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Novare Res Bier Café

Not Rated.
Novare Res Bier CaféNovare Res Bier Café

188 Ratings
Ratings: 188
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 9.35%
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

None, yet.

(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 188 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of luddy83
3.69/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of SteveO1231
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5


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!


Photo of CHADMC3
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

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.

Photo of tendermorsel
4.58/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I finally had a chance to check out this place on a recent trip to Portland for the Gargamel release. I had high hopes for this place as I knew Eric the owner from his Moan and Dove days. It exceeded all my expections.

First off the location is near perfect. Right in the middle of downtown Portland in the middle of all the action. Perfect scores for atomsphere. Tons of beer decarations. Gorgous wood panneling on the bar and classic tables and furnature. Appearently this was all hand made by Eric and his family. The best looking bar I have been to in a long time.

Great tap and bottle list. We were there for Belgian weeks so the taps were mostly Belgian. I had a Mad Bitch. My buddy had a Cantillon Iris. There were about 15-20 taps and all were high quality.

The service was great. I ran into Eric at Allagash earlier in the day and he offered to call his staff have and have them open an hour early just so we could check the place out and avoid a later drive to Boston. The staff was great. Quick to talk about beer and very knowlegable too. I liked the fact that they were doing a mug club there just like the Moan and Dove.

The food was OK.. One of my friends ordered a small meat plate which looked good. I didn't come here for the food however.

Overall I would highly reccomend this place. I plan on going back again soon. I would be a regular here if I lived aroud here. I wish I could have stayed for more than one beer.

Photo of abass
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Oh thank God, a place in Portland where the people who serve the beer know what they are talking about! I've only been here twice, but it's a interesting little place that's out of the way, which seems to keep out the general bar going public and cater only to those of us that appreciate a good beer, which is great. Decor is set in the basement of a large building, interesting kind of dark tavern-like atmosphere. Selection is absolutely excellent, i'm willing to bet there's nowhere else in Maine that can come close. the second time I was there I asked for something relatively inexpensive, and the barkeeper chose 355ml of Witkap off tap and a Stone IPA , both were outstanding and a good choice by the staff. Does get very, very busy (and crowded) late at night, maybe need to consider hiring more staff, which is a good thing for them. Also maybe a tad expensive but considering what your getting and their limited clientele, I don't really have a problem with it. Great place, going back soon.

Photo of Jayli
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped in here over Memorial Day weekend. A friend of mine in the area knew my affinity for good beer and decided this was a MUST GO TO. I have to say, dammit - she was RIGHT!
Novare Res is located just off Exchange St. For an out of towner, you'd walk right past this place and be none-the wiser for what you passed up. There is 2 separate sections to the place - the indoor part of the cafe, and the outdoor. The inside is what I would imagine pubs to look like in Germany and Amsterdam, with exposed brick floor, long wooden bar, and tables dispersed throughout. Outside has about 6-7 long picnic tables in the terrace.
Service was fantastic. Bartenders were knowledgeable and would let you sample different beers if you had questions. All beers are served in the proper glassware.
Selection is outstanding. They routinely rotate the 25 taps that they have, and offer about 300 bottles - fantastic Belgian presence. Prices can be a little steep, but the selection and availablility of these beers pretty much balance out.
This is by and far one of the best beer bars that I have been to. I onlt wish that I were closer to Portland..of course, my liver may be happy that I am not...
This is a must stop at for anyone in or visiting the Portland area!

Photo of IBUnit63
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

This is sort of in the middle of the block in downtown Portland at Canal Plaza. It's on the bottom floor of the building (is there another floor) with a few long beer hall tables, about 20 or so taps and regular tables on the wall by the window. Pretty dark inside 'cause it faces a wall with tables up top outside. We were there mid-PM on a Sunday so it was pretty quiet. Cool tunes.

The service was very friendly and suggested a couple of small plates for us - we had the tap menu covered pretty well. I had a Lou Pepe Framboise and a Saison Dupont...the Beautiful Bride had a Saison Avril and kept it clean with an Allagash White. They were cool with us having our 5-year-old along at that hour - he just wanted some water and hung out and played with his trains.

Beer list is amazing. 20 taps - lots of Belgian flair (no, not "pieces of flair") with some decent off-the-wall selections. I was wicked bummed the keg of Confluence just kicked though. The bottle list is certifiably insane. I mean, it's ten &*(%ing pages long. And most (almost all) of it is very good stuff.

Food for us was again, just some small plates...salami and aged gouda. Hey, it hit the spot as a mid-afternoon snack.

OK, let's be honest. It's not that cheap. But hey, it's not like it's ridiculous when considering standard bottle markup from retail. And it's a very cool place, so it's a must stop when in Portland.

Photo of John_M
4.1/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Just off of Exchange street in downtown Portland is Novare Res Bier Café. They have a sign posted on Exchange street, fortunately, as otherwise it's not all that easy to find.

The cafe is located in essentially it's own little plaza area with a very large patio for out door seating. As the weather was gorgeous this particular evening (temps in the low 80's), the patio was packed. As one walks inside, one is confronted by a fair size dining area with two bars. My guess is the two bar areas seat around 20 people, and it was fairly full around 6:00 on a Friday. The room has a low ceiling with lots of wood and brick. Seating consists of benches and long tables in the dining area, and there's no doubt the owners are trying to portray an informal, relaxed, minimalist vibe. It's OK, though I can't say I found the bar chairs or seating arrangements particularly comfortable.

As for the beer selection, this day they had 28 beers on tap (one cider as well), including 3 beers on cask. Surprisingly, they only had 6 actual Belgian beers on the draft list, but with a number of Belgian syle domestic beers. Things I saw included De Range XX and Noir De Dottignies, Black Albert (at $10 for an 8 ounce glass!), Chimay, etc. There were also some local beers (marshall wharf and beer of the Gods), and overall I thought the draft list pretty decent. The bottle list consists of around 300 selections, which I know sounds pretty strong. In fact it was decent, but on the other hand I didn't see one thing I hadn't seen elsewhere. Also, I don't know... I just thought it would have been nice to see more local selections on the bottle list. They had a couple of beers from Beer of the Gods, some smuttynose, and some Allagash, and that was it.

The two beers I had were the Taras Boulba and the Noir De Dottignies. Both were quite good and were served in proper glassware. The cafe seems to take it's glassware seriously, something I always appreciate. Didn't try the food, but it's pretty limited in any event. They have a meat and cheese selection, and you can mix and match several plates to make up an antipasta dish.

Prices are hard to describe here. I thought them a bit high on some things (see the Black Albert price, and my two beers were both in the $8 to $8.50 range), but on others fairly reasonanble (a pint of prima pils was $5). Still, overall I thought the prices here just a bit high.

Apparently they also have some sort of beer club here, as I saw a number of people with paper charts, marking off different beers as they tried them. I didn't see any information about this, nor did my waitress volunteer any info, but as I was just here for the one day, I saw no reason to inquire.

Service here was decent. The wait staff was familiar with all the beers, though their actual knowledge about them seemed a bit limited. For some reason it seemed to take a while initiially to get a beer, but after that things went much more quickly and smoothly.

This is a very solid place, even if for some reason it just didn't wow me as much as I was expecting. Still, I would certainly recommend this place and wouldn't hesitate to stop in again next time I'm in town.

Photo of slander
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I told them I can start not next week, but the week after that and then promptly gone gotten myself all Portland up (yes, past participle is the same as present tense). And now, I'm thinking one more and out. One more place, that is, not beer; 'cause what if I want more than anyway, maybe definitely that place 10 months newish I 'ent been. Easy, around the corner and up the block some from elsewhere, through the know what you're looking for alley way and what I saw there. Over there that-a-way in where everyone else is going just shortly after a late afternoon opening...

Basement of a bank gone bar, roomy, nicely low lit and dim some even with the windows, and cranking Stop Whispering from Pablo Honey to greet me. I'm so going to be late for dinner; I should probably call but I don't. Lots of brick play being a ground floor and all, and pillars as such. To the rear, a "Z" shaped bar seating about a dozen and a half with a cut through to somewhere.

2 dozen taps on a long cylinder tower over mirrored panels on center, with slight shelving holding glassware & booze to both sides, and some more glassware displayed shelved on one end and racked above the cut in the bar. An offensively large 6 litre bottle of La Fin Du Monde sits displayed at the end of the bar. I just spotted a pair of handpumps on the corner of the barback, only one of them up at this moment. Empty bottles lining the way above the bar and along the front windows, and there's a bit of brewery signage here and there, and meat & cheese selections shown on a small menu board.

Pressed tin ceiling, mounted spots and some strung holiday lighting. A single giant long beer hall table seats, like, a millon, and then a ½ dozen or so tables more that I can see, plus something going on through that cut through there, I was going to get to it then and now, the back room, and me not my first beer in hand esssplorin'. A pair of dart boards, some local art for sale, a little cushy couch action around a fireplace, and some bar counter action "L"ing the corner. And is it me or have they been playing like nonstop Johnny Cash for the last hour?

Back to the bar, and a lengthy but necessary review of the sick, sick, sick bottled list here; Frank from that other place well west of here, the other bar patrons and myself dissecting the beer menu with the precision of drunken 7 year olds playing that Operation board game with the loud buzzer. Very well done, I don't know but I'd say a hair over 300 bottles beers; Belgian & Belgian style including categories for Flemish Sour, Trappist, Strong, Sour/Wild/Funk, and Lambic (the dozen and a half entries made up entirely of beers from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen & Hannsens), German & UK, a variety of all the lager & ale styles, plus vintage/limited, ciders, gluten free beers, N/A's, and then everything new lumped together too.

24 taps; some Maine goods (Marshall Wharf Cant Dog Imperial IPA & Chaos Chaos Imperial Stout, Allagash Dubbel), New Englanders (Smutty Star Island Single & IPA, High & Mighty Two-Headed Beast, Harpoon Cider), regionals (DogFishHead 60 Minute IPA, Fort & Chicory Stout), and away (Arcadia Cereal Killer Barleywine, Hop Rocket Double IPA & Sky High Rye, North Coast Red Seal, Rogue Younger's Special Bitter), and imports Belgian (De La Senne Equinox, Gouden Carolus Ambrio, Scaldis, Kwak) and not (Sinebrychoff Porter, Unibroue Maudite & Blanche De Chambly, Beamish, O'Hara's Stout).

Started with a bottle of Black Albert ('cause it's Maine and that's where Albert lives), and toyed with the cask Allagash Curieux but opted instead for a Smutty Star Island Single ('cause I ain't seen it down south yet). If I had known then what Marshall Wharf was about, it would've been a whole 'nother story. I could do some time around that tap list, uh huh. Prices are reasonable (Beamish costs $6 a pint, the O'Hara's Stout is $6.50, go figure). Service was good (enough to put up with me). Comfortable house. Tunes. Tunes! I'm so going to be late for dinner.

Photo of ToasterChef
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

A very cool place. Cool interior design, nice low lighting. It isn't overly stocked with kitsch or something like that. Novare res is just a good beer bar. The dedication is CLEARLY there. I didn't see a beer I would never drink. Had a cask selection, couple drafts, bottle of buffalo stout, and a few snorts of various taps.The service was very nice and I was well taken care of. There is little bad to speak of this place. If every "beer bar" was as dedicated as this people would rarely be of wont.

Photo of sholland119
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This would be a very regular stop for us if we lived 350 miles closer.

Great vibe with a lot of dark wood, a cool fake "tin" drop ceiling and a nice long L-shaped bar. The uncomfortable square wooden stools are the only remotely negative thing about the whole place.

The beer selection is quite extensive, with about 25 taps (almost all Belgian) and 230 or so bottles (a nice mix). Every beer we had was served in appropriate, logoed glassware, a nice touch.

Service was excellent and quite knowledgeable. Once the bartender figured out we were beer geeks, we even got a tour of the cellar (the vault of the bank that was once housed in the space). We even saw the whole staff at the KtG release the next day.

Food is limited to cheese and meats and a couple of tapas type dishes. All of the cheese was top notch, though.


Photo of MaineBirdMan
3.7/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 2

My friends had told me to look for the "beer garden." My wife and I found the place last Friday night. My wife loved the place (even though she doesn't drink). I was satisfied with the place. I was expecting something a little more. The beer selection was awesome and the way they had the menu set up was excellent. I was excited to see they had a stout from Orkney,Scotland. I was in Scotland in 97 and remember this stout quite fondly. So I was eager to have it again. "Sorry, we don't have that one." Bummer. My wife wanted one of their non-alcoholic beers, "Sorry we don't have that one." Bummer. She settled for a ginger beer. The bartender was nice enough but not very up on his beers. There was one bartender (he said he was persian) who was excellent. We didn't try any of the food. The cheese selection looked fine and there seemed to be some nice pairings. We were never asked if we wanted any food. I guess I should have gone out of my way and asked. I mean, I am the one paying the bill. I might go back. I won't go out of my way to get there.

Photo of DousedInStout
4.22/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Checked this place out 2 weeks ago. The atmosphere is pretty cool - dimly lit, tin ceiling, and picnic tables inside. The bar is long, and appears to wrap around - but the taps are only behind the long portion of the bar. The servers had a little bit of an edge (which I liked), and were accomodating and knowledgeable. The tap selection, for Maine, is outstanding. A lot of unique imports with Allagash (the only maine beer, which is great that the taps haven't been taken over by the old ringwood guard), Smutty, Victory, High & Mighty, and Rogue mixed in. The food menu was small, but looked quality. Overall, a great beer bar for the city of Portland and one I would gladly return to (apparently in the summer, the massive deck out front turns into a beer garden)!

Photo of Reagan1984
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

If you are in Maine you need to stop reading this and go to Novare right now... What's better?? The beer, the atmosphere or the help? Wait also the music.

What a treasure in Portland. The beer selection is fantastic and with plenty of Belgian offerings... We enjoyed some snacks that were fantastic and beautifully presented. Very authentic.. All glassware matched offerings and serving temp was perfect. The help could not have been better. And this was before we spent a great deal of time with the owner. (Eric) Their friendly nature and generosity bordered on obscene.
In addition to the phenomenal Belgian collection they have a nice selection of German beers and also some great local micro's on tap...
A must stop with no close second in Portland.
Novare & Eric. Thanks for a memorable night... I shall return and send as many others as I can..

Photo of cleeze
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Now this is how a beer bar should be!!!! I finally stopped in after waiting a long time to check this place out (pretty hard to find!) But well worth the journey.

Atmosphere is right up my alley! Very chill and low key with killer tunes! Some killer hip hop and some great classic rock! I love the long tables. and the bar is really cool.

Service was perfect. Me and my girlfriend reconazined our bartender from somewhere else. She was really chill and knew her shit about beer. I got brooklyn's chocolate stout on tap for only 5$! So tasty! our bartender picked out a really good brew for my girlfriend (can't remember and it's really bugging me!) She was very attentive even though it was kinda busy and we were hinding in the corner.

Selection is best I've seen. I was a huge fan and still am of the bear expecially when I lived in Portland. Hate to say it but this place blows it outta the water.

I didn't get a chance to try the food since I was so caught up in the beer. Some interesting stuff. My girlfriend liked it but nothing that really caught my eye (No WINGS!?!?) haha

Anyways I can't stress how cool this place is. Only if I lived in Portland still!

Photo of Pamola
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I dropped by here for the second time over Christmas back in Maine. The first time i dropped by it was a madhouse, since I stubmbled in on their grand opening. There were trashed people with evidently too much money carrying around magnums like a can of keystone at a frat party.

Anyways, this time was much mellower. Took a seat on one of the benches at the long table in the middle. I love the atmosphere in this place. As a german major, I can say that this is the closest to true Gemütlichkeit I have experienced in the states. Brick, wood, low lighting, warmth. delicious.

This place is pricey, which their insane collection definitely commands. I started with a Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux, my friend a...something. can't remember. Anyways, a very nice server, who sat at our bench and chilled while mulled over the options, brought me not only that, but a sample of the De Struise Tsjeeses!

The place filled up eventually, and as cynical as I am about people throwing around money and not enjoying what's in your glass, there's something hot about young women carting around large glasses of aventinus or other such delicious brews.

To round out the night I got a glass of Imperial Younger's Special Bitter. Dunno how they got their hands on this but that sentiment applies to pretty much all their stuff.

Bottom line, check it out. It gets a little busy late and the table service suffers, but overall an incredible addition to Portland's beer scene and a nice foil to other Heavyweight and amazing beer bars like The Great Lost Bear.

Photo of brewandbbq
4.06/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Hidden off an alleyway in the Old Port, Novare Res finds it's home in a converted bank space. The nature of the locale is reminiscent of many Belgian cafes, being off the beaten path and only found by those knowing or on the hunt.

Two hand-made bartops, plenty of woodwork and brick, and rustic colored concrete floors.
A serarate room houses dart boards, couches, and a brick fireplace that will definately have to be utilized during the long, cold Maine winters.
One of the vaults now houses the extensive bottle selection, with another vault to be later converted to hold extreme rarities. Very cool.
Another room has a wrought iron gate which will house exclusive goblets for the select few who sample and keep record of the 230 (and growing) beers available. Quite a "mug club", indeed.
Definately sporting an inviting, cozy vibe, even though the place was vacant when we arrived.

Expecting some unusual and premium Belgian specialties on tap, we were a bit dissaponted to find only one Belgian-style draught. High and Mighty Dubble. A chaulk board on the wall informed us that it was "American Beer Week". Ahhh..That explains it. Decent enough selection of domestic crafts though. Old Raspution for $6.50 for a full pint. We like full pints of big beers, which few and far places are pouring anymore.
Other Pints were $5, which I still think is high. Maybe not for Boston, but this is Portland, Maine.
The bottle list is extremely extensive, and extremely expensive. Basically looks like all the bottles are retail cost x2. Yikes..BFM 2007 Abbey De Saint for $44.00? Gulp.

We didn't sample any food, and the menu is limited to snacks of cheese, meats, and sandwiches. All of which sounded pretty damn tasty.

The owner, Erik was there, and when I inquired about any DeStruise beers, he piped up and informed us he has a keg of Black Albert out back to be tapped at a later date.
Keep an eye out, peeps.
The barkeep who waited on us was friendly and eager to please. Nice guy, and that counts for a lot in my book. I don't go out enough to deal with barkeeps with attitudes.

My only real annoyance with the place is the fruit fly issue they have. That needs to be taken care of, and fast.

We'll definately be back in the future and hopefully the Belgians will be back with the fireplace roaring.
Best of luck to Novare Res!

Photo of Hibernator
4.22/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I had the opportunity to drop by Novare Res Bier Café this past weekend while on a mini vacation up in Portland. The weather provided a classic New England backdrop with a crisp and sunny feel on this start of autumn. This place is a tad off the beaten path and I had asked a local storeowner how to get here and was fortunate enough to get some accurate directions. It should be noted however that this place is easy to walk to in the Old Port/Downtown Portland area.

The vibe inside is pretty chill with long wooden tables that have a communal feel. You can expect a lengthy beer menu to help guide you through some excellent beer options. I think there is about 25 or so draft options that included Dogfish Head Punkin Ale & 60 Minute IPA, Rogue Double Dead Guy, North Coast Acme IPA and some Unibroues. One thing I noticed was the great German beer options like a Helles Lager and Doppelbock.

The bottle listing is very extensive with about 200 options! I must admit there was a ton of beers offered here that I have never heard of, but completely piqued my interest. I decided on a 750 ML of Cantillon Kriek, complimented with some nice Cantillon glassware. Quality appears to be one of the strong points of this beer bar.

We decided to sit outside on the patio. There is ample seating out there as well with many picnic tables. I didn't try the food as I had a big lunch earlier that day, but you can expect small plates with an emphasis on European meats & cheeses.

Without question, a "must stop" when visting the area. I continually find myself quite impressed with the abundance of great craft beer options in Portland. Just when I thought it couldn't get much better, along comes Novare Res.

Photo of bennybrew
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

benny finally gets to novare res. in town for a meeting i went here 2 nights. friday it was more crowded and loud. saturday night was surprisingly less busy (there were a lot of people outside) and i really got to look through the bottle menu. overall i was very impressed.

the space itself was nice enough. a few long tables in the middle and some smaller ones about with a long bar. some brewerania about. lots of taps in view and a glass door into the bottle cooler room.

quality and selection were both great. 20 or so taps and i don't even know how many bottles (they had 9 cantillons and that was only half the lambics).

service was decent friday (it was loud and i had some trouble making myself heard). service was very good saturday.

prices were a little high. only a little though. you pay for what you get.

well worth a trip. if you can find it. look for the sandwich board on exchange st.

Photo of sarita
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

When Eric decided to leave Massachusetts and head to Portland with a plan to open his own beer bar, I knew the place would be top notch. I was not disappointed when I recently made the trek up there. Not only was it great to visit with Eric, someone who left a lasting impression on us Moan and Dove and Dirty Truth lovers, but it was a fantastic experience all around.
The bar itself is beautiful.. you can tell that a lot of hard work and love was put into that place with all the woodwork, brickwork and welding. The mugroom is breathtaking! Everything is super clean, comfy and nice to look at. The back room w/ the couch, fireplace and dart boards is a really sweet touch.
The menu is awesome. They don't have an oven, so no hot food, but what they do have to offer is lots of meat and cheese, olives, almonds, peppers, bread, salads. num! All high quality, tasty stuff that I love to eat. The beer selection is of course phenomenal.. both the tap and bottle lists. To top it off the prices were affordable.
With a party of 13 our server was great about splitting up everything for us in the end, even in the midst of us all picking out tshirts to purchase. We took up a lot of his time, as well as some of the bartender's time, but both of them kept smiles on their faces and were wicked helpful.
I can't wait for my next trip to Portland because I will definitely be hitting up Novare Res again. I only wish I could have made it for the German fest while I was there. I was a day too early, but the idea of grilled sausage and tasty German beer out on their deck was tempting me to stay longer.

Photo of wyllder
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I finally had a chance to visit Eric's bar.

As noted by other reviewers, there's been plenty of attention given to atmosphere here in a bank basement turned beer bar. Whether you're in the main lounge at one of the many tables, the back lounge in a comfortable couch, or on the spacious patio at a picnic table, you'll be comfortable. I'm sad that we weren't able to be there for the German fest where we would have been able to eat sausages grilled right on the patio while drinking Uerige Alt on cask. /cry

Quality here is a reflection of the owner, who takes a great deal of personal pride in everything about this bar. All of the cheeses, meats, and snacks are of the finest quality & freshness. The beers are served in appropriate glassware, at appropriate temperature & carbonation levels.

Service takes one of the only hits here, due in part to the size of our party (13) and the relative inexperience of the staff. I'm sure that in another 3-6 months this rating will climb, I only hope to find an excuse to revisit.

Selection is dangerously great, with 20+ tap lines of the best micro, craft, and import beers available. In today's rapidly inflating market, the prices are reasonable.

If you're in Portland and not a regular at Novare Res, you should be. If you're not in Portland, you now have a reason to visit!


Photo of mklatsky
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I visited for the first time on Saturday afternoon. While it is snuggled off the street, they have a sign out front and it is easy to find. Eric is a terrific host- made us (there were 13 of us!) feel extremely welcome, and happy to see us.

The atmosphere is perfect- exposed brick, tin ceilings, comfy couches and light colored wood tables and bar. While Novare res is itself below street level, the windows and the light wood keep it bright and airy.

We sampled a multitude of beers, including Mikkeler It's Alive, Lia Fail, Rogue Double Dead Guy, and Route des Epices. The food was great- absolutely enjoyed the meat & cheese platter, and had a terrific Spring sandwich. Filled the tummy, without feeling too full.

I will be back to Portland to enjoy Novare Res, and to visit with Eric again.


Photo of snafui
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Visited Novare Res last Saturday, around 1pm. The bar is stunning inside. A lot of hard work and care went into turning what appears to be an old bank into an amazing beer bar. The layout of the bar comfortably holds a lot of people but remains inviting, warm, and cozy. We had a large group of 13 and could all sit together at a table with room to spare.
The quality of the beer and food is top notch. Perfect pours and temps. Clean lines, fresh beer, clean bathrooms. Everything tasted wonderful and was stored and served with care.
The service was fantastic. Our waiter was able to handle our large party pretty well and working the bill out afterward was no problem. The owner, Eric, made our visit truly exceptional by offering a complimentary cheese/meat/olive plate and pulling out some bottles that folks wanted to try for a tasting session, followed by a tour of the building. Eric made us feel very welcome and we appreciate his hospitality very much!
The beer selection at Novare Res is out of this world. As an active BA member we all know whats its like going into a bar and maybe finding 1 thing we haven't tried before and actually want to order. That will never be the case here. His draft and bottle selection is a lively selection of the best beer from far and wide, and new beers to the scene looking for a tasting.
The food menu changes ones perception of pub food. I love a good fish and chips or burger at a pub but was instead delighted by a small but crafted food menu of meat and cheese platters, salads, and small plates of food at great prices! The meny reminds me of why I love craft beer bars. I like tasting small portions of a variety of beers for the flavors and quality, and I feel like the food menu follows that same philosophy. Aside from the complimentary meat and cheese plate, I ordered a sandwich and another prosciutto and cheese plate. All fantastic!
The prices were great for both food and beer. Great value!

I'm trying not to be a fan boy and give all 5s but its a stretch finding a flaw. I guess the only thing I would say is due to the sheer size of our party there was some confusion with lack of silverware early-on and tasting glasses being picked up for cleaning between rounds, but asking for a fork and tasting glass isn't exactly a real downer. Don't know if that's worth a .5 ding on service and I feel bad doing it :(

I wish I could give constructive feedback but I just can't think of anything I would change or want more from Novare Res!
Thanks Eric! We'll be back!

Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.