Best New Bar: Room for Improvement

Punch has named Room for Improvement to their list of the Best New Bars of 2023.

Wharf Street, a narrow alleyway in Portland, Maine, is lined with cobblestones and lit at night by tall iron lampposts. Squint, and you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time. But a neon “cocktails” sign in the window of Room for Improvement suggests something wholly new. Opened in April by veteran bartender Arvid Brown (founding bar manager at Crispy Gai and Baharat) and business partner Nick Coffrin, the self-proclaimed “halfway decent bar” pairs serious cocktails with a resolutely unserious atmosphere. The bar’s irreverent ethos marks a deliberate departure from the reigning aesthetic of the sleek, lab-like cocktail bar…

Their fellow honorees are: Nine Bar (Chicago), Post Haste (Philadelphia), Sperbueno (NYC), and Wild Child (Shawnee). The article also recognizes Trick Dog in San Francisco as this year’s Industry Icon.

The 36-seat Room for Improvement is located on Wharf Street and was launched in April by Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin. Brown was named one of Star Chefs’ Coastal New England Rising Stars, and the bar is a regular hangout for many of their fellow bartenders and industry professionals.