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Novare Res Bier Café

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

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

Notes:
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 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 DoubleSimcoe
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The wife and I got to Novare Res just as it was starting to snow heavily in Portland, October 29. Quite a sight… have you ever seen snow by the beach? This bar is in the Old Port area but not exactly- far enough from the main drags to have no tourists inside. Sweet! The folks at Novare kind of reminded me of Baltimore… homely, sailor-like, red-cheeked and on the ugly side of things but oh-so-friendly.

The atmosphere here is extremely cozy and inviting, more so on a cold snowy day. It feels like a cellar or a private bar at rich man’s house. I would want to hang out here forever! It only needs a fireplace to be perfectly perfect. Communal tables, a variety of rooms, nooks and crannies… yeah.

On tap- 16 “regular” beers (including Maine Peeper, Allagash Malone, Rising Tide Daymark, Brooklyn Companion, Dogfish 90); 1 cask and 20 Harvest taps (including rare ciders and meads, plus Dogfish Pumpkin, Jolly Parcela and a cask of ’08 Allagash Ghouleschip) .

It was “Harvest Day”, hence the outrageous amount of autumn taps. The owner suddenly went over to the bar and said he was buying everyone a round of harvest ciders/beers. How cool is that! We got a bourbon-barrel cider from Mystic, CT (14%),that was absolutely smashing and delightful.

They had a special Harvest Tasting Menu, of which we got the cabbage-wrapped pheasant terrine. Sounds good! But it wasn’t so great… really lame and bland, needed salt and pepper and spice. Still, I appreciate the effort to be creative.

Prices were on the high side ($6-$8) for 8-12 oz pours, but we got a free round so it evened out. Service was excellent at those communal tables and the ambience just so cozy! A great choice, and don’t forget the extensive bottled-beer menu.

Photo of Sammy
3.94/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A classy restaurant with a large patio. Pretty pretty good cellar list and decent tap list, with correct poured temperature and over a large bar. Hard to find, we circled one way streets a few times until I found a tourist map with the clue on how to enter by foot. A number of weird and ordinary people here, they make up a good part of the city but in the end they are harmless. Service was decent and there were people like me there, for the beer. I would come back again. Newer place that can become something. Would like an earlier opening time for the bar.

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 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.

HV

Photo of morebeergood
4.03/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

We stopped in here on Saturday late afternoon for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. There is a sign on the street that directs you down the alley to the cafe, so that was helpful. Looks like a tucked-away beer garden when you come around the corner. There is an elevated patio where you can sit at tables outside and enjoy the sun. Inside, it's a very cozy and homey bier bar. There are communal large table that encourage sitting with others. The brick walls gave it an old-world look. Tons of beer signs everywhere to keep my eyes wandering. Awesome looking walk-in beer cellar. We were there the day after the 2nd year anniversary, so there were still a lot of those beers on tap. Plus, the huge menu-like book of bottled beers to choose from. We had to wait a while to be served, and once she took our order, two other waitresses came by to take our order again. They need to get their act coordinated. We also noticed other tables that sat for a while without getting served. Also, whenever the waitress came back to us, she seemed very hurried and rushed. We ordered a few beers. I had the BFM Cuveé Alex Le Rouge on cask and the Marshall Wharf Novare Res Anniv. Beer. My wife had the DFH Immort Ale and the Haverill Tappist 8 dubbel. All were good. We also ordered a cheese plate ($3 per selection). Had a trio, with accompaniments, which was delicious. We were just finishing up, when I saw the dessert, and I wish I saw them first. Cantillon truffles? Tripel ice cream? Wow. Prices here were on the high side, but this level of quality is going to cost you. Novare Res really does stand out as the premier destination in Portland, and possibly one of the top in New England. I am glad that we finally got a chance to experience it.

Photo of Bierman9
4.22/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

A little late on entering this, but so what, eh? Stopped by here with Artied2 and Al H after playing game 1 of the Old Boars Summer Hockey Tourney on 05AUG11.

We parked up on the hill and found our way here easily. Down Exchange St until a small alley opened on the right; then to a large brick building and a right on the walkway to the Res. You can enter the bar itself on the left, in the basement floor of the brick building, or go right up some stairs to an open-air deck area. Artie and Al grabbed some air on the deck with a bier, while I explored inside. Upon entering, there are some benches on the left with local reading material, with the wall above displaying some fine-looking shirts for sale. A bit more to the left is a doorway to a small room with a few tables. Going right instead, you are in the main part of the pub. The place has a cool, pressed-tin ceiling, lots of exposed brick and worn wood. The lighting gives the pub a warm, inviting feel. Lots of old bier plaques and posters cover the walls. There's a bar to the rear left of this room, a long L-shaped unit. You can sit at one of about a dozen seats there, or at one of the many long, German style tables. I like the concept.

The time needed reading the bier list here rivals that of War and Peace. Shitloads... and it is top-shelf stuff, too. I was quite bummed, though, during my visit to find a Rogue tap takeover. Sorry; I don't give a flying fuck for Rogue; I came for the Belgians. Service? The place was pretty full, but I still stood at the bar for a too-long amount of time before being ackowledged. And then my bill was slow-coming as well. The prices are quite steep, imo. I'd have to plan ahead to come here, and set aside a healthy amount of coin. Seems like Res has jumped on the "gouge the bier-geek gravy train". Oh well.... I might return, under the right conditions. We'll see... Prosit!

4.22 rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$

217

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

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

Second stop on a whirlwind beer tour of Portland while en-route south to Old Virginny. After a short cab ride with the most depressing cab driver ever, we were dropped off outside the wrought iron fence that leads into Canal Plaza and Novare Res.

First visible is the raised wooden patio that serves as a beer garden, it's a large spot with lots of picnic style tables and a view of the uncrowded plaza.

A step or two down are required to enter the bar proper - or maybe not at all, but the place has that below ground feel. It's a very clean and moody basement area with brick walls and pillars, stone floors, beer signage, and lots of wood; well appointed and feeling both aged and fresh at once. Seating space is in the form of communal tables, a nice sized bar, and an almost cellarlike side room with couches and a couple dart boards. The crowd during both visits was mostly young and casual, a very lively and comfortable space.

The draft selection was certainly top-tier if not of the world-class variety, with lots from the Smuttynose big beer series as well as a couple of their short batches - not sure if they'd just hosted a smutty event or what. A couple more immediate locals, a small selection of Belgians and otherwise foreign drafts, and a few good but widespread American micros to round things out, again solid but not particularly wowing. Over our couple visits I chose the great BFM Douze, the Marshall Wharf Deep Purple smoked beer, and Smuttynose Gnome Belgian ipa. The bottle list was pretty exhaustive, and included a section for "beer geeks & connoisseurs" as well in addition to a few special cellar selections. Current lists on the website. I'd say a 4.0 for the drafts on this particular day, and a 4.5 or higher for the bottle list, rounding up the average for my score here. Wish the shirt selection had been better - pretty great design but totally out of my size.

Service was good overall, with one gent in particular that seemed very much on top of things. The other bartenders were just fine and certainly helpful if not to the point of extra comment.

Food is basically limited to sandwiches, salads, cheese/charcuterie plates, and desserts. Everything looked great and I wish we'd gone here for a light dinner. We did make it back later in the night for dessert - "House-made Fin Du Monde Ice cream served atop Rosemont bakery blondie drizzled with caramel toffee sauce". Great flavors but really nothing to write home about.

Most of the better beers ran from 6-7 dollars a glass. Not your sub 5 dollar pint prices, but very much fair for the value given.

Really like what this bar is doing. It's clear that beer gets much respect here, and I would stop in any time given the chance.

Photo of Slatetank
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I had the pleasure of visiting Novare Res Bier Cafe with friends recently on a trip which included Kate the Great day. We were checking out Portland and this was a place that was recommended. The actual location was not one that was simple to find -we almost walked right by, but the Dogfish head sign in the window tipped me off and we walked in to find a wonderful bier cafe!

the place is below an outdoor patio and seems kind of like the underground bar - we were told the establishment used to be a bank at the end of our visit. I really dug the atmosphere - cool metal and brick w/ wooden bar with light colored finish. the lighting sets the mood which is chill/casual with a modern feel. They have a nice lounge the left as you come inside with art and the place is clean and decorated with bottles of prized ales and lagers that were previously consumed.

The selection is a great mix of German/British/American and..Belgian -Wow the types of Belgian ales that you hope to see on the menue of better beer bars. They had a limite local - Mean old Tom w/ vanilla bean and plenty of unique taps like Cookie Jar Porter from Brooklyn on while we were there.

The Quality was very good, better than I expected and was very, very pleased to the staff for making us feel welcome. The 'tender even took our picture in the 'vault' which was what used to be the vault of the bank- it now serves as beer cooler. The service was really friendly and we couldn't have a better time with so much beer knowledge and genuine passion for craft beer.

I tasted Kristen's Hummus and olives - the pita was very fresh and the Hummus was smooth and tasty. I appreciated the variety on the menu and would love to come back for a meal. The value is good -some prices are a little high, but I would rather pay a little more for quality. I can't really say enough good things about Novare Res -the experience was top-notch in every way -Killer place you won't be dissapointed.

Photo of jjboesen
4.69/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Off hectic Exchange Street, through an iron gate beneath a Key Bank sign, and comfortably hidden away from the tourists and bustle of the Old Port, in a quiet courtyard-parking lot, the ardent beer lover will find himself (or herself) here at this paean to the Belgian café. It is a must when in town.

Upon entering the dim and intimate brick-wood interior, there are two choices: turn left into a separate lounge area furnished with black comfy chairs; or remain in the bar area with several communal tables and two bars: a moderately-sized one that dominates the room, or the very small one at the far right (adjacent to the kitchen). All of this surrounded by beer paraphernalia galore. Think of it as being in the basement of the Beer God.

My visit occurred during the recent Portland Beer Week and on tap (7 drafts) was one of the city’s newer brewers, Rising Tide. Of course, Novare Res, which is Latin for “Start a Revolution,” specializes in area crafts, so there were many other locals available to quench; such as four taps from Sebago, seven from Allagash and several from Maine’s Marshall Wharf. This being a Belgian café, they also had about ten draft Belgians and a massive spiral-bound list of international bottles.

The menu was eclectic but limited. My chicken curry wrap was tasty. The service excelled in every way with the attentive servers being efficient and well versed in beer, and the crafts poured at the correct temperature in the appropriate glassware. Novare Res is family-owned, so this must be one reason.

This place is simply one great place to hang out, quaff superb beers and to experience a seriously pleasant evening. No wonder Beer Advocate rates it as World Class. Start the revolution without me; I’ll be at Novare Res!

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 Mebuzzard
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Wow! I really liked this place. Very hard to find, though. No maps I saw had this street marked. It's behind the Key Bank parking lot in Old Port. A sidewalk sign hitting my shin got my attention, thankfully.

Brick cellar feel to it with German Hall-like indoor seating. Service at the bar was great; service outside seemed awkward. Not much of view outside, but hey, it's OUTSIDE. Indoors is cozy and clean. Some pockets of privacy and comfy seating.

Very large selection of beer. Would like to see more local stuff, but hey I went on a Sunday. Had some Maine Lunch IPA and Peepers and some other goodies. Nice above-head chalk board marking the taps...mostly up-to-date. Some oddball tappings, too. A must hit in Portland! Cheap T-shirts

Didn't try the food.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This place is a beer lover's dream. A bit hard to find, as it is not on any of the main drags in Portland, but it is worth seeking out. We went over the weekend, which is currently Belgian Beer Week at Novare, so most of the taps were filled with Belgian style offerings. The place is a little dark, with two separate bar spaces. Because of the insane beer list at Novare, people tend to camp out at the bar, so don't wait for people to move to try and place an order. Belly up in there and make yourself known. They do a really good job of replacing a tap line when a particular beer runs out, as well as marking it up on the wall so people know the MOST current tap list. Huge selection, as I said earlier, including a "vault" where you can get your hands on some rare and aged bottles. Definitely the place to go to knock some whales off of your "to do" list. The beers are a bit on the pricey side, but as I said, this is a place to get some very hard to find beers, so it kind of balances out. Very beer friendly crowd here, and there is a huge patio in front if you don't want to mingle with the crowd indoors. At the back of the patio there is a cornhole/beanbag toss set up to play. A section of the patio is also marked off for the smoking crowd, if that be your pleasure. Definitely a "must go" spot if you are visiting Portland, ME. Awesome time there!

Photo of TheRealPour
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

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.

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Resuin
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of mattmarka1
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of indiapaleale
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Was there for the "Grand Opening" (5/23). Tucked back off of Exchange St. where Black Tie Bistro used to be. Look for the standing sign on Exchange pointing you in the right direction.

Inside is cavernous, laden with brick and altogether a great beer drinking atmosphere. A little touch of Europe here in the Old Port. Picnic benches, church pews and other assorted tables provide the seating.

25 taps and one cask provide a pretty awesome array of draughts. Lots of great stuff (Old Rasputin, Allagash Dubbel, JW Lees on cask and even some Cantillon on tap as well). Pretty impressive!

Along with the great taplist there is also over 250 bottles and a great outdoor deck that should attract some crowds this summer.

Staff were getting their feet wet the week I was there but all of them were extremely attentive and did all they could to keep everyone happy.

Awesome place. I'm hooked...

Photo of LittleDon
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Come here on a beautiful summer day and you'll be tempted to stay until the fall.

Maybe it was the weather. A beautiful summer night in the mid 70s and I got to sit under the trees and drink great beer with a few colleagues. Plenty to choose from each with an ample description on the menu. While the draft selection was large, but not gigantic, there were many styles available. Everything was top notch. While it was hard to rate the service, since the beer server was quickly there and gone, it was, if anything, attentive. Unfortunately, after three beers, it was time to go. As nice as it was outside, the brief glimpse I got of the inside made me think that this was about as perfect as it could get. Cool, basement pub like atmosphere that was open and large. I was sad to leave, knowing that it was unlikely I'd be back on a regular basis.

One of the best beer serving establishments I've ever been to.

Photo of rfgetz
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Entering through a side door on a building in a side alley, one immediately is taken back by the dimply lit interior featuring tons of exposed brick, worn wood and the low, pressed tin ceiling, if anything screams cozy, it was the atmosphere. Tons of table seating, including a long farmhouse style table in the middle. An L shaped bar on the back left joins with a long bar in the back.

About 30 different options on tap with equal parts local, regional, domestic and Belgian craft. Bottle menu is quite outdated, so focus on the "new" bottles on the back of the tap menu or on the chalkboard.

Service handled the large crowds adequately and were knowledgeable about the local brews.

Overall, visit for the fantastic cozy atmosphere and large selection of craft brew.

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

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.

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here with the wife while hitting some Portland spots during our recent trip to Portsmouth for KTG. This place is a bit hard to find...like many others have noted. Once you find it, though, you'll be rewarded for the effort.

Tucked away like a little cavern, they are located in what could be considered a basement of sorts under a big office building. Down an alley you can see the sign peeking out from the corner of the building. Once inside, you start to relax. Dim lighting...chill music playing...quiet conversations happening. Nice. The selection of beers range from limited, one off locals to craft standards (i.e. - DFH 90 min.) to many, many Belgians and other imports. Flipping through the pages of the beer menu is an interesting journey. They have a page or so of food offerings...mostly cheese and cold meat plates. A bigger menu would set this place off, but that may not be possible due to their location. The staff was super friendly and knew their beer. Our bartender, Shahin (sp.?) was awesome. I appreciate any beer establishment that offers you a glass of water first then the beer menu. Big points for that. He quickly followed that with samples of two one-off brews without us asking. Bonus points!

Great place well worth the trouble of finding. I look forward to my next visit and spending more time here.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

My GPS told me I was there, but I couldn't see it even after I drove by it, parked, and walked back by. Luckily Matt was already there and saw me circling and provided me with much needed directions. The entrance is at an alleyway/courtyard off exchange st near middle st and they have a 3 by 3 a frame sign there. Anyhow, huge kick ass deck at the entrance where I sat holds a dozen or so long tables, think German beer garden communal seating. There is a remote bar on the deck that was closed on my visit. Inside is the bar area with a cool cellar like feel to it holding maybe 20 tables and some bar seating. Small food menu but the meat and cheese plate that we tried was great and you can pick from a list. Beer, yup they have it. Quality taps and a huge bottle list make this place a winner in my book. Our server was attentive and helpful. A hint on the pricy side, but I feel that most of Portland has the same pricing structure. I will make this my first stop the next time I'm in Portland.

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