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How to make a great bar: Take one part devoted clientele, one part friendly bartender, and one part comfortable, cool-looking digs. Shake well. Add liberal dash of local flavor. Pour into glass; garnish with good food, good music. Enjoy.
We’ve narrowed down eastern Maine’s pubs, taverns, bars and lounges to a select seven. The best of the best — where you don’t even necessarily have to have a drink in your hand to have fun, because it’s such a great place to hang out.
Where: Passports Pub, Pentagoet Inn, Castine
What’ll it be? The Ambassador, a cocktail that combines Bombay Sapphire gin, ginger lemonade, lime juice and mint garnish
What’s so special about it? Passports Pub bar staff Emily Slocum developed this tasty summer drink, combining the oh-so-British libation of gin with spicy homemade ginger lemonade. Think of it as a nod to both Castine’s Colonial heritage and to the Victorian-era Explorer’s Club aesthetic in the pub
Why you’ll be having another: Stepping into this cozy bar makes you feel like some intrepid adventurer, fresh off a jaunt through the Great Rift Valley, or the wilds of Borneo. You’re surrounded by loads of travel memorabilia, amassed by owners Jack Burke and Julie van de Graaf during their journeys around the globe. Queen Victoria presides over one corner, while a three-foot oil painting of Vladimir Lenin looks on as you quaff your cocktail, sitting in the Malaysian rattan chairs. Who knew that a bar straight out of Indiana Jones was in Castine, Maine?