It’s been around since 1898, though it has been damaged by fire and storms and is now only about half its original length. The Pier in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, is a tourist magnet. If you visit the town you just have to walk it from beach end to ocean end. Some sort of compulsion I guess, because the shops are pretty predictable.
There are several bars, which I suppose isn’t surprising for a tourist trap. I haven’t been to the ones at the ocean end of the pier, but I am told the view is great and the food reasonable. I have been to the bar closest to the beach, Hooligans, drawn in a few years ago by the sounds of the singer performing there. I didn’t have to go in to hear him, but he was worth sticking around for. If you want to sit you need to go in. I even went back the next evening. The establishment had a nice ambience, though when you are on vacation most places do.
Aside from the places that serve alcohol there are several fast-food choices also: pizza, fries and pretty much everything else that’s fast and probably not that healthy if consumed in large quantities. The rules are different when you are on vacation. I don’t recall ever eating at Pier Pizza, but over the years I’ve samples Pier Fries (the original of which is no longer found on The Pier but up the street) on occasion and found them to be quite satisfactory. These lowbrow food selections don’t show up on the Pier’s website.
On the Pier you can have someone sketch your portrait ($20 if I remember correctly), get a henna tattoo (popular with the kids) and buy souvenirs and clothing. Given that this is the US, you can also buy a gun. Relax though, this particular weapon shoots marshmallows, propelled by your breath. (When a child shot me with one last week it took a couple of seconds for me to figure out what had hit me. His parents were not impressed with him.) I was tempted, but not really. I don’t like marshmallows and I know there are rules against bringing guns into Canada.
The whole experience is definitely lowbrow, this is not the apex of American culture (I hope). But a visit once a year is kinda fun.