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Where to Eat in Downtown Portland with a Big Group

For when those intimate two-top tables just won't do

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Everyone wants in on Portland's booming restaurant scene, including far-flung family members who drop in at the same time as the rest of the country. But while the city's cobblestones streets and historic brick buildings may be quaint, New England fishing villages are not known for palatial architecture.

Plenty of restaurants off Portland's peninsula have large dining rooms well-suited to groups. But for those looking to eat near the water where the action is, here are 12 restaurants that can accommodate large parties, often on short notice. Calling ahead is always a good idea. Note: map points are presented in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Black Cow Burgers

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83 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 772-7774
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Large parties looking to enjoy Black Cow's casual burger shack menu and memorable craft cocktails should request a table in the back room. The architecture of this former bank is sure to impress.

wooden counter with register in a restaurant Black Cow/FB

2. Bull Feeney's

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375 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 773-7210
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Visitors here Irish classics like Shepherd's Pie or bangers and colcannon with a pint of Guinness at this popular Old Port pub. While the bar fills up fast during Happy Hour and late night, the upstairs dining area offers plenty of room for large groups and even banquet functions.

3. Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

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396 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 772-2739
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Portland's original craft brewpub is a spacious Fore Street affair where the beer's made in-house, the menu is crowd-pleasing, and there are large, communal picnic tables.

4. Liquid Riot Bottling Company

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250 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 221-8889
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This brewery, distillery, and restaurant from the owners of Novare Res Bier Cafe makes its own spirits and beer, so the draft lines are fresh and the cocktails inventive. The recently renovated dining room now offers communal tables and couches. The menu consists of bar snacks and sandwiches, and the deck out back has tables that can seat about eight each.

5. Old Port Sea Grill

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93 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 879-6100
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This sizable Commercial Street fixture offers a variety of fresh seafood, perfect for out-of-town guests looking to get their fish fix. Insider tip: ask for the "lazy lobster," where the steamed lobster comes pre-picked with a side of butter. It provides the mandatory Maine lobster experience with none of the messiness or that silly bib.

6. Rivalries

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10 Cotton St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-6044
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Looking to watch the game with friends? Rivalries offers a standard sports bar menu (the Thai chili wings are standouts) and plenty of seating upstairs, including large booths. Multiple TVs ensure that everyone gets a good view of the game.

7. Salvage BBQ

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919 Congress St
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 553-2100
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Salvage BBQ is casual, and thus family-friendly, with vintage video games to entertain the kids and smoked meats and craft beer to satisfy the grown-ups. Communal picnic table seating and counter service mean that there won't be a long wait for seats or food, as is often the case when dining out with big groups.

8. Sebago Brewing Company

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211 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-2337
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This spacious brewpub on the first floor of the Hampton Inn offers a brew and a dish for everyone. The draft beers range from summer seasonal Simmer Down, a low alcohol hop crusher, to dark, roasty Lake Trout Stout, and the menu features a range of solid dishes from burgers to shrimp quinoa bowls.

9. Slab Sicilian Street Food

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25 Preble St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 245-3088
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Slab's patio is the perfect place to bring a traveling band of merrymakers to enjoy hearty Sicilian fare and a refreshing drink, with live music most summer nights. The interior has some big booths, too. While baker Stephen Lanzalotta is best known for his pillowy Sicilian "hand slab" pizza slice, thin crust pies are also a winner, and big enough for an entire group.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

10. Solo Italiano

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100 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 780-0227
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The latest business to occupy this sprawling restaurant space on Commercial Street, Solo Italiano offers high-end Italian cuisine. Well-sectioned dining spaces create an intimate vibe while still allowing for large groups. Don't miss the chef's award-winning pesto.

11. The King's Head

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254 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

At the quiet western stretch of downtown Commercial Street, the King's Head is frequently overlooked by tourists, but the bar's extensive selection of local and Belgian beers is garnering it a following with locals. There's plenty of seating in the bar's multiple dining rooms, as well as a menu of British pub classics.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

12. TIQA

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327 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

This Mediterranean newcomer is one of the largest restaurants to open in Portland, with nearly 300 seats in its multiple dining rooms. The menu's small plate starters like hummus, warm olives, and falafel are especially good for sharing with a group.

1. Black Cow Burgers

83 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101
wooden counter with register in a restaurant Black Cow/FB

Large parties looking to enjoy Black Cow's casual burger shack menu and memorable craft cocktails should request a table in the back room. The architecture of this former bank is sure to impress.

83 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101

2. Bull Feeney's

375 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

Visitors here Irish classics like Shepherd's Pie or bangers and colcannon with a pint of Guinness at this popular Old Port pub. While the bar fills up fast during Happy Hour and late night, the upstairs dining area offers plenty of room for large groups and even banquet functions.

375 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

3. Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

396 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

Portland's original craft brewpub is a spacious Fore Street affair where the beer's made in-house, the menu is crowd-pleasing, and there are large, communal picnic tables.

396 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

4. Liquid Riot Bottling Company

250 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

This brewery, distillery, and restaurant from the owners of Novare Res Bier Cafe makes its own spirits and beer, so the draft lines are fresh and the cocktails inventive. The recently renovated dining room now offers communal tables and couches. The menu consists of bar snacks and sandwiches, and the deck out back has tables that can seat about eight each.

250 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

5. Old Port Sea Grill

93 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

This sizable Commercial Street fixture offers a variety of fresh seafood, perfect for out-of-town guests looking to get their fish fix. Insider tip: ask for the "lazy lobster," where the steamed lobster comes pre-picked with a side of butter. It provides the mandatory Maine lobster experience with none of the messiness or that silly bib.

93 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

6. Rivalries

10 Cotton St, Portland, ME 04101

Looking to watch the game with friends? Rivalries offers a standard sports bar menu (the Thai chili wings are standouts) and plenty of seating upstairs, including large booths. Multiple TVs ensure that everyone gets a good view of the game.

10 Cotton St
Portland, ME 04101

7. Salvage BBQ

919 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Salvage BBQ is casual, and thus family-friendly, with vintage video games to entertain the kids and smoked meats and craft beer to satisfy the grown-ups. Communal picnic table seating and counter service mean that there won't be a long wait for seats or food, as is often the case when dining out with big groups.

919 Congress St
Portland, ME 04102

8. Sebago Brewing Company

211 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

This spacious brewpub on the first floor of the Hampton Inn offers a brew and a dish for everyone. The draft beers range from summer seasonal Simmer Down, a low alcohol hop crusher, to dark, roasty Lake Trout Stout, and the menu features a range of solid dishes from burgers to shrimp quinoa bowls.

211 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

9. Slab Sicilian Street Food

25 Preble St, Portland, ME 04101
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Slab's patio is the perfect place to bring a traveling band of merrymakers to enjoy hearty Sicilian fare and a refreshing drink, with live music most summer nights. The interior has some big booths, too. While baker Stephen Lanzalotta is best known for his pillowy Sicilian "hand slab" pizza slice, thin crust pies are also a winner, and big enough for an entire group.

25 Preble St
Portland, ME 04101

10. Solo Italiano

100 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

The latest business to occupy this sprawling restaurant space on Commercial Street, Solo Italiano offers high-end Italian cuisine. Well-sectioned dining spaces create an intimate vibe while still allowing for large groups. Don't miss the chef's award-winning pesto.

100 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

11. The King's Head

254 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

At the quiet western stretch of downtown Commercial Street, the King's Head is frequently overlooked by tourists, but the bar's extensive selection of local and Belgian beers is garnering it a following with locals. There's plenty of seating in the bar's multiple dining rooms, as well as a menu of British pub classics.

254 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

12. TIQA

327 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

This Mediterranean newcomer is one of the largest restaurants to open in Portland, with nearly 300 seats in its multiple dining rooms. The menu's small plate starters like hummus, warm olives, and falafel are especially good for sharing with a group.

327 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101