Portland, MAINE Meetup on July 14 (Bastille Day), 6:00PM (with Lambert)

The headline says it all!

I’m having the meetup way down in the Boston suburbs in Portland, because I think that Bangor’s relative isolation, while excellent in many ways, means that many fewer NC readers could attend if I held the meeting up here.

And I figure 6:00PM is time enough to drive to downtown Portland after work. (I’m assuming that parking in Portland is not an issue.) It’s also after Happy Hour.

Readers who will attend: I need help picking a venue! I did a little research on the internet, and here are a few places, but a recommendation from a local would be best, I think. The requirement, besides good drink and food, is that we be able to talk. So sports bars are out, very narrow rooms are out, and so on…

I looked at a few craft beer places, because apparently Portland, ME has a national reputation for beer:

1) Maybe: Novare Res Bier Café, 4 Canal Plaza, Suite 1, Portland, ME.

2) Or maybe: Liquid Riot, 250 Commercial St, Portland, ME

3) Or maybe: The King’s Head, 254 Commercial St, Portland, ME. (This is the Pierce Atwood building, the law firm that brought us the landfill! So the name is appropriate…)

So please confirm one of these, or suggest alternatives! And if you will attend, please say so in comments!

NOTE Perhaps the venue should have a French theme?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ernie

    I’m not local to Portland, so cannot help with venue advice, but I’m already planning to drive down from my mid-coast Maine location to join in the fun.

  2. Code Name D

    I have to ask how many NCers do we have in the central Mid-West. Maybe we could sweeten the deal with some funnel cake?

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Don’t fret – I’m not sure how many of us out here in flyover would click on this link. Also, “the central Mid-West” means different things to different people. Funnel cake?

  3. oaf

    Yes, its a nice restaurant in the Old Port; (convenient to many pubs and shops) Very good Japanese cuisine last I was there. Sushi, Hibachi, and *normal* menus for those that prefer. They have room for groups, if time hasn’t changed things too much. And a good beer menu as well!
    Sorry; don’t know the phone right off. Might be possible to reserve space for a group.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You won’t be banned for posting links, at least in the general case. We encourage links (although sometimes Skynet gets upset, like if there are more than three).

      I’m not sure about a restaurant though; I hadn’t pictured people sitting down to a meal (as opposed to bar food).

  4. Peter FitzSimons

    From its motto or name the Novare Res seems appropriate but I’ve never been there.
    Novare Res means “to start a revolution” in Latin, and was chosen after repeated discussions with people of all walks of life who have felt the need for a revolution in some form or another. We all wanted a place where people could commune and conceive of a better future, with passion and determination…

  5. Bunk McNulty

    Boston suburbs. Hahaha. I’ve got a gig that night in Hartford, CT, so no-show for Bunk. If I were you, I’d go to J’s. More laid back, not to mention easier on the wallet.

  6. Joe Medley

    Portland’s bars and restaurants are extremely busy this time of year on Friday afternoons and evenings. Novare Res and Liquid Riot especially so.

    An early reservation at Local 188 might work better if the group is 8-12.

    Lazzari’s is new enough so that they might accommodate a larger party as well.

    A smaller group could fit into Boda, LFK or El Corazon. These last 3 are around Longfellow Square on Congress St. Terlingua and the East Ender are on the east end of the peninsula. Lolita’s and Blue Spoon are at the top of Munjoy Hill, probably most scenic for those from out of town (and easiest free parking).

    All of the above are mid-range or lower in cost and have good to excellent bars.

  7. WobblyTelomeres

    Hmmm. Just to provoke a bit, I just hit priceline for a roundtrip ticket from Portland to Atlanta and back again. $345-$363. An overnight hotel in the area is still around $100. Given that several thousand was raised by the recent fund raiser, surely Yves or Lambert could find a way to make a weekend trip to Atlanta to meet their Southeastern fan base…

    Just saying.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Might be do-able. We’ll have to see. I’m going north, not south (more dates to be announced…)

      (Incidentally, I live in Bangor, so it’s a two hour trip to Portland, and a four hour trip to Boston.)

      Were one to visit the south, is Atlanta the ideal spot?

  8. Larry

    I’m not a local, but I suspect being a bit further out will suit you nicely. It seems lame, but a hotel near the airport or Maine Mall might meet your requirements for gathering because I agree with an earlier poster’s comment that downtown will be absolutely hopping on a Friday night in the summer.

    If you want to sample some of that famous Maine beer, the Bissell Brothers taproom is open until 8pm and is relatively spacious. Not sure how busy it is at the meet up time:


    Wish I could join, but as I’m south of Boston and working that day, there is no way I’d be in Portland in time. Pity as I’ll be the city the following week on vacation, I obviously picked the wrong week for a vacation.

      1. John the Revelator

        I think almost anywhere is going to be crowded and potentially quite noisy on a summer Friday night. Bissell Bros. has great beer but it is also the trendiest, most destination, of the Maine breweries. Perhaps for some future event you might consider Marshall Wharf/Three Tides in Belfast?

  9. Luke Labbe

    Liquid Riot makes its own beer and won an award for its chicken skin sliders. Its the most authentic place but the others are decent choices. If you needed more privacy I believe Grace has a private function room…This is a renovated church downtown and has a great bar too. Enjoy Portland!

  10. John B

    I’m about 45min away and will try to attend if free by then. An engineer not an economist but a daily reader. Do not know the venues.

  11. Dan

    Great lost bear has a terrific beer list and could probably accommodate you.

    One bit of trivia. If i recall correctly for a while it had al diamon’s stamp of approval. That was before he went native.

    Won’t be making the trip from Stonington but will raise a glass in sympathy.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    Seems like Great Lost Bear isn’t downtown, either.

    Al Diamon:

    Rep. John Baldacci: “If you gave him a poll that said walking down Main Street wearing nothing but a feather boa would be politically savvy, he’d do it. ”


    A native Mainer who divides his time between Portland and Carrabassett Valley, Diamon sees his column as humor first, politics second. “I’m not trying to change the world or anything so preposterous,” Diamon said last week over a beer at his favorite Portland haunt, Gritty McDuff’s.

    Dunno about Gritty McDuff’s. Reviews seem pretty uneven; perhaps its best days are behind it. It’s also downtown.

    1. Dan

      No. Great lost bear is not downtown. It’s less touristy/trendy. But they have a great selection. I remember it fondly; I had my first Old Thumper there. I didn’t know you needed an Old Port locale.

      Not sure about Gritty’s or if Al Diamon goes there anymore (or if he drinks anymore). When I was drinking with him it was long ago around the time Dodge Morgan was giving out some of his small fortune actually paying journalists to be pains in the ass. This was before the great unpleasantness at his papers. And way before the Internet. It was a fun era. We thought the banking collapse of the 80s was a bad one. Little did we know.

      Hope you all have a great time wherever you meet up.

    1. johnnygl

      Are there likely to be any other meet-ups close to boston this summer? I’ve got a bunch of things going on that make this time/date/location a tough combo.

      Really wish i could be there, though.

  13. Jennie

    Ah me, I had been hoping for a Bangor-area meetup. I have two small ones, so I will have to wait for another opportunity to meet all you fine folk!

  14. D. Battabong

    I don’t know whether to be flattered or flummoxed by your Bastille Day theme. At some point you really should come to Toulouse (par exemple) for a July 14th meetup. Enjoy the fireworks and general ambience, before retiring to a café for the serious stuff. Anyhow, I’d be there. And it’d be the real deal.

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