Old Orchard Beach, Maine is just 20 minutes south of Portland on the southern coast. It is a great spot for lobster rolls, live music, and my favorite French fries ever (seriously… EVER). The Pier at Old Orchard Beach (sometimes listed as OOB) was first built in 1898 and has been destroyed by multiple fires, storms, and the great blizzard of 1978 and has been rebuilt each time. The pier has restaurants, shops, and of course great live entertainment like R-Rated musical comedian Yo’ Adrian. If you’re with kids, you might prefer the Place Playland amusement park though. All this makes Old Orchard Beach my favorite beach town in Maine.
Below I show you some of the best spots in town.
Best Daytime Bar in Old Orchard Beach
If you’re spending a day at the beach, it’s a good idea to set up right in front of Pirate’s Patio. Tell the wife you forgot something in the motel room, and sneak over here for a beer. Or better yet, invite her along. During the summer months, live music starts in the afternoon, so it’s a great break from the sun on the beach. Don’t sleep on their pizza either, which is actually pretty good. Pirates Patio the best bar in Old Orchard Beach for daytime beers and music.
Lobster Rolls in Old Orchard Beach
Obviously when you’re in Maine, you should eat as many lobster rolls as you possibly can. And Old Orchard beach has several places to choose from. The traditional Maine lobster roll is served chilled with mayo, but I prefer it hot with melted butter. Some of the best places for lobster rolls include:
The Pier French Fries
Best Fries in Old Orchard Beach
If there is one food that Old Orchard Beach is known for though… it’s not the lobster rolls but rather the Pier French fries. The Original Pier French fries first opened on the pier in the 1930s and was destroyed in a fire. Then the blizzard of 1978 caused it to move off the pier and it now resides near the entrance to the pier.
New England potatoes are hand cut each day and fried with a crisp outside and a soft inside. Some people use ketchup on them, but the best way is to load them up with salt and white vinegar. No matter which size you get, you should eat them on the sidewalk nearby, because you will have to add a second dose of vinegar once you eat thru the top layer. I have been known to eat an entire box by myself. And for the French Canadiens, they do offer poutine fries with real cheddar cheese curds and hot beef gravy. If you only make one stop for food, this should be the place.
Best Evening Bar: The Brunswick
Best Bar to Go After the Beach
When the beach day is over, the most popular place in town is the Brunswick. They have largest patio outdoor bar in Old Orchard, and it starts filling up before sunset. They have live music on the weekends, and often have tables right out on the beach. This is a great place to view the ocean as the sunsets behind you. And unlike many places in town that shut down for the winter, its open year-round for lunch and dinner and also offers accommodations if you’d like to stay there. The Brunswick is the best bar in Old Orchard Beach for drinks after the beach, and live music in the evening.
Best Entertainment in Old Orchard Beach
The pier is the most photographed location in Old Orchard Beach. And it’s also the home to several restaurants, food stands, souvenir shops, as well as a great spot for nightly entertainment. And one of the best entertainers around, is Yo Adrian. He has been a staple on the pier for the last 33 years performing his R rated musical comedy show. His act is not for the children, the easily offended, or those who can’t take getting picked on. But he’s one of the funniest guys around, as well as a talented guitar player. It’s difficult to show clips of him on social media, because you can’t get more than 10 seconds of footage without him saying something that will land you in Facebook jail. If you miss him in Old Orchard, you can find him in Key West during the winters.
Disclaimer: He got his start playing in my father’s bar and originally went by his full name “Adrian Walker” until my dad began advertising him as “Yo Adrian”. I was probably 11 years old the first time he made fun of me during his act!
Joseph's By the Sea
Best Romantic Restaurant in Old Orchard Beach
Joseph’s by the Sea is a combination of great food with the most romantic restaurant in Old Orchard Beach. I make a point to go here for dinner every time I’m in town. Even though you’re facing eastward, it’s still a beautiful view at sunset over the dune grass towards the Saco Bay.
The family of the original owners ran this restaurant for over 50 years, until a local couple took over ownership a couple years ago. They suffered thru Covid, had to rebuild after a fire, and recently introduced a new executive chef. Despite these hurdles, Joseph’s by the Sea continues to be the best restaurant in Old Orchard Beach for a romantic and upscale dining experience.
Big Daddy's Bar and Grill
Best Restaurant in Old Orchard Beach
If there’s a restaurant that can challenge the quality of Joseph’s by the Sea, its Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill. While it doesn’t have the same atmosphere, they go for a more relaxed bluesy jazz ambiance.
The menu combines entrees such as Braised Short Rib, Seafood Cioppino, and Seafood Risotto with the more casual burgers and lobster rolls.