo by Qamar Cowger

The bar hosts a variety of special events and activities throughout the week, such as trivia nights (Tuesdays at 7 p.m.), cornhole and pool tournaments, karaoke and live music. The night we were there, several members of local pool leagues were arriving for a tournament, custom cue stick cases in hand.

I don’t often end up in Sanford, but the next time I do, I’d gladly return to Mill Towne Tavern. If I lived anywhere near Sanford, I’d be there all the time.

Retired diplomat Angie Bryan writes about Maine’s cocktail bars while making as many puns as her editor allows.

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