117 Spring St., Portland
Flask Lounge opened several months ago in the Spring Street spot long occupied by Somewhere/Somewhere Else, the West End’s other gay nightlife destination. It’s owned by a lesbian couple, but Flask isn’t tailored to attract clientele of any specific sexual orientation – though a moustache pageant it hosted in late March may have suggested otherwise to some.
Flask is a neighborhood bar, and as such, it reflects the diversity found along surrounding streets: the well-to-do and the well-to-drink, the middle-aged and the barely legal, the straight, the gay, the bi-, the unicyclist, etc. A bunch of USM law students have adopted the place, and I recently ran into Covered in Bees frontman Boo and his domestic partner there during Happy Hour (and they’reEast Enders).
Flask is also a sports bar, of both the real and virtual varieties. For example, they opened at 6 a.m. for “kegs & eggs” on Red Sox opening day, and every Thursday night they host a Wii bowling tournament on the wide-screen, high-def TV.
Thirdly, Flask is a decent little eatery. They’ve got burgers and steak bombs and all manner of panini, plus Cincinnati Chili and Italian sausage pizza pockets that are better than you think (they’re homemade, with cream cheese, arugula and parm, and delicious with either the marinara on the menu or, surprisingly, hot Asian chili sauce). The Buffalo wings are not as good as you think – that is, not baptized in a deep-fat fryer – so beware.
Owners Jessica Nolette and Andi Fawcett (of Relish, the groove-rock band, fame) have created a comfortable establishment inside a fairly small, wood-and-brick space. There are several tables, some cushy chairs, and half a dozen bar stools. The sports décor isn’t overdone, and local beers occupy four of the six taps.
Flask is trying a variety of themed nights to get more folks in the door. The first trivia night is scheduled for April 19, a comedy night takes place April 23, and a “Latin Dance Off” is on tap for Cinco de Mayo. There’s live acoustic music now and then.
That’s all well and good, though Flask is also a good hang just as it is. (Which is not to say I won’t be wearing the tiara at next year’s ‘stache pageant – look out, Snidely!)
— Chris Busby
Flask Lounge is open every day from 4 p.m. to “close” (call ahead if you’re out late on a weeknight).