Babs and Nance: RiRa

January 14, 2016

Today’s post comes from my mother, Babs, and my sixth grade teacher, Nance. Follow these two petite ladies as they find the most budget friendly happy hours in the area. Babs sent this review via email, with the subject line, MAKE IT BETTER.  So this write up is sure to be insipring.  Also, the opening photograph has been through every filter my iPhone has to offer, and this is the best I could come up with.  Might be time to upgrade Mom’s phone.

It is twilight on Friday night, which means I am heading out at 4:30 p.m. with the hopes of getting home in time for Jeopardy. No problem for Nance and I. We are going to RiRa where happy hours ends at seven. This may make it a good spot for you younger folks. There is no need to run down the street (as we have been known to do) to make sure your happy hour drink order is in by six.

DECOR: RiRa is an Irish pub in Portsmouth right in Market Square. The restaurant is housed in an old bank and your eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful ceiling above. If you come here for dinner, don’t miss the opportunity to eat with a group in what was once a bank vault. For all you die-hard soccer (or football) fans, Ri Ra is the local place to watch a game. Nance and I were lucky enough to witness the US Women win the World Cup at Ri Ra this past summer. Go USA!


Live music is offered on many nights, but we are usually on our way out as the band sets up. Some might say this is the downside of frequenting happy hour but, as you may recall, I have a longstanding social commitment with Alex Trebek.

By far the best entertainment is sitting at one of their outdoor tables in the warm season and people-watching. Market Square is a great place to see and hear street buskers as well as a cornucopia of locals, tourists, and characters that frequent the busy intersection.

Food and Drink:  We had a few other friends with us, so we sat back, enjoyed our first glass of pinot grigio, and discussed Nancy’s solo trip to Africa in March. She is wondering if they have happy hour in the bush areas of Botswana. Time for for a small heads-up here: If you are vertically challenged, select your seat at the high tables carefully. Some are lower than the others, which will prompt you to ask for an adult booster seat—and from experience, I can tell you up front that they don’t have any.

Although we are mourning the loss of the half-priced burgers that we used to split on Mondays (We never did find out why it was discontinued, but hopefully the special will be returned at some point), there are several other good options for our budget. The menu offers some apps at half price, so we shared the chicken tenders and potato cakes. The tenders are fresh, crispy on the outside, and perfectly tender on the inside. The serving is large—even between the two of us, we could not finish them. I loved the potato pancakes with sour cream and balsamic vinaigrette. Our waiter, Michael, was friendly and charming without being over the top, and had no problem with four separate checks for six people!

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Total bill: Three glasses of pinot grigio, chicken tenders, and potato cakes – $22.90

So we give RiRa a two thumbs up for value, ambience, and service.

Babs and Nance will return!

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