The Great Lost Bear

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

109 Reviews
The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(207) 772-0300 | map
www.greatlostbear.com

Notes:
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PLACE STATS
Score:
94
Reviews:
109
Ratings:
182
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
6.84%
 
 
Taps:
69
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 182
Reviews by Fishersold:
Photo of Fishersold
2.85/5  rDev -32.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

I want to really like this place. I live in Portland and I have tried on a number of occasions to make this place, "my place", but I can't get passed some basics that the GLB lack.

Most importantly is the selection. At a quick glance, this is the best selection in the state and possibly the region with 60 or so regional beers on tap. But I believe the GLB commits the greatest sin of bars with huge tap selections: not keeping fresh beer. I've had the Sebago Frye's Leap IPA hundreds of times, but I had it at the GLB and couldn't drink it. I even asked them to take it back because I figured it must have been the wrong beer, but they brought back the same gross smelling/tasting thing. This wasn't the first time I've received a beer that seemed "off". Now I'm too scared to try a beer I haven't had before because of the fear of hating a beer I possibly could love.

The atmosphere is kind of cool. It has the real deal version of what places like TGI Fridays go for with the "put any piece of junk up on the wall for decoration" thing. It's part charming, part dirty, which is ok. The food is fine, very fried, very cheesy.

Again, my main concern is the beer freshness. I take great pride in my state's brewing, and would hate for anyone to get the wrong impression by having one of those beers here. If you want to really taste a local brew, go to their own beer bar (Sebago Brewing Co, Gritty McDuff's, etc). Most have them, or try Novare Res.

 1,453 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of mynie
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,443 characters

Photo of grahuba
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of gr8fulbeerhead
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of 7irondave
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of CayseyW
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

 219 characters

Photo of HeartofMiami
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of Oldportwine
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

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.

 272 characters

Photo of SandyMeats
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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.

 449 characters

Photo of Usaexercise7
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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

70 characters

Photo of MarkSansone
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of scxcrunner
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

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.

 208 characters

Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of BillRoth
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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, etc..to 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.

 1,188 characters

Photo of DrStiffington
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of JaredSammy
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of blisscent
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

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.

 183 characters

Photo of snansel
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of rjp217
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of MRVermont
4/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Photo of ChrisinRI
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of psweendogg
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.24/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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

93 characters

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The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME
94 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.
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