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Updating Portland's Cocktail Heatmap, October 2014

Ten answers to the question, "Where should I go for cocktails in Portland right now?"

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These places are taking Portland's cocktail scene to the next level, with new ideas, creative takes on classic drinks, freshly squeezed/pressed/pureed ingredients, and/or house-made syrups. The drinks are made with extreme attention to detail, shaken and stirred by knowledgeable bartenders. Here is the Portland Cocktail Heatmap, with the 10 hottest places in town to grab a drink. The list is in no particular order.

Did we miss your favorite cocktail spot in Portland? Let us know in the comments or email the tipline. The anonymous tip form is also there for all forms of correspondence.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Outliers Eatery

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231 York Street
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 747-4166
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In a superbly renovated West End space that used to house a notorious dive bar, Outliers pays tribute to Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson both on the menu and in the men's room. Like HST, Outliers takes its booze seriously.

2. The Bearded Lady's Jewel Box

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644 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 747-5384
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Wandering cocktail wizard Nathaniel Meiklejohn successfully Kickstarted his hip new bar, The Bearded Lady's Jewel Box. Supporters knew what to expect from his many private events over the years: House-made bitters in delicious drinks. The unique vibe is a cross between a hippie love fest and an exclusive speakeasy, unlike anything else in town. [Photo: Corey Templeton]

3. In'finiti Fermentation & Distillation

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250 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 221-8889
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In'finiti is pouring its own clear spirits with some aged versions coming soon, produced in the beautiful copper column still that can't be missed upon entering. This further elevates its excellent cocktail menu, which already uses house syrups, fresh ingredients, and perfect ice cubes.

4. Central Provisions

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414 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 805-1085
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Chris and Paige Gould's Central Provisions has made a serious name for itself as a well-rounded food and drink spot. The cocktails help. Bar manager Patrick McDonald puts his own spin on classics, features inventive specials, and even offers thoughtful "temperance drinks" for those who want an exciting drink with none of the exciting alcohol.

5. Sonny's

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83 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 772-7774
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With its elaborate, always-evolving cocktail menu featuring a wide variety of house-infused liquors, freshly squeezed juices, and innovative syrups, it's easy to see why the bar at Sonny's is often SRO on weekend nights. [Photo: Ted Axelrod]

6. Top of The East Rooftop Lounge

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157 High St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-5411
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Touted as Portland's only rooftop bar, the Westin Portland Harborview's remodeled lounge offers incomparable views of the city and a dress code of "Casual Sophistication." Order a classic to go with your sightseeing or select a twist from the craft cocktail menu, like a Cucumber Collins with Hendrick’s gin, freshly muddled cucumber, club soda, and lime.

7. The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club

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75 Market Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 747-4754
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This craft cocktail bar from Andrew and Briana Volk, with an all-star cast of bartenders, quickly became a go-to spot for meticulously made drinks. The recently pared down menu features classics (with the date and place of origin), clever "house" cocktails, and a daily $6 punch, and the capable staff can also whip up any number of off-menu concoctions.

8. Slab Sicilian Street Food

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25 Preble Street Extension
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 245-3088
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If Slab served nothing but dirty water, fans would just enjoy the pizza and go thirsty. But satisfied customers are buzzing about the focused cocktail menu, which is anything but cursory. Carrying with the Sicilian theme, the list features such apropos offerings as "Confession": Grappa, Aperol, Luxardo Maraschino, and bubbles.

9. Grace

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15 Chestnut St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 828-4422
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The stunning restaurant used to be a church, and its cheeky drink menu pays homage to the holy history. For instance, there are the Seven Deadly Sins, including Pride: Tito’s Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime, and rosemary lime cranberry simple syrup. If the ground-level seats are full, look toward the heavens to find a second bar.

10. Eventide Oyster Co.

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86 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-8538
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Recognized by national and international publications for its food, Eventide's cocktails can't be overlooked. The menu is fun, the drinks original and delicious. Take the Dirty Dirty Martini, which earns its double adjective with the addition of oyster brine and hot sauce. [Photo: Ted Axelrod]

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1. Outliers Eatery

231 York Street, Portland, ME 04102
In a superbly renovated West End space that used to house a notorious dive bar, Outliers pays tribute to Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson both on the menu and in the men's room. Like HST, Outliers takes its booze seriously.
231 York Street
Portland, ME 04102

2. The Bearded Lady's Jewel Box

644 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
Wandering cocktail wizard Nathaniel Meiklejohn successfully Kickstarted his hip new bar, The Bearded Lady's Jewel Box. Supporters knew what to expect from his many private events over the years: House-made bitters in delicious drinks. The unique vibe is a cross between a hippie love fest and an exclusive speakeasy, unlike anything else in town. [Photo: Corey Templeton]
644 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

3. In'finiti Fermentation & Distillation

250 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
In'finiti is pouring its own clear spirits with some aged versions coming soon, produced in the beautiful copper column still that can't be missed upon entering. This further elevates its excellent cocktail menu, which already uses house syrups, fresh ingredients, and perfect ice cubes.
250 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

4. Central Provisions

414 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
Chris and Paige Gould's Central Provisions has made a serious name for itself as a well-rounded food and drink spot. The cocktails help. Bar manager Patrick McDonald puts his own spin on classics, features inventive specials, and even offers thoughtful "temperance drinks" for those who want an exciting drink with none of the exciting alcohol.
414 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

5. Sonny's

83 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101
With its elaborate, always-evolving cocktail menu featuring a wide variety of house-infused liquors, freshly squeezed juices, and innovative syrups, it's easy to see why the bar at Sonny's is often SRO on weekend nights. [Photo: Ted Axelrod]
83 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101

6. Top of The East Rooftop Lounge

157 High St, Portland, ME 04101
Touted as Portland's only rooftop bar, the Westin Portland Harborview's remodeled lounge offers incomparable views of the city and a dress code of "Casual Sophistication." Order a classic to go with your sightseeing or select a twist from the craft cocktail menu, like a Cucumber Collins with Hendrick’s gin, freshly muddled cucumber, club soda, and lime.
157 High St
Portland, ME 04101

7. The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club

75 Market Street, Portland, ME 04101
This craft cocktail bar from Andrew and Briana Volk, with an all-star cast of bartenders, quickly became a go-to spot for meticulously made drinks. The recently pared down menu features classics (with the date and place of origin), clever "house" cocktails, and a daily $6 punch, and the capable staff can also whip up any number of off-menu concoctions.
75 Market Street
Portland, ME 04101

8. Slab Sicilian Street Food

25 Preble Street Extension, Portland, ME 04101
If Slab served nothing but dirty water, fans would just enjoy the pizza and go thirsty. But satisfied customers are buzzing about the focused cocktail menu, which is anything but cursory. Carrying with the Sicilian theme, the list features such apropos offerings as "Confession": Grappa, Aperol, Luxardo Maraschino, and bubbles.
25 Preble Street Extension
Portland, ME 04101

9. Grace

15 Chestnut St, Portland, ME 04101
The stunning restaurant used to be a church, and its cheeky drink menu pays homage to the holy history. For instance, there are the Seven Deadly Sins, including Pride: Tito’s Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime, and rosemary lime cranberry simple syrup. If the ground-level seats are full, look toward the heavens to find a second bar.
15 Chestnut St
Portland, ME 04101

10. Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Recognized by national and international publications for its food, Eventide's cocktails can't be overlooked. The menu is fun, the drinks original and delicious. Take the Dirty Dirty Martini, which earns its double adjective with the addition of oyster brine and hot sauce. [Photo: Ted Axelrod]
86 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101