Brian and I recently stopped in Portland, Maine en route to my parent’s house. In the midst of our search for lunch, we wandered past Vena’s Fizz House. The phrase “craft soda bar” caught my eye; I’ve found that while being pregnant it’s been really difficult to find non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks that actually sound appetizing. A shop featuring mocktails? The menu looked amazing and I knew I had to stop.
We ended up getting lunch at b.good, which was delicious, and then wandered the streets of the Old Port for a bit before returning to Vena’s. The first level of the establishment is a shop featuring bitters, mixers, vintage and modern glassware and specialty infusions.
A handful of stairs led to the eating and drinking area of Vena’s. There were several tables, a bar along the window and a standard bar set up. The place was hopping when we arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon, but we managed to snag one of the tables. We grabbed one of the menus on the table and perused the options while taking in the décor.
Though everything on the 3 pages of mocktail offerings (including fizzes, shrubs and cremes) sounded delicious, they were not cheap. The smallest sizes, usually half-pint, started at $4. Nevertheless, we ordered pints of our beverages, figuring the extra dollar was worth double the drink for a pint. The alcoholic options were even more expensive, most are around $12-14. While we waited, we watched the mixologists create drinks, adding foam, bitters and extracts from a variety of bottles.
I ordered the Blackberry Coconut (blackberry puree, coconut cream, Vena’s honey vanilla syrup) and Brian had a Dim and Stormy (muddled ginger, lime, spiced tonic, Vena’s honey vanilla syrup). They were both fantastic, and I felt satisfied after finishing my pint, which isn’t to say that I couldn’t have consumed more.
I’m really glad that we stopped by Vena’s Fizz House and now I’m definitely feeling inspired to try making more mocktails on my own. I also hope that more restaurants follow this trend and start offering more interesting, alcohol-free options. Even though Vena’s wasn’t cheap, the offerings were awesome and I’d stop back if given the opportunity.