What it is: The Thirsty Pig is an Old Port establishment whose draft lines are among the most coveted by local breweries. The selective offerings are well-respected within the community and by the tourists who frequent Exchange Street; the draft list is a veritable canon and catalog of great Maine beer. Despite its proximity to the coast, the menu focuses not on seafood (there is enough of that nearby) but on various handmade sausages and hot dogs. There are two outdoor seating areas as well as indoor seating, with a stage for live performances.
Why it’s great: The hashtag #SausageByTheSea is not what one might expect from a beer bar, but both food and beer are principal to The Thirsty Pig. Owner Allison Stevens is a prominent figure on Maine’s food-and-beverage scene, having been a pioneer of Portland Beer Week, hosted by the Maine Brewers Guild. As a result, the draft list essentially has charted the growth of beer in the region, and cracking the list is a rite of passage for new breweries. Fun fact: Both Peter and Noah Bissell of Bissell Brothers Brewing were servers at The Thirsty Pig—and they had their launch party there.
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m, Monday–Thursday; 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m, Friday–Saturday; 12 p.m.–6 p.m., Sunday
Address: 37 Exchange St., Portland, Maine