One dollar jello shots and three dollar craft cans were on special to celebrate the first anniversary of Tomaso’s Canteen in Portland this past Saturday. But, it wasn’t the bargain pricing that I noticed, but rather the eclectic mix of beverages on the menu generating both a dive bar and more upscale neighborhood hangout feel all at the same time.
I was out shopping for Small Business Saturday, and only stopped in for a quick bite between local shopping destinations, so I didn’t get the full bar experience but was able to scope things out for future outings. It’s a cozy, narrow space with a long bar running the length of one side and a single row of table seating along the other.
The pub seems to have a black and white theme going with vintage pictures on the walls. The cinder blocks behind the bar are painted black but the overall feel is light and welcoming with lighter wood accents, backless black topped silver stools, and a colorful mix of alcohol bottles lining the shelves. A row of blackboards border the top of the bar area, and list the various food and drink specials available.
I grabbed a seat on the table side. Long benches line the white cinder blocks on this section of the bar. Small silver tables and chairs finish off the dining area. The waitress was friendly and attentive quickly bringing me a menu and keeping my seltzer filled which always makes me happy.
When my burger arrived, she was prepared dropping a stack of extra napkins on the table which came in extremely handy. My bacon burger was juicy and delicious but quite messy and difficult to eat as the bun became unstable once the liquid of the burger hit. Fortunately, I had napkins at the ready.
I was there around 3:30 in the afternoon and while I had no trouble getting a seat when I arrived, the bar quickly became busier and a decent wait was building by the time I finished. It’s a small space so it doesn’t take long to fill up. Since I was solo on this trip, I didn’t linger and my table was rapidly snagged as soon as vacated.
They advertise NFL Sundays and this looks like it would be a great spot to catch a football game. They had four televisions throughout so it was easy enough to see what was playing from any vantage point. Although the sound was off during my visit, with music playing in the background, I’m sure that would be different during game time.
My bacon burger, fries and seltzer came to just under $17 which was a little pricey although not unreasonable for this type of destination. If you really want a burger, I’d recommend checking out their Hamburger Humpday special on Wednesdays, from 5 pm to close, where you can get a burger, fries and any can of beer (including craft cans) for just $10. Sounds like a good deal to me!
They also had some fun, creative food options, not that you would know from my burger selection. It’s worth checking out their menu to get a better feel for their food. While my visit was low-key, I will come back another time to try some of their drink specials and a few of their other food offerings, although I think my days of jello shots are done. But, you never know.
|things to know|
|Address||18 Hampshire Street
Portland, Maine 04101