Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 152 | Reviews: 113 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by ToasterChef:
4.9/5 rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
In a town full of enjoyable bars, Novare Res quickly became my regular hang-out. The selection of beers is amazing; they only stock the finest beers (no BMC, ever). The bottle list spans numerous pages and is organized by country and style, with bottle size, price and ABV clearly listed. The draft list is constantly changing, and surprisingly often you can find a beer on tap that is extremely rare or unique (bourbon barrel aged Allagash brews, for example). The food menu is limited, but it works; a few hot sandwiches and a selection of meats and cheeses. Occasionally, they will over something special, such as grilled sausages cooked outside on their deck.
That atmosphere is fitting for a bar built in the basement of a former bank. The bottle room is in the old vault! The lights are generally kept low (and get dimmer as the night progresses) and the music is played loud (my only complaint about the place is that sometimes the music is so loud you can't converse, but that's rare). There are plenty of empty bottles on display, including all of the staff's KTG empties and a number of Black Alberts. The back room features some nice couches, a fireplace, and two dart boards (personally I don't play darts, but I've heard that the boards are terrible). Overall, it's a place that when you first walk in, you can imagine spending hours here.
My favorite aspect of Novare is their take on a mug club. Called the Uprising, entrants lay down $20 and get a list of 230 bottles they stock. As you drink each one of the list, it gets checked off by a staff member. Once you've had them all, you are officially a member of the Uprising. You get a key to the Chalice room, where you can store your personallized 24oz glass. From that point forward, any draft you order, no matter what size glass it should be poured in, is served in your Chalice--at the normal price. If you finish the list in a year, you even get your entry fee back. It's a fun way to learn a lot about beers, as every style and country represented on the menu is found on the list.
Lastly, the staff is top-notch. Each of them has tried every beer available and can provide suggestions to anyone who walks in. They are all friendly--to the customers and each other. It's as if they are all part of one big family. Make a few trips and soon they'll be greeting you by name when you walk in. Novare is truly a treasure and a beer bar that every BA should visit.
04-15-2009 13:29:11 | More by ToasterChef
More User Reviews:
4.95/5 rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
When I pass from this life, I won't have to go far to get to Heaven. Novare Res is only about 15 minutes away.
It's tucked in an alley off Exchange Street and the elevation of the place makes you feel like you've walked into the catacombs of a Belgian abbey with the most beautiful beer selection you're likely to see in your lifetime.
These folks are the first to get Cantillon in the state. They get things on draft you never knew existed on draft on this side of the planet. Fou'Foune, anyone? De Struise, Tilquin, De La Senne? Sure!
There's a section of the menu specifically dedicated to rotating Maine drafts - and they're always amazing.
The bottle menu is a laminated spiral binder. There's a page dedicated to lambics. Am I dead yet? Somebody pinch me.
There's a room, under lock and key, inside which are housed huge chalices won by members of the Uprising after consuming beers representing every possible style from all over the world. These people are either wealthy, crazy, brilliant, or all three. The chalices may be used to consume any beer on the draft menu at the regular price. They've earned it.
Their annual tap takeovers are legendary. They're as nice and polite and helpful as can be. They have a classy outdoor deck with Cornhole. They have a back room with a fireplace surrounded by dozens of spent bottles of Lou Pepe and Lord knows what else. They have a daily sushi special, the best banh mi sandwich in Maine, and a killer hot dog. I've discovered more amazing music there than I know what to do with.
No fan of beer should enter the State of Maine without going to Novare Res. There's no excuse not to.
And now it's late and I have to go to bed before I change my mind and drive to Novare for a nightcap.
07-09-2014 01:58:36 | More by millionsuns
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.