You know that friend you have, when you walk through the front door of their home, you know you’re in for a fun evening? That’s the feeling from the moment you arrive at The Front Porch, an Ogunquit institution since 1980. Everyone is welcome at The Front Porch, and the guys at the front door make sure you know it, greeting you with a big smile regardless of whether you’ve been coming for years (as many customers have) or you’re wandering in for the first time.

Best known for its upstairs piano bar, where people can sit at the grand piano underneath light fixtures made of old hats, The Front Porch offers spectacular cocktails typically ranging from $10 to $14.  Even without the piano music, it’s worth visiting.

The Front Porch serves cocktails for $10 to $14. Photo by Angie Bryan

There’s a regular bar/lounge on the ground floor, along with a separate recently renovated restaurant. You cannot hear the piano music downstairs, making it possible to have either a quiet evening or a rowdy one, depending on your mood. The full dining menu is available in all three spaces and includes both traditional bar nibbles like nachos and fancier options such as poké bowls.

Equally diverse is the music menu. The pianists are expected to remain current and take requests, resulting in a crowd that ranges from middle-aged women on a weekend getaway to young professionals from Boston to older regulars, all singing along with the music. It is not uncommon to spot regulars in their 80s depicted in their younger days in the mural lining the walls of the stairs on the way to the piano bar. Some even met their life partners around the piano, and at least one of those couples has gotten married there.

Many people consider Ogunquit a summer destination, given that its winter population of 1,000 swells to 17,000 in the warmer months, with over half a million tourists.  The Front Porch undergoes a similar evolution, with Kim Kuzma’s summer Sunday night disco shows at standing-room only and lines out the door to get in throughout the week. Fear not, say the friendly doormen – you usually don’t have to wait more than 15 minutes.

Owner Scott Vogel, who bought The Front Porch a little over two years ago, used to work for the previous owner, and plans to carry on the establishment’s original goal of being a place where individuals of all sexual orientations can become friends around the piano and beyond. The original owner had a vision of a place where tolerance evolved into acceptance, and Vogel continues to make that dream a reality with a fabulous soundtrack.

Angie Bryan is the Bar Guide columnist for MaineToday Magazine.

The Front Porch in Ogunquit is a place for regulars and tourists, a quiet dinner or a rowdy night around the piano. Photo by Angie Bryan

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