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Armsby Abbey

Not Rated.
Armsby AbbeyArmsby Abbey
BA SCORE
100
world-class

163 Ratings
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: 85
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

144 Main St
Worcester, Massachusetts, 01608-1105
United States
phone: (508) 795-1012

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @armsbyabbey

Notes:
Place added by: dougnboston on 08-02-2008

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 103
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.58/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Because there was just no way I could scribble notes during ‘The Festival’ pregame; standing room only and an amped up tap list. Was just not happening. Let’s just say it’s considerably less jammin’ now, 3 months out on Monday, just after 5. Parked and meter fed until 6, and an easy jaywalk across Main Street, Worcester…

Ground floor corner of a bricky building on the strip. Past a handful of metal tables sidewalkside, and in. Front vestibule glass door with narrow windows bordering, and a wrapping iron piece over the door for the pull curtain. Corner nooks to both sides below vertical windows holding dangling ornamental stars, and horizontal windows above. Pale olivey walls & big brick, and 3 pillars down the center of the room. Slat wood floorings, and a black ceiling with matching ductwork, drop cheese wheel lamps over the front corners, and sunken & track spots about.

Wood bar with a rounded lip, panel base, & squared bar foot rail to the right; seating for a dozen and a half or so on leather swivel chairs. The barback holds a fat pillared center unit arched with panel mirrored backing over the taps from end to end below on a single row. Glassware shelved below and bottle selections housed in glass front cooler trios to each side. Tiered booze all countered up to both sides with windows above holding Belgian gnomes and mosaic glass pieced candleholders or, um, something. And then shelving units on the ends running to the ceiling; glassware glassware glassware, and display bottles & growlers along the top shelves. Clearly, some of this glassware is way out of reach and is just for show.

A bar counter wood beam with mosaic candleholders, a few stools, & piping foot rail connecting two of the center pillars, and some more bar counter space to the rear. 5 hightops on the far wall, a pair of 2-seaters between the next set of pillars, and a pair of 2-seaters in the front nooks on wraparound bench action with pillowings.

Events board on the far wall up front (movie night, shuckin’ truck raw bar), and a looong horizontal blackboard further down listing tap selections, origin, ABV & pricing. Orval & Dupont tins to both sides of that, and a doorway to the building bathrooms shared. T shirts displayed up front alongside the bar, and a single flatscreen in the rear corner.

22 tap in a row on barback center with nondescript wooden knobby handles; roughly 1/3 of them MA craft offerings (High & Mighty Sono Distrutto, Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, Cisco Grey Lady, Pretty Things Saint Botolph’s Town, Blatant Session Ale, BBC Coffeehouse Porter), another 1/3 craft offerings regional (Allagash Fluxus 2012, Maine Peeper Ale, Smuttynose Strawberry Short Weisse, Victory Prima Pils, Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter), and not so regional (Port Wipe Out, 21st Amendment Hop Crisis, Greenflash West Coast IPA), and the other 1/3 very good imports (Drie Fonteinen Beersel Blonde, Tilquin Gueuze, Jandrain VI Wheat, Djaevelbryg Schopenhauers Vilje, Mikkeller Hop Bomb Challenge, Trois Dames Fraicheur Du Soir, Ca L’Arenys Guineu Riner, Freigeist Abraxxxas).

Oh, I don’t know, maybe a sampler. You get 4 shorty 4oz glasses of the ‘you pick’, so I did, and then bummed samples of things, and of course, drank Phil’s beer when he went out for a smoke. Had some things I really liked (Trois Dames Fraicheur Du Soir, Drie Fonteinen Beersel Blonde, Mikkeller Hop Bomb Challenge, Blatant Session Ale, Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union).

The bottle list holds some 80 selections, of which roughly ½ of are Belgian. I like that about a 1/3 of the list overall is made up of Gueuze, Lambic, Flanders, & American wild ale entries. Does not suck. Benchmark (lovely) Orval runs $12, just on the edge of pricing sanity.

And a light bite before we get back on the road home, thinking to split a sandwich. The roast beef sandwich was under serious consideration due to its sounding of awesome, but we opted for the apple bacon grilled cheese sandwich (Tougas Farm apples, house smoked bacon, Vermont cheddar, Smith’s Farm smoked gouda, & braised Swiss chard on house made honey oat bread). It was a kickin’ grilled chee, came with greens and everything.

Eriktender behind the bar. He dealt samples when I asked for them, and gave honest answers when questions asked, i.e., ‘is this any good?’, etc. Kickin’ selection, comfortable house, good crowd, fine eats. Worth the detour en route to points anywhere...

More User Reviews:
Photo of zman_
4.76/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of WarEagleJeep
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of boredalready
3.96/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

My only real issue with Armsby is the service. It seems that every time I go the bartender is a condescending jerk. I live very close by but after a dozen or so visits over the course of a year I don't plan to go back no matter how good the beer and food. But with the selection they have they won't miss my business and people won't stop going there anyway.

Photo of Soloveitchik
4.24/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Knapp85
4.27/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Goldfishman
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of mklisz
4.41/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of NateF90
4.91/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Photo of Strickzland
4.85/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

This place is a hidden gem! If you are anywhere in the Worcester area this is a must stop! Great locally grown food, great craft selection, and great vibes! A small hole in the wall with just a great atmosphere filled with a diverse group of great people.

Photo of Roguer
4.29/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Very nice place, good size for a bar but not huge. Fairly dark interior; music was kept low enough that conversation was easy.

Great tap list from around the country, with a couple from Germany and Belgium, as well. Excellent selections across multiple styles. Very impressive bottle selection, too, mostly focused on Belgians: 3F, Cantillon, etc.

Food is very modern farm-to-table kind of fare: fancy cheeses, mushrooms, etc. They also have more traditional pub fare, like burgers and fries. What I ate (and saw) was excellent.

Service was fine and friendly on my visit.

Truly an outstanding spot.

Photo of Rideguy64
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of jlindros
4.9/5  rDev +4.7%

Well apparently my review of Armsby was deleted or lost accidentally. Well... let's just say this is one of the best bars in the world! I've been around many places in the world, through Europe, some Asia, a little bit West coast U.S., and all over East Coast U.S., and this is def one of the best, if not The best bars I've ever been to. Many people get a pretentious beer geek vibe from it, which I can totally see, but you really have to get to know them to know that's just an external vibe. They are really great here, very knowledgeable and fun to talk to. They can pick out almost any beer to match one of their amazing locally sourced cuisines almost perfectly.

Prices are maybe the only issue... beers are decent but a bit on the high side, typical for a bar that has such an amazing selection, and the food can be pricey but is top top notch food almost all coming from a local farm too. Their selection of beers are amazing, with many taps, 8 or so always dedicated to Belgian beers, and countless amazing bottles that are constantly changing. Often I really have no idea how they can get many of the beers they do, lots of aged beers, super limited beers, and ones I had no idea existed or were only made for a specific event at Armsby.

Speaking of events, nothing compares to the Armsby events, from their Founders Breakfast, to stoutfest, their Christmas beerfest, to brewery take-overs, everything is always amazing. And now that they expanded the size it's even better so they can fit more people inside.

As a semi foodie it's also amazing. I try not to spend too much, but the food can be awesome. If you've never been, first thing to get is the mac and cheese, or bone marrow. From there is just gets better and better. Jerk food and other spicy food can be so hot even I have to take a step back. My only regret is that I can't make it there very often anymore due to family and financial obligations. Someday though I'll be back htere a couple times a week, probably with my son when he's old enough. I just hope Alec can hold out that long and keep this place as classy as it is!

Photo of kettleandcask
4.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of xacidx
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Lobina
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of ChrisMyhre
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Nichols33
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Tap list is one of the better ones in the area but over the past half year it's been a tad stale. If you love belgians, there is always a good selection. They tend to have the same breweries on tap (Victory, Stone, Smuttynose, Firestone, Allagash), not that those are bad ones, but if you frequent this place more than once a month, you tend to get bored waiting for new stuff. They do get Trillium and Maine Beer Co. every now and then which is always a bonus.

Most people love the food, but it's a little too out there for me (no pub cheeseburger, etc.) but the cheese slates are outstanding.

Depending on when you go, it tends to get a bit packed, therefore extremely uncomfortable unless you got a seat. But nothing beats getting one of the outdoor tables on a nice summer afternoon.

Bartenders are hit or miss. Some are extremely friendly. And some are dicks. Wish there were a few less of the later.

Photo of TheBeerSipper
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Halloran33
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of trbarley
4.92/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Doug537
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of parris
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of ari32
4.6/5  rDev -1.7%

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Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
100 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.