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Novare Res Bier Café

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

179 Ratings
Ratings: 179
Reviews: 115
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

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 | Reviews: 115 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%

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.

slander, May 15, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%

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.

ToasterChef, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

GreatPondBrewer, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of sholland119
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

HV

sholland119, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of MaineBirdMan
3.7/5  rDev -17.6%

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.

MaineBirdMan, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of DousedInStout
4.22/5  rDev -6%

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)!

DousedInStout, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%

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..

Reagan1984, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of cleeze
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%

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!

cleeze, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of Pamola
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

Pamola, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of brewandbbq
4.06/5  rDev -9.6%

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!

brewandbbq, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of Hibernator
4.22/5  rDev -6%

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.

Hibernator, Sep 24, 2008
Photo of bennybrew
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%

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.

bennybrew, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of sarita
5/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

sarita, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of wyllder
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%

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!

Eric

wyllder, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of mklatsky
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%

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.

Mapu

mklatsky, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of snafui
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%

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!

snafui, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%

So, a colleague says hey you need to try this new beer bar. We head over and what's on the cellar list but a pannepot old ale 06. I showed up a few weeks later with another friend for a game of go and he had a nice kolsch, I had a belgian abbey ale, both on draft. The selection here is amazing! The food is currently only meat and cheese appetizers but there are plans to expand. The bier garden / patio is great. I think they're off to a great start and look forward to many subsequent visits. In the heart of the old port it's within walking distance of where I work. Once they nail a menu look out!

barleywinebrewer, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%

Went to this place on Memorial Day weekend, and expected it to be quite crowded- it wasn't. I also didn't find this particularly hard to find as they have a signboard out on Exchange street directing the way in. They were just finishing the rather large deck when I was there, and still finishing some of the interior as well. This appears to still be a work in progress, and I'll bet the owner/owners don't have deep pockets, so we'll probably see things like a full service kitchen etc., as time goes on. For now, its all about the beer. The place itself is a little dungeonesque, but would probably be less so if it were more occupied. Not a lot of light in this place and trestle community tables and a bar are pretty much all that was there. Nice brick walls, fairly nice bar area. The deck is sorta closed in in a courtyard, and needs some greenery, but I think all of that will come eventually. Service was quite good, primarily because our bartender was extremely eager to please, chat about the beer, BA, and the town. Quite knowledgeable, and clearly someone who knew beer as a passion and not just because he had been trained. Attempts to have a conversation with the owner on the other hand, failed. Clearly he didn't seem all that interested in us outsiders. Oh well, not everyone has the same people skills and I don't hold it against him. Selection was quite good, and I gather fantastic for the area. I was personally a little disappointed that there were only two things on the menu that I hadn't had, and I'm not from the area. There was a Cantillon or two on draft, which is unusual enough, but not a lot of other stuff that was all that rare. There was a cask as well, which is very nice. Overall I would have liked to have seen some more New England stuff on draft, but I might feel that only because I was there as a traveller and not as a local. The selection was still very, very solid- hence my score. The food here is an afterthought. A few plates of charcuterie at reasonably high prices and nothing more. Hopefully that will change. I really appreciate the location of this place in the historic district- easy to get to on foot after a day of sightseeing and much more convenient than the Great Lost Bear. I'm interested to see how this places evolves- it could one day become a must go to pub for anyone. For now, it is just the best place in Portland.

Georgiabeer, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of foursquare
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%

My wife and I recently moved to Maine, and went to Portland for our first wedding anniversary. I had noticed a mention of Novare Res in a one-paragraph blurb in the latest Yankee Brew News (a free brew publication here in the NE), but there was no mention of where the darn place was. After googling the address, but failing to write directions down, and not really having a good knowledge of Portland (we live about 3 hours away, and it was only my 2nd visit), it took me about an hour to find this place.

But once I did, oh man, it was like I had gone to beer heaven. Yes, as everyone above has mentioned above the prices can be a little steep, and the food wasn't really what I went there for, so we passed on the meager menu they had - but what an amazing place.

I'd like to think I'd know a little more than the average bear about imports and craft brews, but other than a couple of Dogfishhead, Unibroue, and Allagash taps (including Allagash Black on cask - which was a treat for me), the other taps were totally foreign (excuse the pun) to me. Thankfully, there was a kind and helpful staff that not only knew what to recommend when I told them what I was looking to try, but did it well. This is the place I'd kill to have for my neighborhood bar, even if I had to watch my wallet a little bit and drink a little less. The decor inside was fantastic, and the outside, although next to a bank parking lot was tucked enough away that you felt like you were sitting in someone's backyard, having a great brew and hanging with like-minded people and friends.

All said, if you ever find yourself near Portland, ME and you even have a passing interest in great beer, you owe it to yourself to stop by and gawk at the amazing selection that such a "hideaway" can find.

foursquare, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of n0rmann
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%

I loved this place. The selection of beers is excellent, and I just love how every thing is set up.

Stopped in twice in one day.

The first stop, myself and my friend hung out at the bar, and the bartender was fantastic. Very helpful. When ever we asked a question about a certain beer on tap, she would give us a sample.

The second stop, we sat outside. The service was not quite as good, but they were packed, and they seemed to be a server short or two, so I'll give them a pass because the earlier service was great.

The beer selection is great. A lot of Belgian ales, both on tap, and in bottles, including several trappist ales.

The one complaint I would have about this bar is the food. The menu is nearly non-existent. The meat and cheese selections look interesting, but seem a little pricey at $3 to $4 an ounce.

The beer prices were good. I wish Boston bars had the same prices.

n0rmann, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of chuckd123
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%

Visited 3 separate times during a weekend in Portland. Absolutely fantastic atmosphere and every bartender was very knowledgable and helpful. First night we stopped in their keg room refrigeration had konked out, leaving them with only 5 on tap. Bottle selection made up for it and then some, with some amazing choices. Next day all taps were up and running and selectino was excellent from about 25 taps. Selection as you'd expect leans toward belgians, but taps included a couple of IPA's and a good mix overall. Bottle list is very impressive, and bartenders were happy to talk about any and all of them, and explain the ones we weren't familiar with. Great place, and considering it's only been open a couple of months, you have to think it will only get better. Well done!

chuckd123, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of taeagan
3.4/5  rDev -24.3%

A remarkable space for a beer bar. The indoor and outdoor spaces are done really well. A comfortable place to sit and have a beer and hang out even when busy.

The draft selection is very good, though it's the bottle list that really impresses. Love that they're really promoting a great bottle list.

The food is very tasty, though there is not much of a selection at all. Beer and food prices are pretty reasonable.

So basically I really loved this place, except...

The awful service. So bad we had to laugh about it. We were invisible. We were almost done with our food when the beers finally arrived - and we ordered the beers ten minutes before the food. The glasses of water that we asked for showed up with the check. The next day we went back and didn't get a whole lot better.

If they did something about the service and added a few more choices to the menu this place would be an east coast beer destination.

taeagan, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of joepais
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%

Can't say enough about this place .Warm, friendly, great selection of brews on tap and the bottle list goes on and on. I ordered one brew and the server didn't know much about it he tracked down the owner and had him give me a description of it. The only downside is I wish they had some food to go with the fine brews so I could talk the wife into staying for more than a couple brews. It really is dangerous to send them out to all the shops while you sit there and drink. Although you maybe pretty happy when you leave there so It might not matter

joepais, Jul 12, 2008
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

This is the type of place where people who really enjoy beer would like to go. If I lived a little closer than 45 minutes away, I would frequent this place several times a week. You walk past a courtyard with picnic tables to the entrance. There's a European flavor to the place. The interior is brick, with a concrete floor and a metal ceiling. Some beer memorabilia on the walls. A second room with a fireplace and sofas is adjacent to the main room. The bar has wooden shelves behind it with lots of glassware. There are several tables for four with stools and benches, and two longer community tables. The wood is blonde, and the tables and stools are heavy, with wrought iron bases. No TVs, just some jazz on the stereo system.

On our visit, there were 25 draft beers and 230 bottled beers on the menu. Nice selection of draft beers, and an almost overwhelming selection of bottles.

Our server was attentive and knowledgable, as well as being very welcoming.

Really enjoyed this place; can't wait to go back.

lordofthewiens, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%

The best thing about this place is the selection, other places in the area have great selections, but they tend to be dominated by Maine beers (although you can't go wrong with them either, haha). They typically have an excellent selection on-tap, many of which get rotated out cause I imagine they go fast, the bottled list is very extensive (over 200!) and if you try everyone of them (about $2000 total) you get to have a place in the "Chalice Room".

The atmosphere has changed dramatically since opening, they've added more lighting (a good thing because it was really dark at first), added some couches and dart boards, really shaping up to be the "it" place to have drinks and chill out at.

deltatauhobbit, Jul 03, 2008
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 179 ratings.