Armsby Abbey

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

177 Ratings
Ratings: 177
Reviews: 110
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: 85
Cask: 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

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Ratings: 177 | Reviews: 110
Photo of kevdemers
4.66/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Fantastic place! Great taps - I enjoyed a Hill Farmstead George and Tree House Double Shot. The food was also outstanding: we tried many smaller plates including the pork rinds, bagel chips with jalapeño jelly, jerk chicken wings and a cheese plate. All were very tasty.

My only nitpick is there were not a lot of low chairs, so in our case a member of my party had to streeetch a bit to get into a stool after a recent mid-section surgery. Keep that in mind and call ahead to get one of the few low tables if you have anyone mobility impaired attending.

Photo of rab53
4.58/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Great place, went frequently when it opened. Unfortunately, became overrun with scene-sters and people more interested in snapping photos of their food than eating it. However, would love to go back, just not on a weekend.

Photo of brunop
4.71/5  rDev +0.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

world class. well-curated selection of taps and bottles. food is very good, but the chef allows no tweaking of food. great place in wormtown.

Photo of MystikCelt
4.98/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I've been to the Extreme Beer Fest for the past three years running. But what I look forward to -most- about that is the chance to stop at Armsby for Brunch on the ride home Sunday.

Photo of apex_predator
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I have been to the Abbey many times, and I have never left disappointed. Their beer selection is among the best I've ever seen. Their food has an incredibly short journey from farm-to-table. Their service is spectacular. I can honestly say that this might be the best spot in all of Massachusetts.

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.73/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Hands down the best draft list in central mass. Now they offer Hill weekly...it is ridiculous! Always have great local beers on like Treehouse and Trillium, as well as amazing belgian offerings and favorites from up and down the east coast.
Their mac and cheese is bubbly, gooey goodness that pairs perfectly with everything. They have a serious meat and cheese plate menu with awesome pairing possibilities. The staff are very knowledgeable and always super friendly. The events they have are always top notch as well. This is a great place to hang out with old friends or talk beer with new ones. They have a stellar brunch lineup as well. The only deterrent is that this is known as the hot beer bar and people flock here, so it is definitely crowded most of the time. But, that would never stop me from stopping in anytime I am near Worcester.

Photo of Fernans
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

A beer geeks, beer bar. All interesting and different craft on their non-descript tap handles with many different styles of both U.S. and European beers. Clean with a solid wood with a vibe of people who understand and appreciate beer. This place also does real cocktails (made the old fashion way).

Though the food was well done, the menu is very limited, unless you like cheese, alot of cheese. Best in class. Definitely a place worth seeking out. Only 50 minutes from Providence or Boston.

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 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
4.3/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | 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.

Edit: they now have a contract with Hill Farmstead, with several offerings on tap.

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 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 Robo123
4.58/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I have lived in Worcester for over 12 years now and while Armsby Abbey has been open for 6 years, I had not set foot in their establishment until about 2 years ago. Every time I walk in now, I ask myself, "what took you so long?!?"

A-brick interior, inviting bar, low lighting at night, music not too intrusive, and thank heavens for no TV's!
Q-Incredibly fresh food. Period. Mussels steamed in beer finished with pork fat mayo...creative flatbreads...charcuterie slates...oxtail poutine...stout belgian waffles, sweet potato pancakes (mouth waters as I'm writing this!) and of course one of the most diverse offerings OT and in bottles I've ever come across. So, so clean too-you can tell they really pay attention to their taps and lines. Never an off pour here. I always enjoy looking at their lineup on their website and then "planning my strategy" as to which new beer I will be trying when I head in there next.
S-very knowledgeable and seasoned staff; know just when to come over and check in on you and also make great suggestions on pairing.
S- not a huge lineup for food, but everything I've tried I've been pleased with. The OT lineup occasionally has too many selections of a similar type (I'm just getting my toes wet in the pool of stouts and porters, so not as excited to go when several are OT) but bottle lineup is top notch
F-see Q.
V-some of the entrees for dinner are on the high side ($20-$25) but sometimes I go and just grab a few apps and it's affordable. Brunch is very reasonable and most OT selections are between $5-$8 for US and $7-$11 for imports.

Photo of SABERG
4.66/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

A- A lively space that can be a touch loud, woodwork and brick are splendid. Lighting is subdued but this is no cave.
Q - The quality is a paramount priority. The food is diverse and well crafted. Attention to detail, like the silverware being perfectly balanced in your hand can be missed by the customers. Local sourcing is listed, the baked goods are from a sister operation and beautiful.
S - The service is tight with a sharp attention that's personal, not overbearing. We have been to fests, when insanity ruled, and a quiet lunch, each treated with a personal touch.
S - There are few places with the diversity of food and drink. All is curated well.
F - From the best cheese plate to specials that challenge a diner this is one of the best food offerings in the state.
V - With all that quality, the prices are market. That can be percieved as expensive. I price value for value, not quantuty. That said Armsby is a great value.

Simply one of the best.

Cheers all

Photo of Dida
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Great folks here. Price is right for the quality of food that you get. It's nice to have a place to eat fresh local food in the woo, AND it has an amazing beer and drink menu! This place is on point in every way. it's our go to place for sure for dinner and for brunch.

Photo of deen
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Great Vibe, Outstanding food, Very Good selection. Service has been variable at tables (always great service at the bar)

Photo of GuitarIPA
4.73/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I made the trip up from CT to Armsby Abbey for the beer and I was excited about their "farm to table menu." The beer selection was excellent; that night I had the Hoponious Union, Another One, and Trillium Deciduous. The food was also terrific - I would highly recommend the pork sandwich. It might be one of the more ordinary items on the menu (beef heart meatballs, bone marrow, etc.), but it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. The wait staff was great - friendly, knowledgeable, and readily available. Enjoy.

Photo of vonnegut21
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

This place is awesome. I wish it were closer to home. Not much to look at from the outside, but once inside it's small, it's cozy and it's comfortable. About 10-12 tables and a 20 person bar or so. Classy vibe, but not overstated.

The service is routinely excellent when I come. Staff are generally very knowledgeable about beer and food, which seems to be a rarity among even the best beer bars. My pour is always correct and my glass is never left empty for long. I can't ask for more.

Beer selection is generally superb. I've been on some "off" nights where there are only 4 or 5 beers on tap that I find myself choosing from, but generally there are 10 options or more that look enticing. Rarities from Tree House, Trillium, Hill Farmstead, Firestone Walker and countless European options. The bottle list is also extremely deep, if a bit pricey.

The food is excellent as well. The menu is a bit limited, but the options that do exist are all worth trying. The rillons and the mac and cheese are my go to order. I had a pork belly breakfast bahn mi there the other day that was mind-blowingly good. You really can't go wrong. And all the ingredients used are local, fresh and of the highest provenance. Gotta love that.

Overall, I really enjoy this place. Reminds me of the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier... which is a good thing. Check this place out.

Photo of Lambocalrisien
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is awesome! Without question the best place to grab some delicious food and great beer in all of central Massachusetts and maybe the entire state. They always have a great selection on tap and update their online tap list daily. Have had Hill Farmstead and Tree House Brewing on draft there to name a few. A must visit if you're in the area, will not let you down.

Photo of Sarah-Jean
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I can't say enough about The Abbey. I have been a customer since the doors opened. They have the best beer selections and food pairings. Bloody Mary's are the bomb!!! If I could go there every weekend for Sat/Sun brunch I would be there. The staff is also wonderful!!! Love it here!!!

The actual bar and woodworking throughout are so amazing too!!

Photo of mgmfallon
4.21/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

I've been going to the sister establishment of this place, The Dive Bar, for several years. The Abbey is a nice, medium-size place with a large selection of about 20-25 drafts, about a 6-7 belgiums. Seating is mostly high tables and stools (fancy ones), with a couple of tables in the front. A room-length bar- beautiful and a nearly room-length chalk board with the draft list- you can see it from anywhere in the place. Reasonably-priced local, bistro-style food. The beer prices are as high as any in Boston beer bars, but you know it's fresh.

This bar rates with the best I've seen while traveling across the country.

Best bartendar at both locals- Mike! He's a very nice guy and his music selections are my favorites-very eclectic. All of staff are quite good, though.

Photo of mclynch
4.46/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nicely tucked away in Worcester, MA on a nondescript street. Very unassuming exterior, but warm & woody interior.

Great draft selection with nice domestic & imported offerings. A ridiculous bottle list as well (although pricey!)

Their food is phenomenal... home-baked breads, artisan pizzas, cheese slates - so much amazing goodness. I was blown away by how delicious everything was.

Be warned that if you go with friends you will drop some dollars here! I went with my wife and spent $75 for beers and dinner... not outrageous, but not something we do a lot.

When in Worcester, though, catching a game or whatever, absolutely drop in for a pint and more!

Photo of Resuin
4.61/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Showed up for dinner on a Saturday night and were told about an hour wait for a table so we grabbed some great beers (I had a peche mortel on tap) and because there was no room at the bar, decided to try the table outside which was empty (it was pretty cold). To our delight, about 15 minutes a table had opened up for us.

Service was great, and the food was very interesting and tasty. I had a pulled pork sandwich as a meal which was superb and we had some cheese platters as an appetizers all of which were very interesting and tasty (not huge). Everything was super fresh and local which was great.

Each beer I ordered came in its respective glassware which was cool and there were a lot of great choices on tap. The place was a little loud which was to be expected on a Saturday night and did not detract from the experience. Highly recommended!

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...

Photo of mtchaput
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

When i think of Worcester, Mass - Armsby Abbey just doesn't seem to fit in.

When you walk down the street, it looks like your average small bistro, but when you walk in, its a whole different story. The atmosphere of Armsby reminds me of someplace you'd see in small town America. The Bartenders are friendly, to the point where you wonder if you somehow know them. It's warm, and welcoming.

In regards to Selection, Armsby may not have the 30 page beer menu, or the 30 page food menu that some other bars do - instead, they bring you offerings that are from local farms, and use whole healthy ingredients. Their beer offerings may not be as exotic as you might find in Boston, but everytime i've been there i find a beer on their chalk board menu that i've been dying to try, or haven't had in forever. They seem to specialize in bringing you beers that A) Suit the seasons, B) Compliment the menu and C) are Expertly crafted. The best part is that they know their beers, and they know them well.

Now, one of my favorite things about the menu, is that there isn't a ton of anything. By this i mean that they have a few of each thing on the menu and when it runs out - thats it. To me, that SCREAMS freshness. If you're looking for some real neat food choices, (when available) check out; The Duck Confit, The Smoked Marrow Plate, The Olive Platter, and the show stopper - The Macaroni and Cheese. I have never had a Macaroni and Cheese like that in my life.

Overall, while it's not someplace that i could afford every night, i do make sure to frequent it as often as i can. If not for the amazing beers, If not for the amazing food, If not for the amazing service, than its definitely for the fun folks you can meet sitting next to you at the bar. Good Company all around.

Oh... and they don't balk at you for whipping out your tasting notebook. I like that.

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Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
100 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.