The Great Lost Bear

The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear
The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear
Bar, Eatery

540 Forest Ave
Portland, Maine, 04101-1507
United States

(207) 772-0300 | map

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4.55 by A_Rad from Wisconsin on Aug 09, 2019
4.01 by Rifugium from North Dakota on Jun 14, 2019
4.44 by stonytokes from Maine on Feb 11, 2019
4.43 by ManBearPat from Colorado on Nov 21, 2018
Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25
by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

Visited here from Boston for the first time last week.
Awesome beer-centric atmosphere and decorations, further evidenced by their huge and heavily local-based taplist.
Bartender was very knowledgeable and happy to share a few samples and chat about beer when time provided. I admired his duty and affinity for and towards his customers.
Food was good. I had the hot chicken sandwich. Not a fan of the sliced mini-potato "fries", but that could just be me.
Overall, an awesome visit to a place that was on my list to hit when I visited Portland. Will definitely hit here again.

Jul 09, 2018
4.46 by littlestevie14 from Massachusetts on Jul 06, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25
by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

Somewhat of a place where it all started for me. Some may have called it my "descent," but I called it the place where I took my "red pill" to delve further into the world of beer. Everything I've been in there, always a clean bar. Parking may be crappy, but food was always good to fantastic. Service can be iffy at certain times of the day. Close to 70 taps of beer - mostly New England breweries, but Dogfish Head, Victory, Ommegang, Flying Dog were some of the other breweries that showed their faces for beers to be found there. It's just down the street from RSVP and further back from Bier Cellar. It's worth a stop if you're in the area.

Jun 26, 2017
4.73 by khoff5 from Connecticut on May 16, 2017
4.5 by StoutLover14 from Illinois on Dec 12, 2016
4.2 by dwoolley1 from New York on Oct 28, 2016
4.03 by Gkruszewski from New York on Sep 18, 2016
Photo of mynie
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
by mynie from Maryland

A big, homey restaurant with a great deal of character. If you're not looking directly at the bar or a beer menu, it would be easy to think this was just a large, New England-style family restaurant.

The decor is woody and softly lit, with a good amount of beer swag and some kitchy/rustic bear-related decorations. It felt like the last major renovation happened sometime between the early 1960s and mid 1980s. This, to me, is a good thing, as it goes against the pretentious, prefab homogeneity of seemingly every beer bar that's been opened this decade (you notice how EVERY place looks like an ikea set piece?)

The staff is large is attentive. Meaning, there's lot of staff members (they weren't particularly big). Again, I like this. Restaurants have been cutting down on staff nationwide in an attempt to cut costs, and that leads to crappy dining experience. GLB don't mess with that.

The beer selection was fantastic. Second best in the city, after Novare Res. They have a heavier focus on American beers than Res, however, meaning they're more likely to get in rare stuff from US brewers, wheras Res gets in Cantillion and whatfor. The Bear also does semi-tap takeovers every Thursday, which they call "Microbrew" showcases.

Their website beer list is updated pretty regularly, but it's not perfect. Printed lists are done up daily.

Overall, a venerable institution that's basically a must-stop if you're in Portland.

Aug 28, 2016
4.38 by grahuba from Connecticut on Jul 28, 2016
4.34 by gr8fulbeerhead from California on Jul 23, 2016
4.06 by 7irondave from Massachusetts on Jul 15, 2016
4.49 by CayseyW from Connecticut on Jul 01, 2016
Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
by Sound_Explorer from Washington

my first stop on a sweeping New England tour this really hit the spot after a long travel day. Cool to see all the Maine offerings and some national brands. Good vibe and food too. Really set the bar nicely for my trip.

May 25, 2016
4.39 by HeartofMiami from Florida on May 22, 2016
Photo of Oldportwine
4.43/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5
by Oldportwine from Maine

One of the original Portland Beer Bars. Extensive selection of craft beers, number aprox. 80 on tap. Proffessional and knowledgable staff in a very busy environment. A seemingly endless food menu covers all realms of bar food. Always a good spot to find new craft beers.

May 12, 2016
Photo of SandyMeats
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
by SandyMeats from Maine

Love this place. My favorite vibe in town. Colorful, neighborhood and non of the pretense of some other big beer spots. Still attracts tourists and people from all over without getting watered down. Selection is just crazy and changes. Wings are the best in town. I've had a bunch of the menu and would go for a slab and crab or a one eye bacon cheeseburger right now. Place has been around for about 35 years and I hope it's around for another 35.

May 12, 2016
Photo of Usaexercise7
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
by Usaexercise7 from Maine

Tons of beer! Been here many many times. Stuart is an awesome waiter!

May 12, 2016
4.38 by NYR-Zuuuuc from Connecticut on Apr 11, 2016
Photo of scxcrunner
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
by scxcrunner from Massachusetts

Great selection of beer including Allagash, Bissell, and Foundation. Service was a bit slow and disjointed and i wasn't really crazy about the food i had but would give it another shot just for the tap list.

Jan 24, 2016
4.21 by SpAiReArGsEonNE from New Jersey on Dec 16, 2015
Photo of BillRoth
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
by BillRoth from Maryland

Had been touring and tasting @ the Allagash/Industrial park breweries while on Beer Safari in Portland , Maine. Some locals said that I would probably like The Great Lost Bear if looking for supper and some more regional beers. Who was I to doubt?? And very glad I didn't. What a great place. Really cool fairly spacious semi-dark comfortable crowded restaurant with a huge big fun bar. Full bar with wine and cocktails moving regularly with a busy wait staff on a busy Saturday night. But this place was clearly beer centric with an excellent beer menu. Well constructed to guide choices by style, good descriptions...but mostly a heck of an exciting tease. Because the choices were extensive, varied and high quality. Flights were available. Staff were very friendly and cross covered each other to be sure you never lacked help or had an empty glass. Food wise menu was equally extensive with great choices ranging from a broad restaurant menu of appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, just great bar food. .Just a great place to eat. drink and have a bunch of conversations with staff (Mike) and others (Elena) at the bar. For me this would be a must stop if visiting Portland.

Nov 15, 2015
4.38 by DrStiffington from New Jersey on Nov 08, 2015
4.16 by JaredSammy from New York on Sep 17, 2015
Photo of hoppymcgee
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75
by hoppymcgee from Maine

V: Cool spot; dark and dim. Horseshoe-esque bar.

Q: Excellent beers on tap. Lengthy food options.

S: Not so great.

S: Can't beat their bear (haha) and food selection.

F: Standard.

Sep 03, 2015
4.48 by snansel from Missouri on Aug 04, 2015
4.48 by rjp217 from Massachusetts on Jul 01, 2015
4 by MRVermont from New Hampshire on Jun 07, 2015
3.96 by ChrisinRI from Rhode Island on May 12, 2015
4.11 by psweendogg from Connecticut on May 11, 2015
Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
by Faxmesomehalibut from New Hampshire

Nice bar, nice beer selection with awesome ME offerings, solid food options and a great vibe.

Apr 22, 2015
3.98 by SveNss0N from Massachusetts on Apr 15, 2015
Photo of OJT1993
5/5  rDev +17.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
by OJT1993 from Maine

Great food, great beer selection, all around a great place

Feb 03, 2015
Photo of Wickedasitseems
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5
by Wickedasitseems from Maine

Great place to hang out and have a beer....good food too!!

Jan 22, 2015
4.29 by slasich from Pennsylvania on Jan 11, 2015
3.95 by josephwcarr from Pennsylvania on Dec 27, 2014
4.25 by Rekrule from Massachusetts on Dec 07, 2014
The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME
Place rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 192 ratings