If you live in Portland and are sick and tired of the Old Port, chances are, you’ve been to Thompson’s Point already. Hell, you’ve probably already done the Thompson’s Point bar crawl and not even known it. But I’m not going to lie, I really love Thompson’s Point. In its incarnation right now, it has some really cool elements that downtown Portland just doesn’t. Yes, there’s not as much that you can do there, and everything closes ridiculously early, but these are all things that they are working on. Personal opinion: this bar crawl is best suited for lazy weekend days, especially with warm weather, but I did complete it during winter with the yurt as an added bonus, so the sky is really the limit. Here’s how to complete the Thompson’s Point Bar Crawl.
Stop 1: Bissell Brothers, Beer
On any good bar crawl, it’s imperative that you plan accordingly. If you want to last and not hate yourself the next day, don’t start with hard liquor. Just don’t do it. I don’t care if you’re someone who has just turned 21 and still has their youth, starting with hard alcohol is just asking for a bad time. With that in mind, we start at Bissell Brothers, for beer. If the lines are long (which they will be, I can almost guarantee it) I would recommend ordering a few of the 2 oz pours to take back to your table. Reading this blog, it may become apparent that beer isn’t always my thing. I like it, but it needs to be lighter, not too hoppy, and usually not an IPA.
Surprise surprise, my favorite Bissell Brothers beer is the Substance. Yes, it is an IPA, but it doesn’t feel nearly as heavy, and it’s quite drinkable. I’m also a fan of the Baby Genius, and the Seed, which is only available once a year. Strawberry beer sounds odd, yes, but it’s got a nice sour taste that is complimented by the hops. Point being, get beer at Bissell Brothers and your bar crawl will be off to a great start.
Stop 2: Big J’s Chicken Shack, Fried Chicken
If you’re doing a bar crawl right, you really shouldn’t be drinking on an empty stomach. Sorry, we’re not in college anymore, and I like to be able to enjoy my nights out now! So after you’ve had a few drinks at Bissell, this is the point where you stop at Big J’s and you order some fried chicken, or some kind of food. I think we already know how I feel about Big J’s, because it’s great, but this is going to be what you need so you can build on your bar crawl. If you’re a bit of a delicate eater, like myself, I recommend being a little bit careful about what you’re ordering. The Tijuana sweet corn is absolutely fantastic, and it honestly might be the best thing on the whole menu. However. If you’re drinking heavily, things like the corn and the mac n cheese (also heavenly) may not sit so well in your stomach with copious amounts of booze. Safe bets: sandwiches and fried chicken. You can’t go wrong!
Stop 3: The Cellardoor Winery, Wine
When you make it to Cellardoor Winery, you’ll definitely be in a few deep, but now it’s wine time. Which means it’s time to be classy, of course. At Cellardoor, there are two ways to drink the wine. The first is by doing a tasting of four wines for $8. The second is the ability to order full glasses of wine by the glass for $8. I will admit, every time I’ve been to the Cellardoor Winery, I’ve always done the tasting of 4 wines.
The wines are served to you from lightest to heaviest, though when it comes to wine, I’m strictly a white wine drinker. But the thing that brings me back every time is not just the wine, but the atmosphere. Each wine is explained in detail, and you’re given plenty of time to sample your wine choices, so you never feel rushed. Someday, I’m going to have a reason to rent out their private room, because it is stunning. If you come on a Sunday, Cellardoor works with local vendors to create wine and food pairings, which seems like a great excuse to come and daydrink on a Sunday to me.
Stop 4: Stroudwater Distillery, Cocktails
By the last stop on the Thompson’s Point bar crawl, you’ll be in your happy place, and Stroudwater Distillery will make sure you’re elevated even higher. If cocktails are your thing, Stroudwater is your place! Featuring cocktails created with vodka, gin, whiskey, and bourbon, there really is something for everyone. I also recommend trying the flights if you enjoy liquor that’s crisp, clean, and distilled to perfection. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable, and will make sure you order something that fits your personal tastes. And if you get lucky, Stroudwater Distillery has karaoke once a month on Fridays, which is always a good excuse to throw back a few cocktails and have a good time.
The Thompson’s Point bar crawl is short but sweet, and will be increasingly more fun as the weather gets warmer. There are usually a few food trucks hanging around Thompson’s Point during the summer, so there’s always tasty things to try if you have a hankering for something that Big J’s doesn’t serve.