Novare Res Bier Café

Novare Res Bier CaféNovare Res Bier Café
Novare Res Bier CaféNovare Res Bier Café
Bar, Eatery

4 Canal Plaza
Suite 1
Portland, Maine, 04101
United States

(207) 761-2437 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 140 | Ratings: 286 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of socon67
socon67 from New York

4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Easily one of the best beer stores I've ever been in. Place does look like it belongs in Belgium; very rustic and chill vibe. Their selection is heavily influenced by imports, but I jumped at the chance to get a crowler and some bottles of Maine locals I'll not see back home. Service was incredible, and while I didn't have food it was evident that the small plates they offered were high quality. So glad to be able to stop by.

Jul 29, 2020
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tjcarbone from New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Visited spring and fall of 2017. Welcoming, cozy tavern. A very impressive selection. A must visit for any beer lover. Seasonal seating outside available.

Mar 29, 2020
Photo of Jgitelman
Jgitelman from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I could only give this place 5's across the board because it really was that perfect. Wide, eclectic list of draught and bottled beers. I had a great local Maine sour and my buddy had a Weisse beer in his favorite glass that brought him back to Europe. Ourr server, Jasmine, knew her stuff. Surprisingly the pork taco special is the thing that still stands out in my mind - what flavor! Cannot wait to go back to Novares Res and explore more. A happy place.

Nov 16, 2019
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Rifugium from North Dakota

4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

I FINALLY got to tick Novare Res off my bucket list last trip to Portland. I almost couldn't find the place because the building it's in didn't look like a bar at all, and at first I didn't notice the stylized letters running down the wall. But once inside, it's a truly genuine Belgian bar vibe. This is probably the only bar in the US that I've been to other than Monk's that really gives me that authentic feeling that I experienced in the bars I visited in Belgium, albeit with an obvious American twist. When I went there was an event going on, I forget what, maybe an anniversary or something. All I know is I got a relatively inexpensive pour of Hommage, and there was also a rare Black Albert variant on tap, as well as a bunch of other stuff. Despite the event, the place wasn't too crowded and service was fine. I did not sample the food or even look at the menu. If I wasn't pressed for time, I could've spent the whole day there, and hopefully one day I will get back.

Jul 19, 2019
Photo of chippo33
chippo33 from Vermont

5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

When I walk into this place, I feel like I am back in Belgium. The beer list ranges from old traditional beers (Cantillon, Tilquin, Boon, 3F, westmale, Orval, Fantome, Weihenstephaner, Ayinger, De dolle, De la senne) to newer styles and breweries (Trillium, Aslin, Holy Mountain, the Veil, Trve, Prairie, Burial, Jester King, Lawson's, Fonta Flora, Modern Times, etc.). Plenty of the latest local beers (Bissell, allagash, definitive, barreled souls, good fire, Battery Steele) always available.

Jan 08, 2019
Photo of ManapuaMan
ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Popped in midday Sunday so there were only handful of folks whom were all at the bar. Looked to be ~ 20 or so taps with a great representation from ME and New England in general. Bottle list is unreal - long, wide-reaching, comprehensive and exotic. Lots of those hard-to-find but oft-heard-of lambics. The vibe is the best part of the place - laid back, comfy but with an air of deep knowledge; like if a beer geek ran a bar: low on fluff, deep on content. These folks know their stuff. Highly recommended.

Oct 30, 2016
KEEPonPOURING from Virginia

4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

First time dropping in at open on a Wednesday. Big place, had it all to ourselves but felt cozy. The bartender was very knowledgeable about the taps and the bottle list, which was INSANE (in an awesome way)! Attentive and welcoming at all times were the staff. Had my first ME lobster roll there. Couldn't beat $12. Best beer bar I've ever been to. I will absolutely be back.

Oct 10, 2016
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Tommyboy555 from Maine

4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Been here many, many times. A must-stop whenever in Portland. Unfailingly good service and the staff knows their stuff. Beer selection is off the charts with an emphasis on foreign and difficult to find beers. Best times are when it's quiet or slow and you can chat with the super-knowledgable staff about beer. Several times after chatting, they have recommended a beer I had never tried -- and it has always been a winner! Schlenkerla Marzen smoked beer on tap? Great recommendation. Now it's one of my favorites. Novare is just wonderful.

Oct 03, 2016
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mynie from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Maybe my favorite beer bar in New England, aside from Three Penny (but that doesn't count because Vermont is a special wonderland against which other places should not be rated).

Lord Hobo is great, don't get me wrong. They never struck me as pompous or hipster-y, as others have complained about. But the place is still hypey, and hype brings crowds and loudness and very long lines on release days. Also, getting to and from Cambridge is difficult. Novare Res has a selection that actually beats Hobo's, and it's way more accessible.

The bar takes up the basement level of an old brick building. It's fairly dark, even during a sunny day, but never dank or creepy. The lighting is warm and amber, the decor is woody, and the place just feels cozy and comfortable.

The bar is long and the basement is spacious. There's also a deck that can easily hold another fifty or so people. It gets a big raucous and loud late on weekends, but if you stop by before 10 or so the vibe is super chill.

They do a decent job of updating their online taplist but often do not list very rare beers. This is good, I think, as it helps dissuade stampedes for CBS. They do frequent tap takeovers and other events, and everything is always handled very well.

Jun 19, 2016
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Sound_Explorer from Washington

4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

If you have been to the Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, then this is the equivalent up north. 10 page bottle list and some Rares on a chalk board. Draft list and food keep it going. Interesting spot almost under ground. Good sized patio. It is a bit hard to find as you enter a parking lot behind bank to just see the umbrellas. Still awesome.

May 27, 2016
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Gavage from Nevada

4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

This place is a bit off the usual path. Old brick filled bar in one section, and a back room that had some couches and more relaxed atmosphere. Large outdoor area with some tables. This is a great place for Belgian beers, they must have had almost 30 on draft. I think there was only one or two local Maine beers here. The bottle selection is incredible so if you are looking for the hard to find Belgian beer it may be here. The place was very crowded but the bartenders were hustling. Very enjoyable visit.

May 20, 2016
Photo of illpass78
illpass78 from Maine

5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What is there to say about about this place? It's the best. Amazing selection of foreign and Maine beers. Menu is just what it should be - mix of great cheese pairings and cut-above pub food. Justifiably beloved.

Apr 29, 2016
Photo of -Rick
-Rick from Massachusetts

4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

This was the best beer bar we visited while in Portland. A bit hard to find (located in a back alley type location), it was well worth the hunt. A great selection of tap offerings, and an even better list of rare/interesting bottles to try. The food was also quite good. We had a great cheese plate, with all the fixins. Will certainly return here if in Portland again.

Jan 26, 2016
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ESCO138 from California

4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

This place was amazing, had CBS on Tap plus too many other great stouts I can't even remember. The staff was very helpful and the atmosphere superb. Would definitely recommend.

Jan 23, 2016
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SenatorSpaceman from Connecticut

2.15/5  rDev -52%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.25 | selection: 1.75 | food: 2.5

This place ended up being a MASSIVE letdown for a spot that is so highly recommended. The vibe/setup is cool but that's where it ends. The selection of American/Maine beers was very weak. Nowhere near the selection of Bissell, Foundation, Oxbow, etc. found at so many other bars in the neighborhood. They were unapologetically out of almost everything we wanted on the food menu and the service was absolutely rock bottom quality.

I'd have a difficult time conveying how offensive the service actually was, but our stomachs and empty glasses spent the night longing for our waitress' attention as she sat and chatted at other tables.

If you only like foreign beers and have no problem with putrid service, then this is the place for you. Otherwise, go somewhere else. There are plenty of better options within walking distance.

Jan 22, 2016
Photo of jhavs
jhavs from New Hampshire

4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Mid afternoon lunch, bar area mostly full, tables not crowded. They have a well-selected tap list that is more euro-centric as well as a large bottle list. The bottle list has many "hard to get" selections, but you will pay dearly for them. Bartenders did a fine job, were knowledgeable, but seemed mostly uninterested in anything but chatting with each other. I saw a few groups walk in and then leave when they were not helped. Had an item off of the special list as my meal. Food is made with care, looked and tasted good but wished I had went with something else after seeing a few people around me served.

Jan 04, 2016
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JonahBrews from Rhode Island

4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This place has been a staple for years. The selection is astronomical and I love the fact they have a beer list to keep and check off which beers you have tried and write personal notes. Individual glasses mean a lot for each particular beer, and a very knowledgeable staff. Also, a Hole-In-The-Wall; you have to walk down an plaza in order to find it.

Oct 28, 2015
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog from Maryland

3.61/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Not really my scene. Nothing exciting on the menu; they were having a lord hobo event. A decent selection of beers, but the King's head is much better in my opinion.

Would return if they have a better taplist.

Aug 19, 2015
Photo of 52mgtd

4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Ok, so you don't go there for the food, you go there for the beer! A fantastic list of on tap and even better bottles, ask any chalice owner, what a great place to enjoy great beer and meet interesting people, chalice #71

May 17, 2015
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Visited on Tuesday evening. The two of us sat at one of the big multi-party tables. The place was slow.

V - Dark, not well lit, dank, but clean and open and definitely a beer bar vibe. I wouldn't call this a "dive bar" because it is not dirty or inhabited by undesirable folks. 4.75

Q - All beer served in proper and clean glassware. Beer seemed to be at correct temperature. Some might complain that beer is served in glassware not of its own branding, but not an issue for me. 4.5

Ser - Our server Jamison (yeah that's right) was fantastic. Very good in helping my friend pick a beer she would like. He was even ready to send us to a different place so we could find the food we looking for. 5

Sel - Fantastic bottle selection and a very good tap list the night we were there. Had a De Strusie XXX Rye Triple and a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Oro De Calabaza 4.5

F - Did not eat food during this visit.

May 13, 2015
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21 from New York

3.47/5  rDev -22.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2 | selection: 4

An old school dive of a craft beer bar. Solid selection, but underwhelming considering their reputation. There are certainly better taplists in Portland. Service was poor. I get that it was busy, but the bartenders (particularly the one with the man-bun) were more concerned with serving their friends than helping a new customer.

In summary, Novare Res was fine, but it hasn't adapted over time and has been surpassed by some of the other up and coming craft beer bars in Portland.

May 11, 2015
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Faxmesomehalibut from New Hampshire

4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

By far my favorite place in Portland (that IS saying something!). Amazing draft list, even more amazing bottle list. They thrown amazing events and have special tappings constantly. The staff are insanely knowledgeable and can always assist with making top notch selections from their ridiculous Belgian offerings. Cannot say enough good things about Novare.

Apr 22, 2015
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Newport_beerguy from Rhode Island

4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Flat out best "beer bar" food I have ever had! Must stop while in Portland, wish I had visited here sooner. And my family members who are not beer fans couldn't stop raving about the food, so I would not hesitate to bring anyone here.

Dec 28, 2014
Photo of MtnSoup
MtnSoup from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Novare Res is one of the best beers I've ever visited. Their tap and bottle lists are insane, and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. We visited three times in four days, and each time found a new draft list with beers we'd been searching for everywhere.

Can be tough to find since it's in a back alley, but it only adds to the ambience. They also have a great outdoor terrace for the warmer months.

Highly recommend making it here if in Portland, ME.

Dec 04, 2014
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Amazing list of rotating taps with events every month or two. Even better is the bottle selection, with multiple vintages of hard to find beer including Cantillon and other European brews. A must-visit.

Nov 21, 2014
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
Place rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 286 ratings