The Black Birch
Taps: 24 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 7 | Display Reviews Only:
3.86/5 rDev -15.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Went to the Black Birch at the suggestion of my wife last weekend for dinner. No reservations accepted so a wait of an hour or more is the norm on the weekends. They took our name and promptly offered to get us drinks while we waited. After passing up on a seat at the "communal table" we got a table for two shortly thereafter.
Initial service was slow to get to our table but then very prompt throughout the meal. Menu is diverse and very reasonably priced. Beer selection was modest but exceptionally well chosen and they were quick to provide different sizes that on the menu (i.e. I only wanted a half pint with dinner and (unlike Boston) it cost half of the pint price).
All in all good food, good beer, good service that was worth the wait. I'll be back.
06-07-2014 13:55:49 | More by Sycodrummer
5/5 rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
My perfect review isn't a mistake. A perfect modern American bar/restaurant. The three owners actual work as hosts/bartenders and serve you each and every day. The food is as high end as you can get in southern Maine, and that shouldn't sound like a criticism. Prices are pennies on the dollar compared to Massachusetts establishments half-an-hour away. Amazing selection of 25 or-so draft beers including (when i was there on 8/23/2013) the impossible to find Oxbow Brewery. I indulged in a few Farm house Ales and one unique Grizacca. Can't say it enough, amazing, i'll go back over and over.
08-24-2013 00:30:12 | More by mjstacker
4.85/5 rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75 | $$
What sets The Black Birch apart from pretty much every other beer bar I've ever visited is the fact this place knocks it out of the park for both beer geeks and foodees. The staff works very hard to keep fresh, rare, limited, and unique beers rotating through their 20 or so taps, and the menu options appeal to all tastes but are light years beyond typical pub fare. Their format is mostly small plates, so dishes are great for sharing. The poutine with duck confit is one of my favorites. The atmosphere is very communal, warm, and hip. The whole place maybe seats 40 people max. Lots of reclaimed wood in the interior design, and the constantly rotating vinyl is a nice touch that appeals to all patrons and not just hipsters. There is really no other place like The Black Birch in the seacoast. A must visit if you're in the area.
Important things to note:
1. They do not take reservations, this is a small space, and they are very popular. Even if you show up right when they open there's likely to be a line. Be prepared to wait for 30-60 minutes to be seated for food. The staff is quick to get you a drink once you've given your name, and there is a small waiting area in the back where you can sit and enjoy a drink and chat with folks while waiting for a table or seat at the bar. There is a bier garden too, but I haven't seen it yet.
2. Check Facebook for beer list updates. They usually post once or twice a week, but most beers turn over quickly, and they value their beer and their customers (i.e., they won't leave an IPA on tap for four months [like that would actually happen, but you get the point])
3. Seating is community style, so you will likely end up rubbing elbows with strangers during your meal. Not a big deal, really, but worth knowing if you're the shy type or looking for a private romantic date night. However, I would consider this place ideal for a date night/first date/blind date - such a fun, busy, cozy vibe that you'll never run low on things to talk about or people to talk to.
05-06-2013 17:34:06 | More by ElGallo
4.76/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$
The number of quality establishments serving craft beer in the Portsmouth area continues to grow, but I have to give the title of best beer bar in the area to an establishment over the bridge in Kittery, Maine.
The atmosphere is fantastic. Housed in an old post office building they share with an art gallery (which is connected via a hallway in the back), they've done a great job making the space cozy. On the left side is a bar with roughly 15 stools, behind which they have 24 custom tap handles and an old record player which provides music. On the right side are roughly 10 tables which can be pushed together for large groups. The kitchen is open to the restaurant in a small space in the back right corner.
The service is excellent here as well. Very friendly, attentive bartenders with a vast knowledge of the hard-to-find beers they have on draft. Always willing to strike up a conversation about beer. In the one time I've waited for a table on a Saturday night, someone came out and took drink orders from those of us waiting in line so we could have a beer while we waited.
Selection is wide and ever-changing - 24 drafts ranging from European offerings to local New England (mostly Maine) breweries. Quite simply, the list of available beers in Maine dwarfs what is available in New Hampshire, so their taplist is going to routinely blow away anything you can find across the river.
Food has been excellent every time. Everything is fresh and for the most part locally grown. I once ordered a bolognese and the bartender told me the cherry tomatoes in it came from his father's garden. The menu also changes regularly so it's nice to be able to try something different every time I'm in. The menu leans more towards small plates so I find it's best to get a few things and share.
Prices are very reasonable for the area. I'll often stop in before my wife's shows in the summertime (she does improv in Portsmouth) and get out of there for $20-$25 (including two beers).
04-16-2013 16:16:36 | More by MThiele360
3.95/5 rDev -13.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
The Black Birch is a small beer bar / kitchen in downtown Kittery, which is about .5 miles from downtown Portsmouth, NH. You use to be able to walk, but with the bridge gone, it is now about a 2 mile drive.
They have 24 taps, with a small bar seating maybe 10, with another 10 tables. It is small enough that if you are just stopping in for a quick drink it is not recommended. You are unlikely to find a stool at the bar. This really is a place to eat and drink when you have some time. They just opened up a beer garden out back so that may help with crowding.
Their taps tend towards Northern European beers and east coast options, with little from the rest of the United States. This disappointed my wife who is a West Coast IPA fan. For instance their hoppy beers are often British (Meantime, ThornBridge), Dutch ( Koningshoeven), with maybe an East Coast one from Weybacher or Southern Tier. As these are mostly copies / influenced by West Coast path finding, I find this omission noteworthy and perhaps reflect a specific choice in selection.
They tend to also have lots of classic style examples such as weihenstephan Lager, Saison Dupont, Piraat, Scheinder Aventious, Sinebrychoff Porter, on tap which are all good but not super exciting to a beer geek. Good to introduce people to many styles but not really a selection a hard core beer person will find something new or unusual.
Food is decent, a upscale gastro pub seems to be the goal. Most people sit down and eat here. It keeps restaurant hours, really just open for dinner (4-10) and closed on Sundays/Mondays.
Music is owner selected via turntable, kind of cool, but seems to limit the range of music too often to when vinyl was king (not the hip new vinyl selections).
Recommended. Think of it for decent casual dinner with some gastro pub offerings. In Kittery you will also avoid crowds that could be present in Portsmouth. One of the best beer places in the area. Give it a try.
07-04-2012 21:26:25 | More by rbowser
4.3/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
As mentioned, this is half of an old post office in Kittery, ME. It's small, seating about a dozen at the bar, and 25-30 in the restaurant area. Somewhat minimalist decor: wood, earth tones. Not too noisy, even when busy. My favorite touch: no TVs. Instead they have a nice sound system with vinyl records. I almost fell off the seat when the bartender pulled out an old Chuck Mangione album to play!
Twenty five beers on tap. Very nice tap list, reasonably priced. Nice eclectic touch with the tap handles. Some of the favorites were a pistol, hammer, crank, the hilt of a sword, a guitar neck, a lobster claw, and a piece of a lobster trap.
I liked this place for its beer selection and the fact that people actually conversed with each other, rather than stared at a TV screen. The next time I visit, I'll have to try what looks like a great menu of food.
05-30-2012 18:44:34 | More by lordofthewiens
4.85/5 rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Amazing new gem- enough of a reason for me to open that gosh darned Memorial Bridge back up lol
We visited on a soft opening day. The establishment is located in the right half(if you enter) of an old (1960s style) US post office. The other half is occupied by an art gallery(I asked the owner, and they will be cojoined- NEAT!).
They have done a good amount of remodeling. What gave away the old post office use is the outside of the building, the shipping dock, and the high ceiling, but otherwise they have taken many a step to make it look very cozy and ambient. The bar is on the left side of the room, the dining room is to the right of the entrance, the kitchen counter(with a large opening for all to see the chefs in action) is in the back, towards right.
The prices for the food and the beer are very reasonable, and the selection of beer trumps any place in NH(well, maybe except the Portsmouth Brewery, due to the exclusivity of their offerings). They had around 15 items on tap, and the line had empty spots, thus they're set up to add more, from what I can gather.
Really worth a trip, especially if you're coming from Portsmouth. Just remember that if you're downtown and your GPS is not up-to-date, you have to take the route 1 by-pass.
12-07-2011 12:03:36 | More by SevaTse
The Black Birch in Kittery, ME
96 out of 100 based on 10 ratings.