Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 127 | Reviews: 112 | Show All Ratings:
4.85/5 rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$
I haven't rated a beer establishment yet, which is strange as I spend 75 percent of my time in them. Just spent a day visiting Portland - great beer town. Even beats the other portland in Oregon. Found this bar on BA and agree with all the recommendations. Such a diverse list of beer and the atmosphere in there is great. Wait staff was very helpful. They recommended that I take it easy with the barley wines which was excellent advice - although I ignored it and now surprisingly my wife is telling me I ruined dinner at Street Co which I dispute since I don't recall dinner. Two solid thumbs up for Novares Res
02-09-2014 16:28:02 | More by BradMacMullin
4.74/5 rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Off the beaten path. My first time in Maine - I could safely say: I'd be a regular there if I moved to Maine! Excellent selection of beers. Service was great: knowledgable & friendly staff. Atmosphere: because you feel like you're in a cellar, one could stay way too long! Loved it!
01-13-2014 15:56:40 | More by shahn
4.25/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Regular visitor to novare, love this place. Kinda hidden off exchange street, a definite European feel with the beer garden and wood tables. Always an awesome draft list and a great way to educate people or friends to beers. Can always find a beer that fits a persons palate. Service can be a bit spotty, depending on the bartender, but that really has to do more with individual personalities than anything else.
12-20-2013 20:02:23 | More by Twobeards
4.69/5 rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Off hectic Exchange Street, through an iron gate beneath a Key Bank sign, and comfortably hidden away from the tourists and bustle of the Old Port, in a quiet courtyard-parking lot, the ardent beer lover will find himself (or herself) here at this paean to the Belgian café. It is a must when in town.
Upon entering the dim and intimate brick-wood interior, there are two choices: turn left into a separate lounge area furnished with black comfy chairs; or remain in the bar area with several communal tables and two bars: a moderately-sized one that dominates the room, or the very small one at the far right (adjacent to the kitchen). All of this surrounded by beer paraphernalia galore. Think of it as being in the basement of the Beer God.
My visit occurred during the recent Portland Beer Week and on tap (7 drafts) was one of the city’s newer brewers, Rising Tide. Of course, Novare Res, which is Latin for “Start a Revolution,” specializes in area crafts, so there were many other locals available to quench; such as four taps from Sebago, seven from Allagash and several from Maine’s Marshall Wharf. This being a Belgian café, they also had about ten draft Belgians and a massive spiral-bound list of international bottles.
The menu was eclectic but limited. My chicken curry wrap was tasty. The service excelled in every way with the attentive servers being efficient and well versed in beer, and the crafts poured at the correct temperature in the appropriate glassware. Novare Res is family-owned, so this must be one reason.
This place is simply one great place to hang out, quaff superb beers and to experience a seriously pleasant evening. No wonder Beer Advocate rates it as World Class. Start the revolution without me; I’ll be at Novare Res!
11-14-2013 18:03:15 | More by jjboesen
4.16/5 rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
I think it's going to be difficult to find a place in New England that's doing a better job with Beer lists than Novare Res. They have amazing selections, Cantillon is almost always available, and there's a list long enough to put some wine bars to shame.
The food is good, but there's something missing and I don't quite know how to put my finger on it. I've ordered food from them 3-5 times in the last year. Every time the foods been good, but not something I feel compelled to order again. So I'm happt to be eating, but I'm not thinking, "I need to go back there for the ___."
Service is hit or miss. Some of the servers appear to favor favorite/regular customers. I've had to ask for my bill or stop them for another drink most times. Increased tipping doesn't appear to impact the quality or frequency of attention/service here.
09-05-2013 03:43:19 | More by Kirk_Grant
4.52/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Come here on a beautiful summer day and you'll be tempted to stay until the fall.
Maybe it was the weather. A beautiful summer night in the mid 70s and I got to sit under the trees and drink great beer with a few colleagues. Plenty to choose from each with an ample description on the menu. While the draft selection was large, but not gigantic, there were many styles available. Everything was top notch. While it was hard to rate the service, since the beer server was quickly there and gone, it was, if anything, attentive. Unfortunately, after three beers, it was time to go. As nice as it was outside, the brief glimpse I got of the inside made me think that this was about as perfect as it could get. Cool, basement pub like atmosphere that was open and large. I was sad to leave, knowing that it was unlikely I'd be back on a regular basis.
One of the best beer serving establishments I've ever been to.
08-03-2013 19:20:26 | More by LittleDon
4.59/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
You gotta love this place. An absolute beer mecca. Pages upon pages of craft beers, both aged and hard to find specialties. Their taplist is always outstanding. I've been on a normal weekeday and found a great selection and was there on a busy Saturday night for their Dogfish Head tap takeover. They always seem to have something special behind the bar as well, just ask nicely and try and be informed. I've tried many new brews based on the bartenders recommendation and have rarely been disappointed. A great selection of Maine Beer Co, not surprising since they're so close. This is the place to come and drink. No TVs and a really cool outdoor patio that's perfect in the summer. I like having the option of each locale. I've only ever ordered a cheese and meat spread and it was terrific so I can't go too in depth on their food but if that was any preview, it's really good. Prices are fair for sure, especially when you consider their selection. This is my favorite spot in Portland for craft beer.
08-01-2013 14:33:30 | More by rjp217
4.03/5 rDev -10%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Went there Sunday afternoon, great selection, heavy on Belgium selections. I tried something from Marshall Wharf from Maine. They have a good selection on draft from Maine. I sat down at a table with my two kids, took the bartender over 10 minutes to even come over to our table, another couple had the same problem.
We ordered some food, he forgot out appetizer. Menu is not very extensive, but it was good. They have a nice outside area with tables.
Overall the beer selection is fantastic, I just loved the vibe of the place. It was a little of a beer geeky crowd, but I think that just made the atmosphere better.
If our server would have had a more welcoming tone , it would have capped off a great day in Maine. I will definitely come back, the selection and vibe is just to good to let it be ruined by one bad server.
07-01-2013 23:03:42 | More by dancaplette
4.23/5 rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Had a difficult time finding this place, but after stopping a few locals, we found the enterance (which is almost like heading down a back alleyway).
Anyway, on the Saturday night we stopped there, the place had a pretty lively atmosphere. Outside, there were plenty of tables and lots of room - great for enjoying the weather and for larger groups. The inside was a smallish, dim bar/cafe like setting and was very crowded. It took probably 20 minutes to get a beer, particularly since the bartenders seemed to prioritize chatting/servicing their friends. After chatting awhile with another patron, I was served and the bartender seemed to be pretty knowledgeable on their lineup. The taplist had plenty to get excited about - I think I had beers from Pretty Trees and Cisco - and the bottle list was also very good. My beer came in proper glassware and I got the impression that it was definitely a beer-centric place.
As a whole, I enjoyed my stop at Novare and would consider it one of the better beer bars in Portland.
06-27-2013 21:29:03 | More by GeezLynn
4.26/5 rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
I have been a regular of Novare Res since the place opened. It is a beer nerd's paradise for multiple reasons. It is tucked away from the beaten path, it has a communal environment where it's very easy to start up conversations with other patrons, all the servers and the owner Erik are very knowledgeable about the beers on tap, as well as the large bottled selection, and the tap selection itself changes very regularly. The most important aspect of Novare Res though, is how community driven the establishment is. Tap takeovers are very common, ranging from annual events like Smuttfest (Smuttynose takeover), to more relaxed brewery introductions from the likes of Pretty Things, etc. The service is sometimes questionable, and the food is over priced and limited, but these are minor setbacks for the overall experience.
06-23-2013 18:22:29 | More by supercodes
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 127 ratings.