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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing CompanyMilly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company
BA SCORE
87
very good

46 Ratings
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Active Beers: 27
Beer Ratings: 173
Beer Avg: 3.63
Taps: 15
Bottles: 0
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 

Notes:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

Too many miles to cover and too little time to take have taken in everything yesterday, but if you'd seen the crazy Trouble map; pinned locations, hours of operation, directions to everywhere from everywhere, etc., you'd know that it was all planned out quite efficiently. That's how we roll, it's true. Soon we'd start heading back west through Vermont and out to Albany but it's early yet. We'd seen what we wanted to see thus far except for Milly's, which as an early opener, would serve as an acceptable backtracker for lunch...

Milly's is not an old street corner tavern but rather a large cavernous basement brewpub in one of the many old brick buildings in an industrial cluster on the Merrimack River. There's an elevated area for bands just off to one side of the entrance, and a small attached coffee shop to the other side. Down the stairs to the main seating area; 8 tables, a couple of raised bar tables and a gaming corner (Phil's Golf Game 2007 Live and a Simpson's pinball machine). Just beyond that, a large "L" shaped faux marble formica topped bar seating 2 dozen. The barback is a cupboard counter with a piece above holding glassware & tiered booze. A similar unit around the bend with a few towers of one or two taps each, and then a tower of 8 taps at opposite ends of the bar. Behind the bar, 2 rows of fermenters and a copper mash tun. The standard tap selections are listed on a slat chain board and the seasonals on a dry erase board. 3 rows of drop chain link poles hold mug club mugs above and growlers dangle all down the line. A single mounted TV on the corner post. An adjacent bar counter off the front seats 10 on each side of it, and more on the near wall and down around the bend running the far wall towards the rear, where sits a pair of small pool tables and seating in a raised space. A non smoking party room sits separate back there, with a 12 seat marble topped bar, lots of brick and strange seemingly misplaced pillars, 8 tables, nice space.

Ordered lunch; she burgered, and I had a cup of chicken noodle soup and the chicken stir fry, both were good.

We took in all 12 beers on 2 samplers of 6, served in small boxes with rope handles. The Fisher Cat Ale was pale, light, crisp; the Mt Uncanoonuc Golden Cream Ale, a slight hop bitterness and a little sweet; the Amoskeag Harvest Ale, a sweet aroma, golden, slight malt flavor; Tashas Red Tail Ale, copper colored, sweet maltiness, toffee & fruitness; the General John Stark Dark Porter, full bodied, roasty, chocolatey, quite nice; Milly's Oatmeal Stout, sturdy, sweet, dry & rich; the Manch Vegas IPA, Cascade, nice hoppiness; Bo's Scotch Ale, a malt bomb, al-co-hol, and the 4 seasonals, the Canterbury Ale, strange aroma, ick bitterness, may be past it's time; the Hefeweizen, unfiltered, banana, clove and some vanilla; the Innocent Blonde, a nice Belgian golden, fruity, sweet candy, a nice beer; and the Marathon Mild, dark, a slight roastiness, and some maltiness.
And the wildcard... a bottle of the limited release Napoleon's Waterloo, a wild ale with Brettanomyces, golden, tart, slight carbonation. I liked the General John Stark Dark Porter & Innocent Blonde the best.

Then brewer Mike Roy came out and talked with us for a while, that was cool. Some nice beers, here, and a good stop in the opposite direction from where we need to be, where we need to be getting on to.

slander, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%

A bit hard to find for a small city, do not follow the Google maps direction, rather we went one street after West Bridge and then turned South. Place is in a basement and the environment is a lot different than the more social and upscale Strange Brew. But it is a brewpub and they try to fill every tap. A number of very drunk though passive people as well as families here for a late afternoon. Lots of tables, this is primarily a band place. The brewmaster alone knew the beers, its the fifth one inside of a year, but he certainly knew his stuff. I can see him opening his own place sometime. The feature for me was the Hoplicious, like a 1.5X IPA. Guest taps would be a good idea, and perhaps lead to rationalizing the product line. $1 pints happy hour from their regular not high abv. You can't beat that, though the staff was somewhat overwhelmed pouring pints for people having several.

Sammy, Jul 15, 2009
Photo of akorsak
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

En route to The Wedding.

Atmosphere: Milly's is in the basement of an office complex, hidden alongside a cheesecake shop. If you're coming from the lower lot, you'd be inclined to miss the entrance and be forced to double back. Once inside and down a short flight of stairs, the dining area and bar await. Tables first followed by the bar and more tables. The layout is rather large, plenty of space. A stage, immediately on entrance, hosts music at night. The bar covers at least 90 degrees and has taps in multiple areas.

Quality: The whole package was nice. Food and drinks were good; Dan the brewer and I had a chance to chat (he learned the ropes at Market Cross in Carlisle, PA). The late lunch resulted in an empty restaurant, perfect for our monsters.

Service: Service was prompt, aided by the low population. As more people trickled in, things slowed down but not considerably.

Selection: Eight to ten beers on tap, including a few cask offerings. The oatmeal stout is a winner, as is the foreign extra stout. The Scotch ale, I was not so keen on. I left with a growler of a mild porter. An excellect selection.

Food: Sandwiches and entrees, including grub for kiddies. I had the buffalo chicken wrap, serviceable. There are enough options to keep most people happy.

akorsak, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of Bierman9
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

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!

8

Bierman9, Feb 26, 2004
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

http://www.millystavern.com/

UncleJimbo, Feb 17, 2003
Photo of ecoboy
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%

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.

ecoboy, Sep 10, 2003
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

This is my kind of bar. Nice, wide open, with a ton of bar space. I was here on a Thursday night, so I don't know how crowded it gets on the weekends, but the atmosphere was great. You can see all the brewing equipment when you approach the bar. When I went in they had at least 15 beers on tap, so selection is definitely a plus. The staff was friendly enough, but they seemed more tuned up as normal city bar staff versus beer aficianados. I could be wrong, as I didn't probe too deep, but that was how it seemed. I didn't inquire about any food, so I can't comment on any of that. The beer was good, and the atmosphere was good, so I will be returning. Good spot in Manchester.

GarthDanielson, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, with maybe six patrons, this place looks pretty shabby. I bet there's more atmosphere on a busy night. My wife and I sat at the bar and watched the brewer working. In this huge place, the brewing equipment is in the center, with the bar and tables around it. We enjoyed watching and conversing with the brewer.

The beers, I think, are what people go to Milly's for. It's certainly not the food, which is pub food at its most ordinary. There are eight beers that are always on tap and, when we were there, seven specialty beers. The specialty beers included Li'l Ivan Extra Stout, Illicit Affair (a lambic), Bold Horizons (a Berliner weiss), Hoplicious (an APA), Ploughman's Cherry Porter, Heidelberg Hefe, and an ESB. The Hoplicious was quite good, and my wife enjoyed the hefe. I had a small taste of Bold Horizons, and liked that as well.

We had excellent service, and I think that's because the bartender really enjoys her work, not that there were so few people in the place.

A good place to visit. Ignore the ambience and focus on the beer.

lordofthewiens, May 30, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev +1%

2/12/2011
Milly's is weird! I want to say that their is a decent brewpub in town, and sometimes there is. Other times I go here and can't understand why they would serve that to customers. The staff is normally friendly and attentive. The food is usually decent for standard pub fare. The best deal is weekdays between 4 and 7 when appetizers are half price and normal drafts are 1 or 2 dollars. Weekend nights you will normally incur a cover charge and their will be a loud band.

3/4/2007
Milly's is not far from on the way home from work for me. Like some of the previous posters have said this place is in a basement, its dimly lit and hearkens back to a time in my past. The beer makes up for those short comings and then some. They have a good selection of regular brews, and always have more that a couple of seasonals or limited edition brew. Every once in a while you'll get to try one of their cask conditioned brews. Get there between 4 and 7 and the drafts are a buck with half price appetizers. If you want to take some home they will sell you a growler.

johnnnniee, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of gixxerman
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%

Hmm, where do I start. first of all this place is in the basement level of what I belive was once an old mill or something. I was there at 4:30 for the $1 a beer happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7). There was a very mixed crowd, from suits, to laborers, and a few college kids. Definitely a come as you are type of atmosphere. It is a bit smokey, so if you are bothered by smoke be forwarned. The place is big enough, though, that you should be able to find a not-so-smokey spot somewhere. The crowd was very friendly and conversation was easy to find.

Oh, the beer. Well ,I tried the oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale and evil eye. None disappopinted, and the price is right on. I dare you to try and find a better beer value. They have the eight staples, plus the 4 seasonal. The seasonal selection when I was there was the Evil Eye, punpkin ale, hopnoxious, and blueberry ale - this one will set you back $2.

Ok, the food - not so good. Not terrible, sort of typical pub grub, but I don't think I would revisit this place for the food, just the beer. I would stop before of after dinner for a few.

The service was top notch, the barmaid was very pleasant and attentive, but not overbearing. The kind of service you usually appreciate, but is sometimes hard to find. She was very knowledgeable about the beer and answered any question I threw at her.

Overall, a great cheap place to go, spend under $10 and drink some great beer, in a very relaxed atmosphere and good conversation. If I am ever back in Manchester, I will be sure to stop back.

gixxerman, Dec 06, 2006
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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company in Manchester, NH
87 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.