Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Armsby Abbey

Log in or Sign up to start rating.

137 Reviews
Armsby AbbeyArmsby Abbey

Type: Bar, Eatery

144 Main St
Worcester, Massachusetts, 01608-1105
United States

(508) 795-1012 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by dougnboston on 08-02-2008

Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 249
Photo of portia99
4.83/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Been here a number of times, never fails to impress. Will be going back frequently.

A - The Abbey is a relatively small space with a good size bar and about a dozen tables - most of which seat 6 people comfortably and there are a couple of 2 tops also. Outdoor section is spacious and a great place to sit, have a beer and watch people in the summer. Small place, but feels very spacious - really high ceilings, nice brick wall, somewhat dim lighting. Puts off a really relaxed and comfortable vibe.

Q & S - Tap list is practically always amazing and changes over frequently. Always a great selection of Belgians, many different styles - lambics, pales, dubbels, tripels, flanders reds, etc - something for everyone. The rest of the 22 taps are a great mix of craft beers from the US - a good mix of local crafts and top beers from the rest of the country. Typicaly get beers here that you won't find almost anywhere else. Only disappointment is that the beers turn over so fast, they can't keep the tap list up to date...not unusual to get psyched to see a beer on the board and find out the keg kicked. Personally, I always stay with the selections on tap, but the bottle menu is extensive and packed with quality beers too.

S - If you go here early (before 6pm) you can have the place almost to yourself and the wait staff is very attentive. After 6, the place fills in and gets really busy. Given the number of people typically here on a night, the waitstaff does a good job here. They are typically attentive enough, but not obtrusive. They are generally friendly, and all very knowledgable about the beers they have and can answer the typical questions and make recommendations too.

F - The beer is the main draw here, but the food quality is excellent also. The combination of great beer and great food is what really keeps me coming back here over and over. Menu changes with the seasons - always focuses on what is fresh and in season for produce. They source from local farms and everything is top quality. Recipes are interesting and not the typical fare found at beer bars. The pizzas are really good and the grilled cheese with honey and strawberries is amazing. Cheese plates are a meal in themselves and should not be missed - and always pair well with the beers on hand.

V - I would say the value here is very good. Prices are on the high side, and I always seem to spend more than I think I will when here...but I never feel cheated. Always feel that the money spent was worth it for the beer, food, and the experience.

Not a bargain night out - but definitely a must stop for beer lovers and foodies as well. If you are both, you won't be disappointed.

 2,676 characters

Photo of Tomas77
4.13/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Downtown Worcestor.
Great place not far off the highway. Has a full line of your favorite belgian beers as well as plenty of american styles. Long line of draft lines also of belgian beers. At least 20. Food is great and prices are not bad. Fair enough considering the great beer they serve. Once you find the place you realize its location is pretty convenient for most people. Nice stop to make if your traveling from Boston back to Western Mass. At least it is for me. If you have the chance, please check it out.

 516 characters

Photo of markipa1
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is a must-visit if you are in the area. 22 draughts, 6 dedicated to Belgian, a huge selection of Belgian bottles, and usually a great selection of American craft beers. You can see what's on tap on their website (they only update it weekly, so call if you need to make sure something is there - it is not always accurate). I LOVE that you can get a tasting sampler with 4oz of 4 different beers that you choose for about $8. The food is also outstanding. I have eaten there 3 times and liked everything I have had (great pulled pork sandwich). They source natural and local ingredients, and the chef does a great job. The bar tenders are passionate about beer, and really know their stuff. The only downsides are sometimes service can be slow when it is crowded, and can be a bit pricey, but worth it. All in all a great place and a much appreciated addition to the Worcester area.

 892 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Finally had the opportunity to visit Armsby Abbey last night. I had high hopes based on all the comments that I've heard about both the beer and food. It's just wonderful when something surpasses the high expectations you have for it.. Armsby Abbey did just that.

Great Place.

I really think this spot hit on all four key aspects of a good beer establishment. Great Service.. Very knowledgeable & friendly. In addition to the wait staff Alec came by to chat beer which was a great pleasure. You can clearly see that he has a vision for his business and is passionate about every details of the location. Great Food. Had one of the sandwiches and it was fantastic. Very high quality.. While I didn't have it, the person I was with said their grilled cheese sandwich is by far the best he's ever had and well worth the $9 menu price. I think that I'll be trying this on my next visit. Great Atmosphere. Friendly, welcoming, comfortable and accessible. A nice place to hang out..

Finally, great beer selection and quality... The tap list was diverse and of very high quality. Enjoyed a Bruery Trade Winds Tripel and St. Feuillien Saison. Both were served in the appropriate glassware and at the proper temperature. In addition to the 20 something beers on tap there is a great bottle selection. If you have a passion for Belgians, then this is your place.

I put this into the "must visit" and "worth going out of your way" category. If you haven't been, you need to go.

At this point I am wishing it was a bit closer to Sudbury, but I will definitely be returning as often as possible to the Abbey...

 1,606 characters

Photo of tendermorsel
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I have been hearing great things about this place and finally found myself out in Worcester and got a chance to go. It totally exceeded my expectations.

The atomosphere was great. Tables out side on the sidewalk. There was a quick puppet show when we first go there. Quite comfortable inside. There was a lot of nice wood furnature in the beer. Tons of glassware and bottles on display. Gorgous looking place. A little crowded when we first got there but I would expect that on a Friday night @ 10:30.

About 20-25 great taps. I had a Sculpin IPA and a great new flemish red Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge. I had I very tough time choosing my beer as about 10-12 of the taps were stuff I was dying to try. The bottle list was great too. Ton's of Belgian bottles available including some real rarities. (2007 Oerbier Reserva anyone?)

The owner Alex is cool as hell. After a 10-15 conversation with him I could tell he has a real passion for Belgian beers and knows his trade. Our waitress was great too. Quick to answer questions and reccomend beers.

The beer was real real good but the food was AMAZING. I had a Mac and Cheese that was about as good as it gets. Chimay cheese in the Mac and cheese? WTF! I was with a friends and we all loved what we ordered so much that we were sharing with each other at the table. The Sausage Pizza, Pulled Pork, and Hummus plate were all supurb. Appearently the menu is constantly changing as the focus is on local and fresh ingredents. Man it shows. Everything was real tasty and fresh. Especially considering we put our order through 15 minutes before the kitchen closed.

It is a bit pricey for sure. I ended up spending $32 for 2 beers and food. That being said you get what you pay for. Well worth the slightly higher prices.

Highly reccomended place. Yes there is a world class Belgian beer bar in Worcester! Believe it! I would be here all the time if I lived closer. I will be back for sure. This place would hold it's own with any of the other well established beer bars in New England. Utterly satisfied both the beer geek in me and the foody in me.

 2,098 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Swung by on a weekday afternoon after lunch at Gardner Ale House, easy to find as you drive by, look for the Chimay sign. Parking on-street took a bit more effort, but no harm, no foul.

Upscale interior/furnishings, long bar and a few tables. On this day, one table was occupied, and the bar was empty except for tender and a few of her friends/coworkers. Grabbed a seat at the bar, received a bottle and food menu promptly, and clued in to the tap brews are listed opposite the bar high on the wall chalkboard.

Excellent selection, good coverage of many styles, many hard-to-find/rare offerings/breweries. Tough decisions to be made. Beers were presented in correctly logoed and/or style-conscious glassware. Hard to find any faults in the beers area, for sure.

I did not have food, but menu seemed to be a bit more upscale than I usually look for. Not a problem, just everything seemed a bit busy for my tastes. I will note however the attention to local provisions and artisinal products. While I was there, obviously someone ordered some sort of offering with a cheese on it, and the aroma was superb.

All in all, nice place, and now that I know where it is, looking forward to revisiting.

 1,197 characters

Photo of krantul
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Hardwood floors... an amazing, locally constructed, custom-built bar... towering shelves of Belgian glassware... adjacent to the bar, a drink rail built from a slab of recovered wood, stretching between a pair of exposed support column... it's a cool place, classy without being stuffy. A great variety in clientele, from beer nerds in t-shirts to attorneys in suits... but all having a common interest in good beer, good spirits, and handmade food.

Everything here is high quality. 22 taps with 6 dedicated Belgian lines: all craft beer, no crap, no faux-craft. Over 150 bottles, with at least 80 Belgians, in case nothing on draft strikes your fancy. A small, but carefully selected wine list, and a dizzying array of artisanal spirits--nothing mass market there, either. $5 is the norm for a standard pint, with imports and higher-gravity beers sometimes a bit higher. Naturally, the Belgians can run a bit higher, but all of the pricing is fair.

The food is freaking amazing. The menu is very focused: cheese boards, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas are the norm. Some entrée-type food shows up as a special from time to time, and the stuff they prepare for the occasional beer dinners ranks with most ambitious gastropubs. Special accolades for the in-house baker/pastry chef--the breads and desserts are the best that money can buy.

This is a world-class beer bar and easily one of the best in New England. A must-visit beer destination for anyone in the northeast

 1,472 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Visited here during my wife's 10 year CLARK reunion. Had dinner with some friends and a few tasty beers. Parking is actually pretty easy with a lot basically next door or some off street access too. The outside is a red brick building and going in the front door opens into a prototypical beerbar/brewpub scene. Long rectangular bar to the right about 20 stools, table and chair setups along the walls, chalkboard with draft list (approx 20 lines no crap on tap), and some stool and high table seats in the middle. Extensive beer list on bottle as well heavy on belgians and the prices may have been a little high for bottles but drafts were spot on.
Food menu is cool, focus on organic and locally grown products including seasonal varieability. Had tastes of my wife's salad complete with fiddleheads and enjoyed it. Also orderd the cheeseburger pizza with free range ground beef and local bacon to boot. The pizza was very yummy. Only disappointment was the cheese selection for the grilled cheese, a fairly bland dry cheese that didnt help with the slightly overcooked bread/toast. Otherwise all was good.
Beer list on draft was a mix of heavy hitters (DFH Palo Santo), locals (BBC coffee porter), and high end imports. I also had an Allagash Curieux on draft for only $6.
Overall an incredible addition to the beer scene in a city that was lacking a real presence. Only drawback is apparently no reservations and the place seems to be usually crowded.
A must hit if in Central Mass.

 1,489 characters

Photo of DrinknFish
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went here before the Dead on Saturday. The place was a bit nutty but even with the crowd we were able to get a table outside and reasonable service. Actually the service was better than I had expected given the conditions. At one point the waitress overheard my friend telling me she is now a vegan and then informed my friend that the dressing that came with her salad had bacon in it, very cool. The beer selection was great and was even able to find some good beers for my Bud drinking friend. This is definitely the place to go if you love Belgians though. We got a pulled pork pizza, a salad and the Olive Tapenade for dinner and they were all very tasty. I work near Worcester and this is now on top of my list to take one of our beer drinking clients.

 760 characters

Photo of pomeroy41144
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I have been to the Abby four times. I am always impressed with the vast selection which includes several session beers as well as many extreme beers. Since I live in Natick I usually haveto take it a bit easy on the extremes.

The food is very good not great. However, I agree with the prior post that the BBQ chicken pizza was outstanding. I also love the cheeses.

It does remind me more of Deep Elum which is my favorite in Boston.

Highly reccomended. Bartenders very knowledgable and service extremely good.

 514 characters

Photo of natasharai
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place is great! The server knew something about each beer, which was great! The atmosphere is awesome, a bunch of high tops to sit at with a few friends and chat and a nice bar. From the outside this place looks like nothing special, but once you walk in you know you are in the right place! All taps are listed on a chalk board and they have the belgian taps on one side. They had about 15-20 well chosen taps on and a good selection of bottles. They have the correct glassware for each style of beer, and are sure to serve everything in the correct glass. I got a spinach artichoke pizza which was yummy. The other food looked good, but was kind of a side note to the good beer.

 685 characters

Photo of Nipitato
4.6/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I've visited the Abbey a couple of times and continue to be impressed.

The Abbey sits in an old three (or maybe four) story office building found so frequently in cities and towns across New England. The inside of this place is just gorgeous; somehow it manages to be both modern and traditional at the same time.

Quality and service are very good. The pours I've had have always been fresh and served in appropriate glassware. The bartenders and servers know what they are talking about.

Selection is very good - particularly their draft list. The bottle list leans Belgian but the draft list to me focuses more on local offerings. I don't believe they have cask offerings.

The food here is very, very good. The focus on local produce/ingredients is fully realized on many menu items but nowhere more then the Baystate Slate cheese tray - phenomenal.

I am split on how to rank the value of the Abbey. I think their beer prices are very affordable. Food prices are expensive but I think completely worth it.

All in all the Armsby Abbey is worth going out of your way to visit.

 1,087 characters

Photo of Jayli
4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Visited Armsby on 2/13/09
From the outside, it doesn't look like much. Upon enterting, nice place - exposed brick with woodwork throughout. The walls behind the bar have extensive barware - of which the bartenders make sure that your beers are poured in the appropriate glassware. Seating is first come first serve, so luckily we hit this place up early enough on a Friday. Tap list is listed on a chalk board, and 4 page bottle menu that caters to an extensive amount of belgians. Sample of what was on tap for last Friday: Troegs Hop Back Amber, Southern Tier Back Burner, BBC Coffeehouse Porter, Boulder's Oak Aged Never Summer, Honest Town Pale Ale, Berkshire Scotch Ale, Bear Republic's Greenhouse Lager. Nice mixture! Service was pretty decent - we sat at the bar. Serving of the food was slightly slow. However, the bartenders were good at checking in on drinks (and actually to make sure the other 'tender got our foodorder). Food was FANFREAKINGTASTIC! Now - it is definitely on the pricey side, but one of the patrons advised that local markets are used for the food. OK - I can get with supporting local business'.. and I won't be hitting this place up on a frequent basis. Got a poached pear and goat cheese spinach salad - AMAZING...and pineapple and ham pizza. The food was definitely as good as the beer. If it weren't for an hour drive - I would be here more frequently.

 1,386 characters

Photo of RomanW70
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I went here a few weeks ago, just before Chrustmas. Great experience. They had a lot of special Belgian Christmas Ales, and some great American selections, like Southern Tier Choklat and Port Brewing Old Viscocity. The food was excellent and very reasonably priced. I had a cheese plate and a ham and cheese sandwich, a beer sampler, dessert, and 3 other beers and my share of the bill was under $40. My only complaint was the service, which while very friendly, was very slow, which would have been more than fine, but I had concert tickets that night. Overall, a great experience.

 582 characters

Photo of SUjunkie
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

There is finally a reason to go to Worcester.
I've been wanting to visit this place since its opening and finally had a chance to last night. It was more than I could of imagined.
Located in downtown Worcester it is very easy to find. The inside of the Abbey has high ceilings, low hanging dimming lights, exposed brick and a long brown mahogany bar. They have a full bar with an extensive specialty drink list and a decent wine list...but that is not why I'm here. Mmmm Beer.

The beer selection is superb. There are 22 taps and over 150 bottles. There are 6 Belgians on draught and over 80 bottles in the coolers beneath the bar. I had draught only. Carolus Triple, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Troegs Mad Elf, Allagash White, Ommegang Hennepin, Great Divide Titan IPA, Smuttynose Gravitation and Ballast Pt. Big Eye IPA were some of the mouth drooling selections. The glassware is amazing with matching glassware for practically all beers on tap.

The food menu is fairly extensive for a bar, with creative high quality pizzas, sandwiches, and cheese plates. We got the Olives and Feta and shared a Bierchamel pizza.

My list of beer bars visited goes well beyond what I've reviewed on BA and this bar is in the top portion of my list. I can't wait to return.

 1,263 characters

Photo of Damian
4.6/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

After hearing so much about Armsby Abbey, my girlfriend and I decided to venture out to Worcester one cold winter night to see what all the hype was about.

Armsby Abbey is located on the outskirts of downtown Worcester. The bar is situated in an old, refurbished brick building that appears to be a part of the downtown revitalization project. From the outside, the bar looks rather innocuous. Inside, the space is warm, cozy, dark and somewhat trendy. Pieces of brewerania dot the olive green walls and a thirty-or-so foot mahogany bar lines the right side of the room.

On our visit to Armsby Abbey (we went on a Saturday night around 8 PM), the bar was packed. When we asked the doorman if we could put our name in for a table, we were told that they do not take names. Instead, we had to hover for about fifteen minutes before fighting for a seat at the bar.

The beer selection at Armsby Abbey was quite impressive. The tap list consisted of approximately thirty, high-quality offerings (many of which were seasonal), including Samichlaus, Scaldis, Baladin Noel, Southern Tier Choklat and Gemini, Abbaye de Rocs Grand Cru and Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. The bottle list, with over 150 offerings (including a page of vintage beers), was also rather notable. All beers are served in the proper glassware (many in their own glasses).

Besides beer, Armsby Abbey also prides itself on its upscale, artisnal "bar fare," much of which is organic and/or locally sourced. My girlfriend and I stared out with the Bay State cheese plate, which was to die for. The plate consisted of an array of cheeses (including a sharp bleu and a sharp cheddar), salami, whole grain breads, candied walnuts and clover honey, all from local producers. For our entrees, I had the BLT (outstanding, with thick cut bacon from Vermont) and my girlfriend had the duck sausage sandwich (might have been good in the summer but, as a cold dish, not the best thing to have on a cold winter night). Prices were a bit higher than you might find at your average pub but, lest we not forget, you are paying for (primarily) locally sourced, natural meats and produce here.

The service was commendable, especially given that we visited Armsby Abbey on a packed Saturday night. The "hip" bartenders were actually quite friendly and carried no attitude, like they often do in some Boston-area bars. I was even able to chat one up for a bit about the beers.

Overall, my experience at Armsby Abbey was very positive. My only recommendation would be to have a host take names for tables on weekend nights. I definitely plan to stop by Armsby Abbey again next time I visit Worm Town.

 2,654 characters

Photo of rousee
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I have stopped at the Armsby Abbey a couple times recently while driving by Worcester. It is a great spot to hit for lunch/brunch and it sure beats the hell out of hitting some rest service area on the highway. It is pretty close to I-290 and really isnt much out of the way if you are on the Mass Pike to begin with. As you approach Worcester --take 290 east and take exit 17 and it is within a few blocks of the exit. Heading back east--you can take 290 west and then Rte 146 (towards Providence) south to Mass pike which doesnt require going back as far west as when you had begun on I-290.

Both times I have been-- it was on a Saturday afternoon and they had their brunch menu going. We had gotten this breakfast slate which is a cheese plate featuring cheeses and other items from some local farmers. In fact, most of the menu here is devoted to locally grown and produced ingredients/items. You could even say that the people that run this restaurant are somewhat of "local"-vores meaning they try to feature as many locally produced items as possible and it really helps in the quality department.

We have also had the corned beef hash calzone which was absoltely fantastic and their mac and cheese --also fabulous. I also had this eggs benedict pizza thing that was good but not as fantastic as some of the other items I mention.

Their beer selection is great and seems to change around with a good degree of regularity. The first time I went which was around Thanksgiving--most of the beers were more Belgian oriented. When I went back after Christmas--the focus was more on American craft beers. I tend to prefer the American crafts a little more as they can easily have a higher freshness level than something from overseas but just the fact that they change them around regularly is a good thing and definitely ensures freshness. The thing that I really liked about the beer selection is that they do these little flights of 4 beers in 4 oz samplers--this is perfect-- since many of them can be high in abv and you wouldnt be able to try as many and its not gonna really affect your ability to drive if you just have one flight-- where a few big glasses of big beer might make it less than safe to drive away from here. So this is an excellent way of doing the beers.

The service each time has been very friendly, prompt, attentive, and professional. She seems to know her beers pretty well too. I don't believe in testing people's knowledge as it is not that important to me but everytime I have discussed my opinioons on this or that-I got the impression, she definitely knew a good amount about the beers they serve here.

The pricing is a little on the expensive side but the emphasis is on quality, not mass produced junk--so overall, I'd say the pricing is fair but it isnt gonna win any "cheap eats" awards.

Overall, a fantastic place and a great addition to the Worcester scene. I have been driving by Worcester for years and never knew anywhere good to stop for food and a drink. Now I do and I wish this place much success. It is a great place for food and beer.

 3,090 characters

Photo of ncuba
3.95/5  rDev -14.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is a really good place. The few things I found off-putting (e.g. loudish music, variably poor lighting) would be easily fixable, are perhaps not a problem to others, and should certainly be considered in light of what kind of bar this is, that is to say, not a loud and dark bar at all.

I've been 3-4 times, and found the service to be either ok or sub-par. There seems to be some real knowledge at every level, which is great, but perhaps in selecting for that some more fundamental shortcomings (e.g. good waitering, polite conversation) were overlooked. Anyway, no big problems, and with such a small number of visits my impression might have just been luck of the draw.

Simply put, the beer is great. There's opportunity to branch out or seek shelter in old favorites.

There's some really good food here too. Most everything I've tried has been fantastic, only a few items on the cheese plates have fallen flat, and the real knock-outs on the plates kind of make up for them.

All in all a very nice place. You will likely spend a good deal of money here, but the quality of product more often than not justifies it. I will return and would recommend.

 1,163 characters

Photo of maxhock
4.83/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Spent time making 'The Dive Bar' home while at school in Worcester a few years back and had to try this place - mostly because Alec is quite a respectable dude. Anyways, was really impressed and happy to see the way the Abbey turned out. I actually brought my parents here, who were a bit skeptical at first (mostly because I emphasized the selection of beers - and they don't really drink), but they loved it and did try some adult beverages, which they enjoyed per our servers recommendations etc.... We all agreed that the food was great (we had a large cheese plate and I had the cheeseburger pizza, which was very good) and reasonably priced and the beer selection draught/bottle was by far the best in the area. I will certainly be coming back here, when I make the trek from Boston and will be recommending it to everyone I can.

 835 characters

Photo of morebeergood
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Finally had the chance to stop in here the night before Thanksgiving with some friends. Parking is a bit tight in the area if it's a busy night, but we got a good spot right on Main Street. Nice look from the street, brick building with huge windows and a very bold sign. Also very classy looking when you walk in. Brick everywhere, gorgeous wood, and cool ambient music playing. Bar itself is gorgeous, with all the Belgian beer glasses on display. A bit of a crowd for Wednesday night, but it's a big night to go out, so it was expected. There is a long bar to sit at, with a stand up bar behind it, separating the table areas. I can see how people can complain about the place getting crowded, as there does not seem to be a lot of room to maneuver if you are seat-less. Bartenders were very helpful, and the waitresses working the floor were very friendly. Huge chalkboard with the draught list, and a menu sized book for the bottle list. Impressive to say the least. I tried the '07 Pizza Port Old Viscosity, the Founders Backwoods Bastard, and the '07 Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. PP and Founders came in snifters, and Omm was served in a branded glass. Our entire party was impressed with the beer. A friend ordered a pizza, and while I did not eat, it looked decent. The food menu look impressive also, but a bit on the high end price side. I have also heard that the portions are not immense. But I would love to come back soon to eat and judge for myself. Based on what a great time we had, the Abbey is definitely on my permanent must-visit list when I am back home. Plus, being so close to the Dive Bar, that's where we went after for late night drinks. Alec for Mayor of Woostah!

 1,694 characters

Photo of erantul
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I have tried just about everything on the menu. Went on the first weekend it opened and have been going back about once a week since.

It DOES get crowded, but that makes me happy, 'cause I like good places to eat and drink in the Woo. The crowds vary from people who look like they'd be at home in a biker bar, to college students and their professors, to hipsters, to your average 30 somethings out for a night... in short, it's a friendly place for everyone.

The service has never been anything but friendly. It is slow at times, but it's a slow food restaurant. That's part of the design: quality food made to order. If you're absolutely starving when you get there, there are a few quicker items, like a hummus or an olives/feta dip, but do expect to wait on anything you order.

For those who don't drink beer, or who are having a night where they don't feel like beer, the cocktails are absolutely fantastic. They are made with fresh seasonal fruit and are on the expensive side, but worth every penny. My mother, after having a vodka-lemonade made with fresh lemons, blueberries and a sprig of thyme, commented how it tasted healthy for an alcoholic beverage. The wine list is very good, as well, and I've bought bottles after having a glass at the Armsby Abbey.

I love that the bartenders and waitstaff take the time to explain all the different beers and menu options. It can be a bit daunting, I'd imagine, for someone who doesn't know what they're looking at to be confronted with all those beers. I'm a fairly experienced beer drinker and I appreciate their knowledge when I am unsure what a beer is. I love that no matter who you are, if you have an honest question about what they serve, the staff takes the time to explain it to you. I have seen some sarcasm back and forth between clientele and staff, but it's usually either based on a friendly relationship or because a patron came in and was a jerk right off the bat. This place is down the street from a venue that is famous for its arrests and drug deals and drunken, badly behaving frat boys and the owners don't really want any of that and will swiftly put down or remove anyone they see as about to cause a problem. That is also something I appreciate.

The physical beauty of the place has been mentioned. I know it seems trendy, but the bar and the tables are mahogany from a sustainable farm in South Africa, and the standing rail is an ancient board out of an ancient bridge that was being taken apart and recycled. Not to mention that the elbow rail there is one of the most comfortable I've ever leaned on! I hate bar rails with uncomfortable edges! It may seem trendy, but I think it's classic and will be beautiful for what I hope turns into years to come! Worcester has always had great restaurants, even when they have less-than-impressive beer selections, but this one is raising the bar (haha) for them, and I hope they all follow suit.

 2,929 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

From their website "22 Rotating Craft Draughts
(6 dedicated to Belgian), 1 Cask, Over 120 Unusual Bottles (70+ of which will be Belgian), and will include some of the rarest beers on the planet." Beer wise this place has the goods, when I visited a few days ago, here is most of the draft list:

Founders Breakfast stout
Founders Backwoods Bastard
Ommegang Abbey
Piraat IPA
Samichlas Helles
Petrus oud Bruin
Allagash Grand Cru
BBC Cabin fever
Southern Tier IPA
2 from Honest Town
A Smutty selection
A Mayflower selection
Koninhoeven Quad
Pizza Port
Great Divide
Extensive bottle list LOADED with very BA worthy selections. BA's will find total beer satisfaction here. Belgians, locals. they have it.

Pleasant, classy atmosphere, dim lights and Jammy music at an intelligent, conversation inducing level. Mixed crowd, older/younger, a few groups and couples. Large windows looking out onto the mysterious Worcester night. Appropriate glassware in full force. Respect for beer clearly going on here. No time for food, but the menu is full of tasty looking options, made with local products, cooked in house, reasonable prices. I will be back, and this place would be a no-brainer favorite place if I was local.

 1,210 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
3.78/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Armsby Abbey has an amazing beer selection that includes 22 taps and over 130 bottles (each listed in an easy to read menu listed by style, price, and abv). They really have something for everyone, all extremely fresh, and served in appropriate glassware. I enjoyed a Founder's Breakfast Stout, and a St. Bernardus abt 12 during my visit, and also enjoyed one heck of a pork bbq sandwich. Food is very unique and creative, and also very impressive. Tons of Belgians in bottles offered here of varying styles, but also plenty of American micros in a variety of styles, and even a very creative drink/martini menu if your company prefers that.

The bar itself is extremely clean, great low lighting and a terrific bar setup with older looking wood and a huge blackboard displaying current taps.

I do have one complaint, and to be fair, no other reviews report anything similar, so hopefully my experience was the exception. I had brought a couple of friends who were very skeptical and are not into stretching their beer palate, but I had re-assured them the friendly staff would help them pick something they would like. More than one staff member was borderline condescending when asking questions about the menu and taps, and in addition, we were kept waiting on both food and drink orders at various points while staff socialized with patrons for extended amounts of time at one section of the bar. It was rather frustrating, and embarassing for me having recommended the place so highly.

All in all, the food was GREAT, the beer selection amazing, but all that said I am not sure I will return. For me, I frequently remember the way I am made feel and that my business is appreciated above all else. That was not the case here.

 1,737 characters

Photo of gchop
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

If you are in the Worcester area this is the place to go. Best beer selection (along with the Dive Bar) for miles. Rogue Double Dead Guy and Southern Tier Oat were my choices on this day. All beer is served in the proper glassware.
If you need to convince a non-beer drinker to go with you they have an equally varied and unique drink menu.

The food enhanced the experience. I went there for the beer and left raving about the food. The pizzas are delicious and original (try the Curry and Vegetable).

The beer and food menus change weekly so you will always find something new. I will definitely be back soon.

 614 characters

Photo of number1bum
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I was in town on business, staying in Westborough, and decided to head down to Worcester to check this place out. I'm glad I did. Parking was pretty easy being a Wednesday night, but I can see how it would be potentially problematic on weekends or when something is going on at the arena nearby.

The place was a bit smallish, with probably 12 tables or so and a very nice, large bar that probably seated about 20. Bar was beautiful, handmade locally apparently, and the atmosphere overall was the biggest drawback in my opinion. Overall I'd describe the place as "trendy" and leaning toward a sort of chic/alternative yuppie crowd. Lots of martinis being served, for instance. Not a bad thing I suppose, but not really my style either. A bit on the pretentious side, which I don't really care for. Frankly, I found some of the clientele to be obnoxious and the conversation around me to be incredibly inane. Oh well, on to the beer...

As for the beer, they had they think 22 taps or somewhere in that range. Maybe 5 or 6 Belgian/Belgian style, including N'Ice Chouffe, Houblon Chouffe, a couple Unibroues, etc. Also Kentucky Breakfast Stout, O'Hara's Stout, Victory Braumeister Pils and Moonglow Weizenbock, some local stuff, Founders Devil Dancer, etc. Very nice selection overall. Also probably 130 bottles or something like that. I had a Breakfast Stout and Victory Pils. Outstanding. You'd be hard pressed to put together a more diverse, across the board quality beer selection.

As for food, they had 2 cheese plates; one a New England plate, the other a Belgian plate. Also some salads, soups, sandwiches and wood fire pizzas. I had a cup of corn chowder which was pretty good, and a very tasty Fall Harvest Pizza with pumpkin, caramelized onions, homemade sausage, etc. Service was great. Prices were quite reasonable. The bartenders were very attentive, quick to ask about refills, etc. The bartender serving me even entertained a customer to my right for a solid five minutes with what I considered to be incredibly obnoxious, inane questions and conversation. To her credit, she did it all with a smile on her face. This is supposed to be a beer bar, I thought, so extended conversation about different flavors of martinis just doesn't do it for me. Oh well, that's just me.

 2,287 characters

Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
4.6 out of 5 based on 249 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!