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 Managing Partner to Portland, Maine, and is delighted to be back.
I started at 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.
As the Culinary Director at Rí Rá, I have been able to work with several area charities and other non-profit groups to help make a difference in our community. We are aligned with local groups such as the Portland Firefighter’s Burn Foundation, & the Maine Chapter of the March of Dimes, where all of our efforts are going directly to the aide of children and families in need. It’s been very rewarding to be part of a team that is so active in our city, and see what we consider work contribute to the well being of others.
Rí Ráis a busy, fun place to work and really has established a niche on its own little corner of the Portland waterfront. The staff and our regulars help to create a lively, spirited watering hole that is a pleasure to be a part of—so much so, that it’s not unusual to find me camped at the bar at the end of a shift with a Guinness and a whiskey, and maybe even a little U2 playing in the background…come in and join me for a round!
Regional Events & Marketing Manager
After spending seven years in Lake Tahoe and Denver, Rebecca now has the privilege of calling Portland, Maine her home! With the desire to put her event management experience to work and to become ingrained in the fast-paced community of Portland, Rebecca joined the Rí Rá team in the fall of 2015.
In her time here, Rebecca has truly come to appreciate the values of hard work, teamwork, and genuine community involvement.
Front of House Manager
Charity is a Southern Texas transplant having moved to Maine in 2015. She joined the Ri Ra team in 2017 as a server and fell in love with the location, the people and the food. It wasn’t long before she was ready for more of a challenge and in 2019 she became an Assistant Manager.
When she’s not working, Charity enjoys spending time with her husband and three boys, gaming, laying in the sun, and avoiding cold weather.
Jobs and Training
Rí Rá is a busy and exciting place to work. We are always on the lookout for motivated Managers, Bartenders, Servers, Line Cooks and other hourly positions.
If you’re interested in working in a fun and highly rewarding atmosphere, with a great team, then email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Current open positions can also be foundhere!
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 Tara and Forest on the bar, we have a great staff so why not get to know them a bit better.