I’d heard rumors. Whispers mostly. Fading like a wisp of smoke in the “almost heat” of Portland’s “nearly Summer”. This week’s Page One Friday Lunch was to be held at Sonny’s.
Sonny’s has the reputation of serving stiff drinks to a varied clientele of hipsters, yuppies and vacationers alike; all with the common goal of catching a buzz… fast.
If I happen to paint a picture of the staff at Page One as a group of drunkard miscreants, it’s only because we fit the stereotype exactly.
The day started off ominously as Ellis challenged everyone in the office to match him drink for drink. Sully shook off Ellis’ offer while regaling us with a tale of losing the drink recipe for the “Faulty Basil” to Sonny’s owner in an epic, high-stakes poker game in Atlantic City. Elise was seen rocking in the corner absently repeating:
“A little vodka on the rocks
Can even out the day.
Just two fingers over ice,
Can keep the stress at bay”
By the time noon rolled around, we had worked up a powerful thirst. Arriving at Sonny’s en masse, we were seated in the back room. Perhaps our reputation had preceded us… we had the entire room to ourselves.
Our server was friendly and attentive. I ordered a Margarita with jalapeno-strawberry vodka. It tasted so good I asked for another. Ellis ordered a beer, and then another and then another. Things were spiraling out of control.
The waiter went around the table – jotting down each of our food orders… but still, the drinks kept coming. I watched as Corey took a sip of her Pinky Tuscadero and promptly started to squint. By the time she’d reached the bottom she was talking like a sailor. Jeremy was knee-deep in a drink called the Rhinestone Cowboy when he starting bashing his fist into the wall while muttering something about a failed career in the ballet arts. Things were starting to get hazy.
Koren, with her head propped up on one arm, slurred unsolicited potential baby names to a pregnant (and patient) Jenika. Jenika in turn, sat graciously sipping her soda water; silently judging us whilst plotting our demise.
Becky threw her arm around Emmie and somehow managed to convince her that it truly wasn’t the alcohol talking, and that the two of them should in fact, hang out more often. Meanwhile, Brad had managed to find a miniature version of himself who was able to throw back virgin Limeade with the speed and veracity with which Brad is able to consume beer.
I’d ordered the Poblano Cheese Burger. There had been a considerable amount of hype about it, so my expectations were high. When it arrived I found it tasty… cooked rare, just as I had asked, but I wasn’t blown away. It was a “good” burger. Elise’s Tri-Pork Cuban Sandwich garnered raves, while our resident vegetarian, Lauren found the House Green Salad and Panko Fried Avocado quite satisfying.
All told, the yam fries seemed to be an overwhelming favorite with everyone at the table. The real stars of the meal however were the cocktails. While the food didn’t rise to the level of legend, Sonny’s house-infused vodkas, gins and tequilas, combined with the talents of the bar staff certainly helped Sonny’s live up to its reputation.
With our bellies heavy and our heads light, we stumbled into the Portland streets in search of gelato.
Most-Favorited Dish: Yam Fries
Honorable Mention: Poblano Cheese Burger
About 85% of Page One employees would enthusiastically return to Sonny’s.
Words Used by Our Team to Describe the Experience:
Address: 83 Exchange St., Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Monday-Thursday – 11:30am-10:00pm
Friday – 11:30am-10:30pm
Saturday – 10:00am-10:30pm
Sunday – 10:00am-9:30pm