I stand before a tall oak bookshelf boasting of old leather-bound books. I can barely contain my excitement. I press a hand against the smooth wood and push. The bookshelf swings in, revealing a short staircase cutting around a corner. I tentatively make my way down. Walking past a silent TV, I peek around the corner and discover a secret bar, The Broken Dram.
It’s a cosy space, with warm lighting and friendly bartenders. Best of all, the drinks are named after ‘Tragic Couples’. My eye is immediately drawn to the bookish pairs; Humperdink and Buttercup from The Princess Bride, and Yuri and Lara from Doctor Zhivago. I make my order based on my favourite book, rather than the actual ingredients themselves. I choose the Humperdink and Buttercup and claim the ‘Tragic Couples’ discount. I’m pleased to discover both drinks work well together. They’re both bitter, a perfect reflection of the rocky, loveless engagement.
The Broken Dram is a bar within a bar. The main establishment, Blyth and Burrows, is situated in the vibrant Old Port of Portland, Maine. Surrounded by the bustle of a working waterfront, galleries, and boutiques, this cobblestoned district is the perfect place to uncover local secrets. Reminiscent of speakeasies, The Broken Dram is an exciting bookish venue. I’ll definitely be visiting again.