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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing CompanyMilly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company
Based on:
35 Beers
272 Hads
Place Score: 87
Reviews: 37
Visits: 53
Avg: 3.8
pDev: n/a
Taps: 15
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

500 North Commercial St
Manchester, New Hampshire, 03101-1151
United States
phone: (603) 625-4444

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

On *Firkin Fridays*, we will be tapping a new cask ale which will be available throughout the weekend until it's all gone. Depending on production and consumption, a new cask will be tapped every Friday or other Friday. Look for Firkin Friday details on our website and in our email newsletter.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Visits: 53
Photo of waughbrew
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2

Under the bridge street bridge, in the basement of an old mill building. Dark, dirty,and a little smoky. Three main areas - first you walk into a big open space that is where the dancing/djs/bands must happen. Down a few stairs brings you to the dining area with a bunch of tables and a couple of video games. Procede further and you get to the cavernous bar area, with plenty of seating and room to hang out, a TV, a chalkboard with the beers on tap. Right behind the bar is the brewery with all of the tanks out in the open.
My party sat down in the dining section on a Thursday at 5:30PM and waited for 10 minutes. Nothing. Went up to the bar to see if we could get some attention, and it took me 5 minutes to get the bartender's attention. I was practically waving my hand in the guy's face. After ordering some drinks from our new waitress, we waited another 10 minutes. Nothing. The place was almost empty except for the bar, and the waitress had "forgotten" about us! The porter was nice. After waiting 30 more minutes, our appetizer sampler was served. Pretty crappy. Seemed like microwaved frozen food. The IPA was not good. The scotch was decent but not much to my liking. We decided to eat our main meal somewhere else.
This place is definitely a bar and should not try to be a restaurant. Despite the crap service, this strikes me as a good place to hang out with your guy buddies and have a few beers. Might not be a place for the ladies (the two I was with said it was dirty, shady, and not a place they would go to again). With happy hour from 4-7pm m-f including 1/2 price apps and $1 pints, I would go again just for that.

A guy's place to relax and have some beers.

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Photo of ColForbin
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Milly's Tavern is located in the basement of an old textile mill in Manchester (hence the name). There is no obvious sign outside that they brew their own beer. It has nice brick walls and big old windows, but unfortunately, not much thought was put into the decor. The tables and chairs seem like they came from a rummage sale. Some people might like this, but I think in such a grand old building, it might be nice if it was a little more put together.

We were there early on a Friday night and the crowd was dominated by locals. My wife and I sat at the bar. I ordered a Manch-Vegas IPA and my wife (being pregnant) ordered a root beer. She was told that they were all out of home-brewed root beer. Later, however, we saw another bartender serving the root beer to someone else. I flagged him down and asked him to get one for my wife - he had to go to the fridge in the kitchen to get it, but at least he didn't lie like the first guy. I was pretty disappointed.

The IPA, however, was not disappointing - extremely hoppy and fresh with a ton of grapefruity cascade goodness. The food was pub fare - the menu wasn't extensive, but what they had, they made well. The chili for 4.25 is a huge bowl with fresh jalapenos on top served with chips. It was a great meal for not a lot of money. I was traveling, so I only could sample one beer, but if it is any indication, the rest of them should be pretty good.

We missed the happy hour by about 15 minutes. It was advertised as being from 4-7 Mon-Fri and sounded like a great deal: $1 drafts, 1/2 price appetizers and $2 well drinks (yes, they do have a full liquor license). They also serve a couple bottled macros for those of you with less-enlightened friends. Milly's is a pretty good place to stop for a pint if you are passing through, and with live music on the weekends, would be a pretty good place to hang out if you live in the area.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have now (26FEB04) added a food review to my original review below. Dined here last night prior to a Monarchs game w/Alewife and my Daughters. All dug a combo platter appetizer of mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and potato skins. Alewife and I dug our Bo's Burgers, and the girls wolfed their chicken finger platters. Typical pub-grub, yes, but plentiful and tasty. We don't go for any fancy fru-fru stuff. And, apps are 1/2 price from 4-7P Monday thru Friday (as well as $1.00 pints!!! Except the Bo's Scotch Ale, at 8% abv, was a whopping $2.00 per pint!!). Service was good, overall, but the place smells smoky even when few smokers are present. Only bummer.

overall: 4.08
atmosphere: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

*** ***

(Original review of 21APR02): Milly's is located on the site of the former Stark Mill Brewery, which closed in late 2001. Same head-brewer running the show. Had 9 biers on tap yesterday, with a pilsner-type lager, IPA, Scotch ale, porter and stout among them. IPA and Scotch were both quite good; and samples of the others were similarly decent. Service good, but we were there at an off-peak time. Will have to see how they are at busy times... Pints were $3.25ea, except the Scotch Ale (8%abv), at $5.00/pint. They do 6- or 8-bier samplers, too. Prosit!


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Photo of BillyBrew
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I really dig this place and wish I appreciated it more when I worked in town.

It took me a few trips to find it, but it is almost under the Bridge Street bridge. Pretty much the basement of an old mill, down a flight into the door and down another half-flight to the bar. A very dark bar even in the afternoon with windows along one side. Very little decoration. A few large, brewery-related paintings of Stark Mill Brewery brews (from before my time). I enjoy how a great brewpub is tucked away in a dark basement, in a dark mill, in a dark city. I hear the nightlife at Milly's is active, but I have never been later the about 7 pm.

I have enjoyed all of thier brews that I have tried, only passing on a few of about ten or 12. They all are extra smooth from extra time spent conditioning. The extra effort is very appreciated. One note is the cream ale, as rare as they are, tasety and smooth.

I have never been there with more than about ten people total, so the service has been great.

The food is limited, but pretty solid and reasonable.

Well worth the effort to find.


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Photo of artied2
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Milly's Tavern in Manchester under the bridge....as you will have read elsewhere, used to be called Stark Mill Brewery. Food's OK, the french onion soup was actually very good, mostly pub grub and non-spectacular at that. Good selection of brewed beers, one of my favorite IPAs here, but something for every taste; red ale, brown ale, porter, stout.... Art the brewer keeps a variety of offerings. The only unfortunate thing is their tendency to keep serving beer long after it has lost its sparkle. For example, here it is September/almost October, and today's special was Summer Wheat for a buck a pint....ouch. Art told us there's an Oktoberfest and a pumpkin ale aging, and should be ready "soon". It is certainly worth the trip up the turnpike to give them a try. In a large venue like a beer summit, the beers from Millie's (the fresh ones, not the Summer Wheat in the dead of winter) would compare well with a lot of their better known counterparts. Smoky place sometimes and usually empty on Saturday afternoons, which allows me to get my butt kicked by my wife at the pool tables in the back without any witnesses.
Give it a try...

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Photo of ecoboy
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

From Stark Mills (whose coasters they still use) to Milly's I have seen evidence of slippage in several facets of this location's pub. It makes me a touch sad because, like Charlie Brown's Xmas tree "it's not a bad little [pub,] it just needs a little love."

The space is enticing in a nice New England mill way. Visible beams and ducts. But on a recent Tuesday evening visit, the men's bathroom looked really worn, my stool had a tear in the cusion, dead bugs lay unswept up on the windowsill. It's got a cigarette aroma even with the door open for fresh air. The place needs to be refurbished, bigtime.

The beer is a mixed bag: the scotch was a sweet hammer of a big beer, the IPA was crisp and hoppy. When I gave a friend a taste of my "red tail" he reponded with "that's the worst beer I've ever tasted." Unexpected sour notes dominated this brew.

There was but one cook in the kitchen at 6 p.m. on a weekday. A round of six appetizers took 30 minutes to get to the table. The food is pretty good: fresh chunks of jalepeno on the nachos, rather than canned. Real zing to the buffalo sauce on the fingers. But isn't a place destined to fail if they are unprepared for a party of 7 on a weekday mealtime? Our bartender did her best to guide our taste buds; one friend noting the 8-choice menu, but unable to read it asked if they did a pilsener. She said no, but recommended the commendable cream ale.

Caveat emptor, BA's. Plan ahead (dollar pints at happy hour!!!) and this place may reward you. But I found it a disappointment on my most recent visit.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Tucked away at 500 Commercial St. near downtown Manchester, NH, almost directly under the Bridge St. overpass, Milly's Tavern is the year old reincarnation (opened January 2002) of the former Stark Mill Brewery. The owner is the same, but the staff, including brewer/manager Art Maynard, is all new.

The brewpub occupies part of a first floor/basement of a mill building near the Merrimack River with parking in the rear. Being partly underground, there are not a lot of windows. Near the entrance is a stage used for live musical acts.

The bar is L-shaped, with the brewing kettles right behind the bar, in full view. The bar is formica topped, and surrounded by square-shaped, fabric-upholstered stools. There are a few televisions around the pub, including a big screen, projection TV in the stage area. The walls are exposed brick and the ceiling is painted but unfinished.

They now have 8 of their beers on tap regularly, with up to 3 more. They offer 6- and 8-beer samplers, but they are very generous with free samples. The bar serves several bottled beers and standard liquors. They also have a Mug Club.

The interior of this brewpub is not overly fancy, but the staff (and some customers) are very friendly, in the true spirit of a Pub. They seem genuinely interested in hearing their customers' comments, and seem to really want to make this place a success.

As for the 11 beers on tap, I have reviewed them elsewhere, but in general they were good to very good. I particularly liked the Manch-Vegas IPA (apparently named after Manchester's nickname), a very well-hopped, flavorful IPA. I also liked Milly's Oatmeal Stout, and two seasonals: Bo's Scotch Ale and the Pumpkin Ale. The brewer let me sample a new brew, an Espresso Stout, which should be available soon. He seems very willing to experiment with new beers, and he said his goal is to try to cover the gamut of styles. They also make a rootbeer.

The pub offers a fairly typical brewpub menu, and I sampled a blue cheese burger and fries which were very good.

In summary, I was quite pleasantly impressed with Milly's Tavern, and I will definitely be back. I think it is worth the drive from Boston, especially if you are driving north through New Hampshire. The pub is only a mile or so off the Granite St. exit (Exit 5) off I-293 N, which itself is not far from I-93.


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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company in Manchester, NH
87 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.