Rí Rá comes from "Rí Rá agus Ruaile Buaile", a phrase translating roughly as divilment, good fun or any sociable activity that improves with fine food, a nice pint of Guinness or dram of Uisce Beatha (whiskey).
As you enter Rí Rá you can imagine yourself walking through a door that leads you back in time to the peaceful and cozy atmosphere of a traditional pub 100 hundred years ago in Ireland. When you visit Rí Rá you will feel as if you are going back in time, such is the ambiance of the pub. All of the pub interiors were salvaged and restored in Ireland and shipped to Portland. The pub is on two levels, with three distinct areas.
The Shop Bar
A community gathering place
The first area is the traditional ‘shop pub’. For centuries, people throughout rural Ireland have gathered in these small cozy pubs. They served as the local grocer, post office, draper, pub and community gathering place.
The back bar and counter at Rí Rá were the centerpiece of a pub that opened its doors to the Irish public in the center of a small coastal town called Annagassin, Co. Louth in the early 1900’s. The bar counter also incorporates a small ‘snug’ at one end that is typical of a country shop pub. The entry doors from the street to the shop area were salvaged from the well-known ‘Langtons Pub of Kilkenny’. There is a very old pot belly stove from Spike Island Prison in Cobh, Co. Cork, ready to warm punters during Portland’s cold winter months.
The Upstairs Bar
As you move to the upstairs area, take in the spectacular Waterfront views while enjoying a wonderful dining experience – the perfect location for parties and celebrations. ‘Rí Rá’ is Irish for fun and merriment. Our goal is to provide a fun dining experience in a unique atmosphere that appeals to all age groups. Rí Rá serves a full and varied lunch and dinner menu.
The Victorian Bar
Commonly referred to as ‘The Local’, the pub is at the heart of every community in Ireland. We like to think that Rí Rá is the Irish Local in Portland, our adopted home. Whilst we are Irish in every way – from our accents and famous sense of fun to our world renowned hospitality – we are very much at the heart of the Portland community.
Rí Rá in the Community
Here at Rí Rá, we love to bring our sense of family to the community and enjoy being involved with local community groups to make our neighborhood a better place to live, work and socialize in.
We are particularly proud of our outreach work. We are heavily involved with local charities and try to give back to the community that so graciously welcomed us to the neighborhood. We host an annual event in March for the Firefighters Children’s Burns Foundation and the Portland Plunge benefitting the Portland Trails and Toys for Tots.
Spencer became part of the Rí Rá family back in 2001 in Raleigh, North Carolina as a bartender. After a long spell with us he moved from Raleigh up to Portland as part of the ‘unofficial opening team’ and hung around for a while.
Spencer has moved from North Carolina to Maine to Georgia and back through it all again. Spencer has now returned in his capacity as General Manager to Portland, Maine, and is delighted to be back.
I started in Rí Rá in 2013, having just moved to Peaks Island with my wife and son after several years out of state
Portland had undergone a prolific growth spurt in the food & beverage industry during our years away, and the pub, which was one of the few remaining hold overs from our time before, was looking for a new chef.
I had an aversion to Jameson and Guinness, and am not a fan of U2, so it felt odd applying at an Irish Pub, but it all worked out well in the end.
After spending seven years in Lake Tahoe and Denver, I now have the privilege of calling Portland, Maine my home! With the desire to put my event management experience to work and to become ingrained in the fast-paced community of Portland, I joined the Rí Rá team in the fall of 2015.
In my time here, I have truly come to appreciate the values of hard work, teamwork, and genuine community involvement.
Chef de Cuisine
Topher Doughty, originally from Waterboro, Maine, took his first kitchen job at 16 and hasn’t looked back. His natural aptitude led him quickly up the ranks of the brigade. Never content to stagnate, he’s studied culinary art at SMCC and had the opportunity to work for a number of local chefs before moving to Portland to further define and hone his own culinary style—a style that harkens back to his own Irish heritage while firmly rooted in New England with an eye for what’s fresh, local, and novel.
15 years, 5 openings, and 3 states later I find myself managing in the city I took my first gig in what seems like a lifetime ago. For all the answers I give when asked about this job, the answer is always the same: “it’s never boring.” It’s a job that gives you the opportunity to be memorable every day, for better or worse.
Some people come just for a pint and a chat. For others, they come to us for the most important days of their lives: weddings, birthdays, showers, holidays, and sometimes even to remember the ones that they’ve lost. Being able to help make everyday something that folks will take with them for a long time to come is a pretty unique experience. And it is certainly never boring….
Born and raised in Maine, Patrick has been a fixture in Portland restaurants for 17 years. He was best known as one the top beverage directors in the region, but in more recent years, he joined the ranks of restaurant management.
Patrick prides himself on the Rí Rá motto “King of Good Times” and you will always see him sharing a smile with a guest or staff member. His gregarious nature and hospitality driven passion for the restaurant industry is a welcomed addition to Rí Rá.
Jobs and Training
Rí Rá is a busy and exciting place work. We are always on the lookout for motivated quality Managers, Bar & Wait staff, Kitchen Team and other hourly positions.
If you’re interested in working in a fun and highly rewarding atmosphere, within a great team, then email your questions and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For International inquiries regarding J-1 training opportunities with Rí Rá in the USA, please send an email to email@example.com for more details.
Meet the staff
Get to know this crazy bunch!
From Chef Kevin in the kitchen to Evan and Kevin on the bar, we have a great staff so why not get to know them a bit better.