A Retro Shanghai Speakeasy Opens in Maine

Courtesy Danforth Inn

Portland’s Danforth Inn debuts a new bar this summer with Southeast Asian inflected cocktails, and a sultry setting.

We’ve had a thing for Portland, Maine’s Danforth Inn and its Tempo Dulu restaurant ever since we visited the quaint property and tasted its exquisite rijsttafel cuisine back in 2015. But beginning this June, there’s even more reason to obsess over the East Coast gem from Raymond Brunyanszki (also of Camden Harbour Inn and its Natalie’s Restaurant), when it opens its new Opium lounge.

In keeping with the hotel’s Eastern influences, the bar and lounge will relaunch with a 1920s-era Shanghai speakeasy vibe, complete with velvet couches, red silk curtains, oriental rugs, and dark floral wallpaper. Tempo Dulu’s chef Michael McDonnell expands on the property’s New England–meets–Southeast Asian cooking tradition with lighter bites (Thai fishcakes, dumplings, banana leaf steamed duck) that blend the flavors of Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia with local seafood staples (crab, lobster, oysters, seaweed) sourced from the nearby Damariscotta River and Atlantic Ocean. (Bar patrons will also have access to restaurant’s full menu.)

Courtesy Danforth Inn

A list of similarly inspired cocktails—consider the Mai Tai, Singapore Sling, and the Wayang, made with vodka, ginger, cilantro, mangosteen, and turmeric foam—from bartender Alexa Doyer rounds out the experience. Like McDonnell’s menus at the bar and restaurant, the drinks will change seasonally. Which means, of course, there’s even more reason to keep coming back.

Opium opens on June 14 at the Danforth Inn; rooms, from $385; 163 Danforth St.; 207-879-8755; danforthinn.com.