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Maine’s Public House Tradition

Nowadays, the word “pub”—short for “public house”—is for all intents and purposes synonymous with tavern or bar. The original pubs of Britain were the cornerstones of their communities, a place for people to convene, discuss and build community, prompting 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys to describe them as “The heart of England.” Here in Maine, we still try and keep the true public house spirit alive.

Pubs in Maine and elsewhere are often earmarked by their traditional English ales and distinctive wood décor. Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company in Portland’s historic Old Port has been at the forefront of Maine’s craft beer renaissance, brewing authentic English ales for decades. Over in Saco, at The Run of the Mill Pub visitors enjoy pub-style food and the 30 varieties of ales and lagers brewed throughout the year. Airline Brewing Co.’s Ellsworth location is an English-style pub in a renovated historic building. You might think you are in merry old England and not New England.

Maine’s pubs may be part of a centuries-old tradition, but we’re not afraid to innovate. Many brew their own signature beers, or, like McKay’s Public House in Bar Harbor, pride themselves on menus full of fresh, local and organic ingredients. The Newcastle Publick House has been certified and Environmental Leader by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. And Gritty McDuff’s prides itself on building community both within and outside their doors, hosting Community Pint Night fundraisers for community groups and non-profits.

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