Spring Point Tavern, or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation
By Chris Busby
High gas prices caused by the ongoing global holy terror war are forcing many Americans to adjust their summer travel plans. Here in Portland, that means a week in Disney World becomes Saturday at Funtown Splashtown USA. If you drive an S.U.V., it could mean Splashtown becomes your sprinkler.
For me, it’s meant a week drinking with old high school buddies at a rented beach house in South Carolina became a Friday night at a bar by the ocean in a town south of here, but considerably closer to Portland. It’s called South Portland.
That’s where I found the Spring Point Tavern. This tavern opened last winter where the bar O’Rourke’s Landing used to be. I took these snapshots on my summer vacation there last Memorial Day weekend.
This is the view of the water from the Spring Point Tavern parking lot. Back there in the fog is Southern Maine Community College. I didn’t see any students taking advantage of the tavern’s happy hour. Most of them were probably up north, in the Old Port, preparing to beat the snot out of each other.
This is the tavern’s back deck. The plastic patio furniture is in its first season of use, so almost none of it’s broken yet. Plus, you can smoke out here! The South is known for its liberal smoking laws.
This is Jo Jo (left) and Jess. They worked behind a small bar on the back deck selling $2 cans of Bud, Miller Lite and the like. They’re both very nice people. For instance, when one of the owners, Jimmy, told them they dressed “like sluts,” they just laughed. They didn’t slap him or sue him or anything.
This is Jimmy. He was also very nice. For instance, this night he was putting on a comedy show to benefit cancer research. He told me his mom died of cancer last winter. His dad was working security for the show, even though that clearly wasn’t necessary, since the crowd was well-behaved. Jimmy drank a lot of diet cola and was a ball of energy. He was a little obnoxious and a little nuts, but I liked him. I think he liked me, too, but in a way my wife wouldn’t like.
When the comedy show started, I took this picture from the back deck. Not much to say about this one. I just think it’s cool-lookin’.
This is George Hamm, the famous local comedian. You know, the “stop-light guy.” He said headlining at Spring Point Tavern made him feel like his career had come full circle – he’d first performed there at an open mic in the early ‘90s, when the place was still O’Rourke’s. Granted, he admitted, that’s a very small circle.
Here’s an arty shot of a rotating beer light behind some palm fronds. The tavern’s décor is an odd mix of NASCAR and Madagascar. The men’s bathroom is a pleasant, almost tropical place.
Here’s the bar inside. Yes, that’s a fake pineapple. And yes, those are plastic PBR cups stacked behind it. They serve the draft beer in those cups, like it’s a keg party. I don’t tip at keg parties, do you?
Finally, here’s Hamm in action. He’s hilarious. The tavern has a rear dining area and a dance floor, which was full of tables for the show. The place was packed, and Hamm had everyone roaring with laughter.
It was a great night for a good cause, and a fine and affordable vacation. If the world continues to spiral toward a chaotic apocalypse of mass death, suffering and destruction, I just might go back next summer.
The Spring Point Tavern is open daily from noon to 1 a.m.