When my drinking companions and I stepped inside Three Robbers Pub in Bowdoinham on a recent Wednesday evening, every seat at the bar was already taken. But there are several tables with comfortable wooden chairs and/or benches that were available, so we settled in and took in the décor.

Three Robbers nails the cozy neighborhood pub vibe, with music at the perfect level for conversation and items like old snowshoes, dollar bills, thank-you cards, old photos and fairy lights hanging on the dark wood paneled walls. Though it was filled with locals who clearly knew each other, nobody batted an eye or even looked at us when we walked in – everybody was too busy having a good time. Soon, we were, too.

Within a few minutes of sitting down, the one server was at our table. The pub doesn’t have a cocktail menu, but does have a full bar and makes several infused liquors in house. I decided to try the banana-orange-strawberry infused vodka, which I mixed with orange juice for a twist on a screwdriver ($9.50). I later learned that, when Three Robbers Pub opened in June 2019, it wasn’t allowed to sell liquor at all and, on Sundays, couldn’t even sell beer or wine, thanks to Bowdoinham’s former status as a dry town. A vote in November of 2019 changed that, but the primary focus (like that of any self-respecting pub) remains beer, especially local brews.

The beer and wine menus are written on a chalkboard with no prices, but the beer my drinking companions ordered, a Kolsch by Blaze Brewing Co. in Biddeford, was $7.50. It was one of eight draft beers on the menu; there were an additional 13 bottled options, including two ciders. There were also five hard seltzers, one rosé wine by the glass, eight white wines by the glass and eight red wines by the glass.

Fried cheese curds from Three Robbers Pub.

We hadn’t planned on ordering food, but then we looked at the menu and saw several delicious-looking plates coming out of the kitchen. Pretty much everything is made in house, using local ingredients as much as possible. Upon seeing fried cheese curds with a maple Dijon dipping sauce among the appetizers, we knew what had to happen. As one of my drinking companions said, “It’s never a mistake to order fried cheese.” The curds were magnificent, and the appetizer portion was the perfect size for three people to share.

The food menu comprises traditional pub fare such as burgers, sandwiches and the obligatory fish and chips; on the back, it tells the story of the name, based on an 1866 bank robbery in Bowdoinham.

If the bar is full, grab a comfy seat or bench at one of the tables.

Three Robbers Pub is co-owned by chef Greg Bernier of Harpswell and bartender Sam Hilling, originally from Glasgow, Scotland, which explains why one of my British drinking companions kept saying, “If I lived here, I’d be at this pub every night!” Bernier and Hilling had worked together for a long time before – as Bernier later told me via email – scraping up every cent they had to open the pub. In the beginning, it was just the two of them and another former co-worker washing dishes, working open to close every day for months. Then, of course, the pandemic hit.

Luckily for us all, they made it through. Find an excuse to drive to or through Bowdoinham, and go check it out for yourself – you won’t regret it.

Retired diplomat Angie Bryan writes about Maine’s cocktail bars while making as many puns as her editor allows.

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