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The Great Lost Bear

Your Rating: None
The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear
188 Ratings
The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(207) 772-0300 | map

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Ratings: 188 |  Reviews: 110
Photo of OJT1993
5/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

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

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Photo of bnick44
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of mk_ultra
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of illpass78
5/5  rDev +17.6%

A must-go-to on the Maine beer trail. Dozens of Maine beers on tap. Great staff and tasty food, too.

100 characters

Photo of Usaexercise7
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
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!

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Photo of maccroz
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

What can you say about the Great Lost Bear that isn't wonderful? From the cool Greatful Dead bear bumper stickers "Support your right to arm bears", to the 50+ beers on tap, to those french fries that are to die for - this place rocks.

Only a miserable, cold, dreary environment like Portland, ME could create such a warm hospitable environment. It's by far my favorite place to grab a beer anywhere in the world. I recommend trying the 5 beer sampler as you'll most certainly want to try everything. Great Lost Bear does a good job of picking out the best beers out of the hundreds of micro brews in the New England area.

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Photo of CapnStuBing
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I was highly impressed with the Great Lost Bear. I headed up there from Salem, MA for the Dogfish Head Life & Limb party. Was a bit disappointed in that they'd run out of that and Limb & Life by the time the party was supposed to begin. That's where my disappointment ended though! I'd gotten very excited upon reading reviews by other BA members and this place lived up to my expectations. The beer selection was incredible and I was very happy to have the chance to try some brews that I'd not had before, especially on tap. The beer prices were very reasonable, especially compared to what's charged in the greater Boston area.

I was equally impressed with the food. There was a great selection to choose from. I went with the Almighty Cheesus (especially after reading what others had to say about it). That as well lived up to, if not exceeding my expectations! I certainly couldn't eat them too frequently, but the usage of grilled cheese sandwiches in place of a bun is genius! I wasn't disappointed by the service that some others seemed to be. There were a few times where we waited a bit for Shane to return, but given the crowd there, it wasn't unreasonable.

I wholeheartedly recommend you visit The Great Lost Bear. I certainly will be making return trips up there.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

THE beer mecca of Portland. A wonderful atmosphere with a few cavernous dining room areas and a long L-shaped bar. Breweriana is all over the walls, lending a local flare to this place that simple can't be beat by ANY of the other local establishments. Wow, is this place cool looking inside. Damn! The quality of the beers is spot on and the prices are superb. I was here on short beer night, and what a deal that is! They also have a bunch of Bottled brews from Bar Harbor, so I opted for the awesome Cadillac mountain stout as my first brew of the night. I also tried their famous chili. Damn was that f'in good and filling or what!? Service was fast, friendly and knowledgable as well. I can't add much to what others have said. This is a true beer bar mecca, and anyone who has easy access to this place, or even better lives up the street, is truly truly lucky. One of many great beer establishments world-wide that I would love to have as "my local". It hurts having no good beer bars within thirty minutes of your home :-( Oh well, I have to get back to Portland sometime soon and quaff here again. The gem of my beery trip to RI, NH, and ME! Do not miss!

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

As far as Portland and local and regional beers (on tap to boot) are concerned, this is the place to be. More than 50 beers on tap, probably 75% from Maine, nothing else is even close.
As noted by JohnnyP, they offer specials on different nights, Mondays and Tuesdays are "short" beer nights with all on tap offerings being poured in 23 oz. glasses (JohnnyP mistakenly said 20 oz.) for the 16 oz. price.
Thursday night is Showcase beer night, usually featuring offerings from a single brewery for $2 a pint. Ocassionally, the Thursday showcase may feature a style of beer, such as the recent Oktoberfest night when all beers of a style are $2. No matter what the special is expect a crowded festive atmosphere and drawings for prizes such as glasses, t-shirts, hats and other brewery souvenirs on these nights. Tomorrow night, Thursday October 17th, will be a great one as we can expect David Geary himself to be pouring Geary's Hampshire for the "Hello Hampshire, goodbye Summer Ale" night. I just hope I can find a seat at the bar.
The food here is pretty good pub fare, with a good sized menu featuring something for everyone including vegetarians, and the service is very good and friendly.
If you are a BeerAdvocate visiting Portland and can only stop at one place, this is the one to hit.

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Photo of villainchiwwin
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

great dark cluttered environs with random objects d'art adorning the walls (even a wwII plane replica whose nose descends from the ceiling pointed at the floor, the spinning prop makes it a ceiling fan). ample seating, even on a chaotically busy night. despite the number of people, energy was pleasant and relaxed. phenomenol selection of beers on tap and service. prices were very fair, especially for beers - allagash pints were 1.99 for the night when i went. extremely fun spot; check out their thurs night brewery showcase deals. burger wasn't bad, but it wasn't a bag burger from sugarloaf's bag & kettle (although what is?). this is a bar that i will be revisiting, even though it's an hour away. highly recommended.

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Photo of adirondack88
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Great Lost Bear is awesome! This is my home away from home. If you are away from home you can sit in front of the "Bearcam" and it can be a poor man's version of "Skype". The beer selection is great. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The food is good and they have a huge menu. If I lived in Portland I would have to live in the neighborhood around the corner so this could be my regular watering hole. I am on their e-mail list so they send me the "Bear's Growl" every week which is a hoot. Can you tell I am a big fan of this place? The Great Lost Bear deserves all the praise I am giving it.

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Photo of DinoBlueShoes
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of crowbar540
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of khoff5
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of StaveHooks
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The Great Lost Bear was recommended to me by a bar tender in Boothbay Harbor. It's a great bar/restaurant in Portland Maine. It's on a main street and very easy to find. I cannot say enough about the beer selection. It was stellar. Four beers on cask including Allagash Black, which was very tasty. Plenty of good quality Belgain's, American, and local beers to choose from on tap. It was more of a "quality over quantity" type of selection. The waitress seemed to know information about the beers. I had 3 different styles of beer and all were served in the proper glassware. We ordered the Jalapeno poppers and were pretty good as well. Highly recommended if you're in Portland, ME.

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Photo of bernardus
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This place is simply a great bar with a slew of taps and decent food to match. Walking in, they have some merchandise to the right of you and it opens up to be a pretty big place. The taps kind of wrap around the bar towards the back and it's pretty impressive to see them all lined up.

It was definitely nice to see all the Allagash offerings, I had the dubbel on cask and my wife went with an Allagash White. We followed it up with a Allagash Victory and Deux Brasseurs. They had a pretty big menu but we came just for the drinks. Service was on point and the staff seemed knowlegable about the brews. It's kind of a dark place inside but there was a pretty big crowd and an overal neighborhood bar feel to it. It's worth the trip alone for the 5-6 Allagash beers they will have on tap at any given time.

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Photo of Katahdin
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

A truly great beer bar in an out of the way location. Most vistors to Portland will spend their time in Old Port with the brewpubs never realizing one of America's great beer bars is on the other side of town. Tons of microbrews on tap and a great selection of Maine beers in particular. The food is excellent pub food very well priced. I highly recommend the Chili Burger, and with fries only about $8. Staff is very knowledgable on the beer too which is quitea refreshing change from some beer bars.

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Photo of simmons
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

We came here after drinking at Gritty Mcduffs and was surprised to see all the taps and the enormous selection that they had there. After drinking tons of Maine beers (beers with ringwood yeast) i was SOOO happy to see some hoppy beers i was familiar with such as Dogfish Head and Harpoon. There also was a great selection of Maine beers that I have never seen before and specialty local beers as well. The food was ok, I just bought something small for a respectable price. The one thing that I noticed was while talking to the bar tender and telling him that My friends and I were from out of state they gave us samples of whatever we asked for without cost. This place is just great!!! number 1 place to go in Maine Id say.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is a great spot. Not in the center of Portland, which is probably where you'll want to spend most of your time when in town, but about a mile or so down Forest Ave. Good atmosphere, but if you go during the day it is almost pitch black inside. Lots or rooms to wander around in but there are no windows at all, although in the winter that's not as big a deal. Everything about the beer impresses: the huge selection of draft picks as well as the quality of each choice. They did not having any lagers to speak of, but the best local beers are all ales anyway. If they had a bottle list, I didn't see it, nor did I need to. Cask selection was limited to only 1 choice (Geary's pale), I guess they were having some problems. The top 10 list is a fascinating curio (Allagash White was number one when I went, but the new Geary's autumn brown ale will surely knock it off the next time they tabulate). Good food, and a big, not-outrageously-priced menu that has enough to please anybody, vegans too. Highlights from my visit: Sheepscot Pemaquid, Rocky Bay Kate's Celtic Red, Allagash Summer. All from Maine and all excellent. The 5 oz samples ($1) were a great way to taste lots of different ales without getting totally obliterated. If you do choose that route though, the beer towers are the way to go. Beer tower? Think pitcher, for the anal beer drinker. The tower looks like a very large bong. There's a cap on the top to keep air out and a little tap at the bottom. A frozen sleeve keeps the beer cool. A full tower is about 5 pints (2 liters?) for $16, and if you're a party of one they'll sell you a half tower for $8. I'd like to see these in more bars. They are neat, and they treat the beer right.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Was planning to spend the day in Portland drinking in several places, but due to unforeseen circumstances (fog in Bar Harbor postponing our tour boat a day), we didn't get to Portland until 9 pm instead of noon. Oops. With enough energy for one place, we took a cab to The Great Lost Bear. Hard to compare without hitting other places, but we were very happy with the Bear as our only stop in Portland (and Becky's Diner for breakfast on the way out of town).

Well served and in the proper glasses, our waiter brought us each of the Allagash beers on the extensive draft menu. Ended the night with Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet, which was a great Black IPA. For food, the waiter steered us toward a house made veggie dinner, the Fresh Grizzly Burritto with rice, beans, cheese and veggie chili. We had started with cup of veggie chili (something we found in several NE bars, which I would love to see in the midwest more). Both were really great and topped off the night after a long day being tourists and not having really stopped to eat.

GLB clearly lives up to their reputation as a great beer bar. Our waiter was knowledgeable and helpful choosing the beers, and also got us to meal we enjoyed. After a week of travelling and eating out, we really appreciated a very honest, straight forward waiter who gave us a clear, informed opinion of beer and food when ask. Not shying away from making a statement instead of being a cheerleader for whatever a patron picks is a really great quality that is appreciated.

We liked Portland and plan to return to it and The Great Lost Bear.

 1,581 characters

Photo of LiamStLiam
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

As others have said, this is a beer bar well worth the trip. They "respect beer," and their staff is knowledgable.

The food, up and down, is very good, and the measure of a beer bar's kitchen -- the bacon cheeseburger -- is terrific.

Maine is a great beer state, and the Bear showcases this very well. The selection of locally brewed beers never fails to impress.

If it were closer than a 90-minute drive, I would be there a lot more.

A premier beer bar in a great beer city. Great special events.

 510 characters

Photo of Starchild
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

If you’re looking for the perfect location to get a genuine feel for Maine beer, this is your place.

The Great Lost Bear provides the cream of the microbrew crop with fifty beers on tap. Fifty beers on tap doesn’t guarantee a fantastic bar experience, but the Great Lost Bear manages to represent eighteen different beer styles, and all selections are top notch brews. If you want to get a feel for an Alt, Brown Ale, Export, ESB, Fruit, IPA, Lager, Red, Wheat, or Seasonal Ale all hailing from Maine, the Great Lost Bear serves up 5 oz. samples of beer for a dollar each. I stuck with beers from Maine brewers that I haven't tasted, such as Peraquid Ale from the Sheepscot brewery and Old English Ale from Andrews Brewery. Not all Maine microbreweries bottle their beer and the Great Lost Bear also offers cask-conditioned ales. I sampled some Old Thumper on cask and it tasted like a completely different beer.

The Great Lost Bear doesn’t just have a mouth-watering array of beer, but also has some divine food. After working up my appetite at the Maine rock gym about a mile away, I split some wings with my friends, ordered the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, and devoured a Barbeque Burger. As one may surmise from my choices, the restaurant served eclectic pub fare. I’m sure the wings were the best I’ve tasted in Maine and the soup held its own after I added some salt and hot sauce. The burger was also first-rate.

In terms of décor, the Great Lost Bear falls somewhere between an epic Hemingway watering hole, replete with staggering yet strangely stoic characters and powerful guns, and a classic American dive bar, which shares many of the aforementioned features minus the stoicism. I especially liked the etched mirror displaying a forest hollow and an original Woodstock poster hanging near my table. The motif of the Great Bear was carried on throughout the pub, to my approval and praise. The Black bears of Maine are often buried under the rampant statewide Moose publicity, but you’ll not find a better mascot to embody pub ideals.

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Photo of Grundle20
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

GLB, as it's come to be known in my family, is far more than a damn good place to grab a beer to me. It's a place I used to beg my dad to take me to as a child so I could eat their "Super Nachos" which at the time was a molten heap of meat, cheese, and nachos comparable to the size of my head. I still get them every time I stop in.

It was only recently that I got to go back and fully enjoy all of it's beers and given the high number of bars and restaurants in the area the GLB still dominates all of them. It has an overwhelming selection of good american beer and decent pricing on everything. The food is pretty much standard pub food but its done so well and it's given witty little names that bring your mind back to the late 60s early 70s like Chevy Chase's Love Me Tenders which beats out "chicken fingers" in my opinion.

GLB exudes a presence of local importance and tradition. It's been a staple in my family since I can remember and the same is true with nearly every Mainer in the area. If you're looking for a really unique and telling place to grab a meal or a beer in Portland then I can't help but say you'd be a fool to pass on the opportunity to stop in.

Bottom Line:
Decent food and decent beer for decent people, the very lifeblood of Maine.

 1,273 characters

Photo of SandyMeats
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Great Lost Bear is an outstanding restaurant and pub. Long bar serving about 50 taps on my visit, with a dual focus on Maine breweries and Belgian beers - Allagash being the middle of that particular Venn diagram. I enjoyed a couple of their offerings on cask, which was a pleasant surprise.

Dimly lit, log-cabin-like feel indoors. Unique enough posters and such on the walls. The bathroom was uniquely filthy, enough to lower my atmosphere score, actually. The quality of the beers on tap is good - I love the local focus, and if I had to pick one country to highlight, Belgium would be it in the brewing scene. Our waiter was very nice and very prompt, but he didn't seem to know a ton about beer.

Of which there was a lot. I was only interested in probably half the menu, but that's normal. The food was outstanding, with many options for vegetarians. We loved the Great Lost Bear and would recommend it to anyone in the greater Portland area.

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The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME
Place rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 188 ratings
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