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Novare Res Bier Café

Not Rated.
Novare Res Bier CaféNovare Res Bier Café
BA SCORE
99
world-class

164 Ratings
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 9.8%
Taps: 26
Bottles: 250
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4 Canal Plz
Portland, Maine, 04101-4034
United States
phone: (207) 761-2437

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @novareresbiercf

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 114 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of opwog
opwog

Minnesota

3.7/5  rDev -17.6%

I had to grab a late dinner when arriving in Portland and saw that NR was rated well on BA and on Yelp. There seemed to be some confusion initially upon arriving of whether the kitchen was open or closed (different hours on the phone while parking, than 5 minutes later after walking in).

The pros: The food was really tasty and the beer selection was good. The prices were also good for both.

The cons (which I mention in hopes that these might change):

1) If the Red Sox are in the playoffs and somebody asks if there is a TV to watch the game in one of the rooms, the reply should not be; "it is all about the beer here." You serve mainly unshaven community college kids in pseudo-vintage t-shirts that they bought at Target. You are not above having a TV set showing the Red Sox game. I have been to half of the top beer bars in the US and all of them have TV sets.

2) If somebody's GF does not want beer and needs a second to look at the wine list (as short as it is), do not leave her for another 15 minutes having to flag wildly to get her order in while the bar is half empty.

3) Loose that "hot chicks and douchebags" soundtrack playing in there. I do not say that as the grumpy old guy, but as somebody equally aware of what far better music is readily available over that guitar-centric BS that reminded me of my worst night having to sit through that dude from Lacuna Coil.

I might be busting balls in this review, but the beer, food and prices are what is right about this place. The rest of this place should be redone from scratch because the crowd that I saw in there are the type who may write you up on Yelp today, but will move on to "farm to table" dining to impress their fake ID dates next year. You need to build a beer bar that will hold interest of the beer community and make members of that community want to come back and spread the word to others. That is far more important in a business model than temporary hipness.

10-09-2009 06:45:43 | More by opwog
Photo of Brez07
Brez07

Maine

4.63/5  rDev +3.1%

I have been going to Novare at least once a week since May. Love this place. Indoor has a basement type feel. Large bar (although 1/3 is typically ignored by the servers unless the place is busy) with 6-7 tables. Outside has a huge deck with tables, and they even recently added a Beer Hut so you can order a few types of beer on draft while outside. It can get pretty crowded Friday and Saturday nights, but during the week it's very relaxed.

25 rotating taps and usually one cask beer. Bottle list is 300+ and listed by category. One great thing I think they do is update their website with what's currently on tap.

The service can be great, but can also be so-so. It really depends on what server you get. I'd say at any given time, roughly half the servers know about the beers and can answer questions/make recommendations.

Update - since my last review, the staff at Novare has changed a bit, in a great way. All the staff I see now (mostly Shahin, Mike and Mary) know their stuff and are very attentive. Food has also been expanded, with a daily soup being offered

Hands down my favorite thing about this bar is their take on the traditional mug club. Called "The Uprising", they have a list of 230 beers and once you finish, you get an chalice engraved with your name and the date you finished. They'll fill this 20oz badboy for the 16oz price (smaller pours priced accordingly). This list has singlehandedly expanded my knowledge of beer - I knew essentially nothing prior to starting it.

The food is OK. I've only tried two of their sandwiches though. The meat and cheese plates seem pretty popular, but I don't know enough about them to comment on the quality of selection.

If you are in the Portland area, you owe it to yourself to visit the place at least once.

10-07-2009 18:22:06 | More by Brez07
Photo of mavbrew
mavbrew

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev -2.4%

Went here last month for the Dogfish night...25 taps of Dogfish plus some a 75 min. cask, had a great time, the staff was very knowledgeable and it seemed like a pretty cool place with the basement like atmosphere. Service was a little on the slower side, it was very busy so I'll give them a break on that. Although all I had were the Dogfish ales available, it seemed like the had a good bottle selection and apparently the 25 taps are on a continuous rotation. I will definitely make it back here in the future, as Portland is a great beer town.

09-30-2009 15:13:49 | More by mavbrew
Photo of BretSikkink
BretSikkink

Mexico

4.58/5  rDev +2%

Dope setting, dope beers. This place is great.

I love the basement-like setting, works really nice in foggy, damp Portland. Off the beaten path for sure - this place feels exclusive even though it's 100 feet from the tourist/shopping scene.

This was my first stop in Maine, so I grabbed an Allagash Black, then a Curieux. The wife had Dogfish Head Sah'tea, also very nice. While we weren't there for food, we did grab something to tide us over: the cheese plate we chose was fantastic and I doubt you could have picked a bad one. Everything looked good.

Cheap? Not exactly, but the pricing is premium, not luxury. You get what you pay for, and Novare Res is the good stuff. You would find me hear a LOT if I lived in greater Portland.

09-28-2009 03:59:32 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of markipa1
markipa1

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Went there on a quiet Sunday. The staff was very attentive and super knowledgeable. Gave us free samples of stuff and provided excellent suggestions. Maybe not as many taps as some other places, but what they had was great. Bar is kind of small and dark, and has somewhat of a basement feel to it. A small bar with some long tables behind it. If you are really into beer, and want to go to a place that shares your passion in Portland, ME, this is it. There is no Schlitz available, unlike another well know beer place in the area. This is just a great place for lovers of both american craft ales and belgian beers to enjoy a brew in the company of like minded invdividuals. Highly recommend. Did not try the food, so cannot comment.

09-27-2009 21:09:25 | More by markipa1
Photo of growler
growler

Massachusetts

3.18/5  rDev -29.2%

I really wanted to like this place. I came up to Portland for a long weekend. The service was horrendous and uneven. After my husband was about barely halfway through his 1st drink, the male bartender was hounding him for his next drink. However, after I had barely 2 sips left in my drink, no one would come near me. The bartenders were too busy socializing with presumed regulars. Not only that, I noticed they had a computer in the corner of the bar and we playing music from it, but they were also spending way too much time online. Since I was facing the computer, I noticed the familiar BA logo and the male bartender was pointing something out to female bartender. Normally I wouldn't care, but when I have to practically wave an empty glass around to get service. I was also sitting at one end of the bar where I was able to make eye contact or at least attempt. I think it was 4:30 on a Friday and maybe 15 customers in the whole place.

The atmosphere is cool, not too much light. Long tables inside, with maybe 10-15 bar seats. Selection was good, both tap and bottles. I had the Smuttynose Brett & I and Allagash Burnham Road. I would visit again if in the area, in hopes they have learn to step up the service. If I want potential crappy service, I can go somewhere in Boston and not drive 2 hours.

08-23-2009 22:29:35 | More by growler
Photo of luddy83
luddy83

New York

3.69/5  rDev -17.8%

I found the execution of the design to be a bit on the low rent side. There are some nice touches (taps behind the bar, the beer cooler) but also plenty of cheap touches (cabinetry at the back bar, bar stools uncomfortable due to them being very industrial with a totally flat seat, tables are utilitarian).

I found the service very bad. I tried to get the bartender's attention on a slow night and had no luck. I asked a question of the waitress who seemed shocked someone wanted to ask a question. She warmed up a bit later and was reasonably helpful in selecting a beer. She seemed knowledgeable. Later, when we tried to engage her for our next choice, she passed us off to the surly bartender, who seemed just released from military basic training and lacked all social graces.

When I tried to get the person's attention who was fiddling with the music by taking a step around the bar, I was accosted by the barman in a very belligerent manner--mind you, I'm no terrorist at 55 and generally mild mannered. He put his hand on me and I politely asked him to remove it and all he could do was parrot, "Get away from the back of the bar." It all left a rather sour taste in my mouth, I finished my beer, asked for the check, and left. I won't be in a hurry to return.

The bottled beer menu is well organized by category but the draught menu is merely a listing with alcohol content and amount poured. If you are trying to educate the uninitiated, more information would be helpful.

08-12-2009 14:47:54 | More by luddy83
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

4.43/5  rDev -1.3%

I came here for Dogfish Head night with Sam Calagione, 23 taps of DFH beer, awesome event.

They have a really nice space inside, all sorts of cool bottles and beer decorations along with a huge tap line, they've got 25 rotating taps which really is crazy for a bar this size.

To top that off though, they've got a whole bunch of awesome outdoor seating on the patio with plenty of tables and umbrellas to hang out under. They've also got a whole staff who knows their shit and will come out to your tables to get your orders.

Overall, I've got to say this was probable one of the best beer bars I've ever been to, so if you're in the Portland area it is worth a stop. Make sure to check their website as well because they have some awesome events like the DFH I went to, also Garrett Oliver came for a Brooklyn night earlier this summer and there's a Rouge night later this summer.

08-06-2009 02:19:06 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of SteveO1231
SteveO1231

Connecticut

4.95/5  rDev +10.2%

REALLY!?

Seriously, this was my third and final stop of a beer tour of Portland and I'm glad that I left this one for last because it is the best beer bar I've ever been in.

Located in the basement of an alley downtown. I feel like I was entering a trappist monk's monastery. The place is a dark little bar with very plan decor some beer stuff, but mostly dark, brick walls. The outside patio was awesome! large picnic tables in a nice courtyard area surrounded by ivy laden brick walls.

Fucking ridiculous beer list a think is was like five pages long of perfectly chosen beers. Mostly Belgian or Belgian inspired ales. If it wasn't on tap it was definitely in bottle. The staff was very friendly and informative and provided samples to help make decisions.

I sat with my wife for the better part of the afternoon at Novare Res drinking excellent beers and sampling some really good cheeses and cured meats. The place had such a good vibe everyone was very nice.

After visiting Novare Res, I want to pack up my shit and move to Portland. A MUST STOP!

Cheers!

07-26-2009 17:34:57 | More by SteveO1231
Photo of CHADMC3
CHADMC3

Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +0.9%

This place is awesome! A must visit in my opinion.

The old brick building is lined with old specialty bottles, long tables, a great bar, and low lighting. I could sit in this place all night. Great music too, laid back, and very appropriate for the surroundings. Also, there is a HUGE beer cooler/locker I could do a dance in if given the chance.

The beer menu is fantastic featuring 20+ taps (I think) and pages of bottles broken out by style and/or region. One of the better menus I have seen, but can get pricey. I had a Nogne O Imperial Stout and a Stone Ruination. My wife had a Hennepin and a St. Bernardus 12. All served in appropriate glassware and quite excellent.

The staff was extremely knowledgeable and could talk not only about the individual beers, but the breweries and could share stories about meeting the brewers. Great place for the true Geek!

Only cheese dishes, snacks, and small sandwiches are served. The prosciutto plate was fantastic as well as the hummus and fruit plate (forget name).

I will certainly be visiting Novare Res again.

In parting, the menu is a must see, absolutely great offerings for a great atmosphere.

07-02-2009 01:06:42 | More by CHADMC3
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.