Hit the Decks in Portsmouth
Swarms of locals head down to the waterfront to quench their thirst for fresh air, a cold drink and some fried seafood.
This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer issue of The Square magazine.
The call goes out on the first warm day of spring — the decks are open! The decks are open! Swarms of locals head down to the waterfront to quench their thirst for fresh air, a cold drink and some fried seafood. Whether you’re walking or biking downtown, or up for a ride along the ocean, there’s a basket of clams and a margarita out there with your name on it.
Take a walk to the Bow Street area of Portsmouth and you’ll have your pick of dining tables with a waterfront view. Want the waves from the Piscataqua River lapping at the dock next to your table? Poco’s, Harpoon Willy’s or Old Ferry Landing would be a good pick. Looking for an upscale menu with indoor seating? Martingale Wharf or Surf has you covered. Maybe you’d like a culinary adventure with local delicacies? In that case, Black Trumpet would be the perfect spot.
Some of our favorite deck spots along the seacoast:
Weathervane’s Lobster in the Rough
If you want to see Portsmouth from the other side of the river, tucked away on Badger’s Island is Weathervane’s Lobster in the Rough. Sit across the Piscataqua from the bustling decks of Bow Street and take in the sunset at one of the picnic tables or sitting on a stool on their pier. (Bonus: If you walk there from Portsmouth across the Memorial Bridge, you can tell all of your friends that you “walked to Maine” that day.)
31 Badger’s Island West
Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop
Entering its 50th season, Geno’s plans to do what it’s always done best: Casual daytime dining in the heart of Portsmouth’s historic South End. Family-run and family-friendly, Geno’s is great for a cup of chowder or a lobster roll lunch as you watch the local fisherman come in to the docks with the day’s catch.
Intersection of Mechanic and Hunking Streets
Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar
Arghhh, Petey’s! (Best said in a pirate voice.) This is the place to go for clam baskets, piles of fries and classic New England coastal-theme décor, with fishing nets and wide wooden oars up on the walls. Head there with a big group when you want the full beach vacation experience, or if there are just a few of you, the bar is the place to be with friendly service and classic drinks.
1323 Ocean Blvd.
Rye Harbor, NH
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
Along the banks of, you guessed it, Chauncey Creek in Kittery Point, the parking lot fills up early at this local spot. Pack a picnic of sides, BYOB, and grab a picnic table for some DIY dining. Chauncey Creek will cook up lobsters, steamers, popcorn shrimp or hot dogs for the little ones. (Sure, you could go and order the whole meal there, but what’s the fun in that?)
16 Chauncey Creek Rd.
Kittery Point, Maine
Latitudes Waterfront at Wentworth by the Sea
Looking for an island view? Latitudes has one of the best spots on the Seacoast with a rooftop bar overlooking the Wentworth Marina and fresh takes on traditional seafood standbys. After your meal, take a walk around the grounds and check out some of the yachts that anchor at the marina during peak season.
588 Wentworth Rd.
New Castle, NH
A mainstay of Perkins Cove, Barnacle Billy’s will be celebrating its 54th season this year. Fans of Billy’s come from far and wide in season to eat their steamers or one of their classic lobster rolls while overlooking the busy cove. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and their rum punch has a loyal following.