“The bar that Portland needs” opens Friday

Bartender Michael Gatlin mixes it up at Blyth and Burrows.

“It elevates the city,” said a card carrying foodie at the sneak opening of Blyth and Burrows Wednesday night. “Great vibe,” cooed another.

As plates of bahn mi, crudo, and platters of oysters spun around the room, amid expertly executed, top-notch quaffs, “the bar that Portland needs” arrives right on time.

“I wanted to create a Portland bar that you haven’t seen,” said Joshua Miranda, owner of the Exchange Street multi-level ode to sea captains Samuel Blyth and William Burrows, who died in a battle off the Maine coast. It opens to the public Friday.

Sure there’s a raw bar, steak tartare and lobster rolls, but bar bites served in a sea-faring snug space that’s both cosmopolitan and rooted in Maine history? We haven’t seen it.

The entrance from The Broken Dram.

Like a well-stocked vessel ready for voyage, Blyth and Burrows is a high seas adventure. There are different levels, different moods and tricked out bathrooms with stained glass windows that you could spend an hour in.

The back bar called The Broken Dram is accessible via a fake bookcase. In this “come as you are bar,” highballs are served with affordable drams like the Pricilla, (bourbon, cardamaro and balsamic basil honey for $7). On top deck, the oyster pit hosts a plush captain’s corner and below a moody, candle-lit lower parlor invites ultimate relaxation. The elegant front bar feels like a film noir set from the ’20s. Can’t keep up?

“You can bar hop in four spots in one space,” said Miranda, who knows how to create a scene.

The view from the oyster pit.

The Portland native, who has worked in bars and hotels from Denver to Delray, opened Top of the East and Glass here. He tracks trends and hires the best in the biz (a who’s who of bartenders, from Sur Lie to Evo alum, can be found mixing it up at B and B).

The anticipated opening of this Old Port newcomer could mean the line at Eventide will be slightly less punishing. “This doesn’t seem real,” said the well-dressed Miranda, who spent the last year birthing Blyth and Burrows, his first establishment. “Is it as nice as I think it is?”

See for yourself Friday at 4 p.m. Blyth and Burrows, 26 Exchange St, Portland.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.