Yes, there are places in Portland to get something to eat after 10 pm — even as late as 3 am. From pizza and wings to pancakes and homemade apps, this city has your appetite covered, whether it's been a long night of Beirut or studying (ha!). We wouldn't want you to starve.
Down on the waterfront, the late-night pick-up window at BECKY'S DINER (390 Commercial St., 207.773.7070, beckysdiner.com) is now in its second year of serving up chili-cheese fries, hot dogs, pancakes, and more from 11 pm to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. "Our most popular thing is the homemade shake. We sell a ton of those," says owner Becky Rand, who can often be found working at the window into the wee hours. And, she adds, if the late-night cook can make your request, it's on the menu. While Becky's doesn't have a license for live music, it is able to play oldies albums out the window for patrons pigging out at the picnic tables. "I think it makes it festive out there," says Rand. "People are talking to people they don't know. It's really fun out there on a summer night." It's a quieter alternative to the loud pizza joints of the Old Port, and Rand says the regulars are a mix of teens, college students, and local restaurant employees just getting off work — "a nice group of people" who don't cause any trouble. If you pop in, Becky's is offering $1-off coupons at the register through September; it's a fabulous deal considering that everything offered at the late-night window that doesn't contain lobster is under $5. The diner closes at 10 pm on weekdays.
Binga's is back bigger than ever after a fire destroyed its Bramhall Square location nearly a year ago. BINGA'S STADIUM SMOKEHOUSE AND SPORTS BAR (504 Congress St., bingaswingas.com) is set to open to the public in mid-September, offering seating for 175 on the first floor, a lobby bar, a fully equipped game room, and a downstairs function room. According to owner Alec Altman, Binga's Stadium will be open until at least 1 am on every day but Sunday, and the owners are mulling a 2 am closing time on Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday (ladies' night). They've also constructed a take-out pick-up area for really late nights, serving food even after the inside is closed. The wings (breaded or smoked, traditional or tenders) come in more than 20 varieties at an assortment of heat levels, and comforting side orders of mashed potatoes, fried pickle chips, fries, slaw, barbecue baked beans, and mac n' cheese are all priced under $6. Drink specials include $3 microbrew pints daily. As for entertainment, Binga's Stadium has retained all of the games of its predecessor — pinball, pool, shooting baskets, Golden Tee, and Big Buck Hunter. If you just can't wait, Altman says tickets for "a series of soft-opening private parties" will soon be available at Binga's Yarmouth location, online, and possibly at Binga's Stadium.
BUFFALO WINGS-N-THINGS (111 Cumberland Ave., 207.879.0403, buffalowings-n-things.com) is open until 11:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11 pm on all other nights. The vibe at this East End late-night spot varies from mellow to drunken camaraderie, said a staffer: "Sometimes people will come in at night and chill in the dining room. We've got a patio outside. It can get pretty bumpin', but it really depends on the night." The wings, of course, are the main attraction, especially the buffalo (in the obligatory mild, medium, and hot), barbecue, sweet and sour, and spicy oriental sesame. The steak and cheese sub is a popular item, and pizza is also available. Wash down your munchies of choice with a $2.50, 20-ounce Bud or Bud Light draft.
Located just off High Street near Katahdin Restaurant, FLASK LOUNGE (117 Spring St., 207.772.3122, flasklounge.com) is a mostly undiscovered gem when it comes to the college populace, attracting a diverse, largely 25- to 35-year-old clientele. But undergrads of legal drinking age will be excited to know about the bar's homemade, pub-style fare and fun entertainment options — including a Wii, live music, and karaoke on Saturdays. Owner Jessica Nolette likes to keep the kitchen hours "open-ended," serving up popular treats like jalapeño wonton poppers (filled with cream cheese, hot peppers, and garlic and served with a sweet chili sauce), fresh-cut plain and sweet potato fries, and Italian sausage pizza pockets (stuffed with meat, cheese, arugula, and marinara) at customers' request. All the food is affordable, with the $11 steak bomb as the most expensive item. Tuesdays offer specials on local drafts, while Sam Adams is a steal on Wednesdays. As for mixed drinks, "all the drinks are tall. You pay $6, and you get a strong drink," Nolette says with pride. PBR drafts are $2.50 and shots of Evan Williams (which she describes as "the cheaper version of Jack Daniel's") are $2 daily.
At JOE'S NY PIZZA (420 Fore St., 207.699.5559, joesnypizza.com), students can grab a slice well into the wee hours at this sometimes-rowdy hangout. Staffers say security guards are needed to keep the drunken masses in check while they storm the place for hand-tossed pies. "Billy Bob's BBQ Chicken," pepperoni, and "any combination with pepperoni" are favored with the college crowd, one employee told us. The restaurant also serves up lasagna pizza (sausage, meatball, ham, ricotta, Parmesan, and oregano) and a chicken parm pizza for students craving home-style cooking. The fried dough balls are a bestseller and a superb choice for soaking up the night's excesses. The restaurant also offers the typical supporting cast of fried appetizers, sandwiches, and wraps, including the Frat Boy Wrap (grilled chicken, romaine, feta, olives, onions, and balsamic vinaigrette) — an appropriate choice for the collegiate crowd, though it sounds more like sorority food to us. Joe's is open until 2 am Thursday through Saturday, and until 1:30 am on all other nights.