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Armsby Abbey

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136 Reviews
Armsby AbbeyArmsby Abbey

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(508) 795-1012 | map

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Added by dougnboston on 08-02-2008

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Reviews: 136 | Ratings: 248
Photo of Nipitato
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of Jayli
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of RomanW70
4.75/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of SUjunkie
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Damian
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of rousee
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of ncuba
3.95/5  rDev -14.3%
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.

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Photo of maxhock
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
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!

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Photo of erantul
5/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.78/5  rDev -18%
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.

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Photo of gchop
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of number1bum
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I have been wanting to stop by The Armsby Abbey for a while now. I have been tracking it since they opened and got my chance to visit on a recent Sunday afternoon on my back from Vermont.

It is as expected a wonderful beer bar offering great food! The 22 taps with 5 Belgians was a great start. The bottle list was extensive as well. My girlfriend who is not a big beer drinker was loving cheese/fruit plate and said that she would love to return for dinner and a cocktail.

Although it is an hour away for me I will try to visit whenever I am passing through the Worcester area! I thought that the service was great (though it was 2pm on a Sunday), the food we worth the visit on it's own merit and the beer selection was great. The food and beer pricing was also very fair in my opinion.

Can't wait until my next visit!

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Photo of Durge
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Right on main street, not far from I-290, this is a small to medium sized barroom restaurant, one room with a number of sit down areas for eating (or drinking). It's an old building with retro charm, fairly unassuming from outside but a bit trendy on the inside. Casual but this is not you typical Worcester blue collar bar & grill. 22 taps with an outstanding variety of quality brews. Not a sniff of a macro unless we want to call Victory's Hop Devil the evil empire of brewing. Creme broule stout from Southern Tier, Bear Republic's Black Mamba, Mayflower IPA, Avery's Maharaja, Urthel Hop-It, Brooklyn Grand Cru, Great Divide's Wild Raspberry, Berkshire's Coffee House Porter, Stone's 12th Anniversary Stout(?), St. Bernardus Abt 12, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Weistenstephaner Hefe, and others with a very good selection of bottled brews as well, with a bit of an emphasis on the Belgian and other imports. Good music for the thoughtful listener, no TV. One of the owners introduced himself and confirmed that this place is doing great in its first few weeks and he obviously knows his business after 20 years at it and so much success with the coveted Dive Bar. It isn't too easy on the wallet but it is pretty unprecedented for selection for this area, or any area for that matter. I also enjoyed a "gourmet sandwich that was excellent. Almost everything here is a bit fancy faire, sort of pub grub for the discriminating Epicurean. What a pleasure to have this available. I'll be back, and so should you!!

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Photo of jfindley
4.7/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Stopped here on a Sunday evening on the way through town from NY to Nashua. It was pleasantly busy, but not crowded. All the reviews are pretty much right on; this place has an excellent selection on tap and an overwhelming bottle selection. When I stopped the tap selection wasn't just broad and varied, but in almost every case each beer was unique for that brewery. No Red Hook IPA, Sam Adams, or similar.

We had food and the menu is also varied, fresh, and they credit local farms for the ingredients they have used. I noticed several reviews noted this was a bit pricey, but I think it's actually quite reasonable for what you're actually getting. The servings aren't bust your gut buffet sizes, but the quality is what's on show here.

The atmosphere is great. Good mix of people from all ages and all professions. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable. It feels very comfortable and inviting - the kind of place that makes it hard to pay the bill and leave.

Overall, Armsby Abbey is NOT to be missed. There are many many brewpubs, pubs, and beer bars that could take a lesson from this place.

Thanks for the great evening! I'll be back even if I have to drive way out of my way.

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Photo of JakeSuperior
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

What can be said that hasn't already been said?

The beer selection is top-notch, both on tap and bottled. The beers on tap rotate often, so there's always something new to try everytime you go.

The food is delicious and has the added appeal of being local and fresh, and the menu changes with season as well. While I have not had their pizza's yet (which I've heard are out of this world), their appetizer serving size tends to be a bit small, as I can easily eat a cheese plate by myself and still be hungry after. If I may, I would like to reccommend the New England cheese plate, it's out of this world.

They offer outdoor seating, which is always a plus.

The only flaw of the bar that I have found is that it gets a bit cramped during peak drinking days (thurs-saturday), but this is only a credit to the popularity of the bar.

If you find yourself in the worcester, be sure to stop in, all you will need is one time to be hooked.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.75/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Full disclosure: My GF knows an employee there but I did not know that before selecting this venue for brunch this weekend and my review has not been influenced by this relationship in any way.

I chose the place based on the BA Directory's prior reviews and when I recommended it to her she replied, "I think I've been there". This blew my mind because before she met me she had had a few miller lights back in college and this place has only been open for less than two months. Moving on...

This place is exceptional in all respects but to be as critical as possible I have to get literal and perhaps it comes down to my interpretation of selection. If you do not speak Flemish or are not a true beer geek you may wonder at first glance if they in fact serve beer at all.
Don't get me wrong, I'm wishing that all my fingers were thumbs so that I may give more than two thumbs up to this place. Beer geeks and Belgians are in absolute Heaven. The Abby is so far above and beyond any gastronomical destination that it is difficult to compare.

We arrived first about opening time and the menus had not been printed yet. That's how fresh the selections were.

I'm a veggie myself but the rest of the party was omnivorous and I'm glad to say that we all had more than a few options.

The food emphasis is on the local. Nothing on any plate of our party of four came from more than a few miles away. We did not watch the eggs being laid but the taste imparts that same feeling. It's that good.

Just knowing that I could ride my bike to the pasture where the cows or goats whose cheese I just ate are still peacefully grazing is truly surreal. The plums were picked just two days ago and the pears in the muffins were picked last week at the orchard ten miles away.

It makes the mind reel and the reeling is only encouraged by the responsible hydration of the best of Belgium.

A word to the proprietors: Have you a Mission Statement? all puns intended. I'm thinking 'Belgium and your own back yard', or 'Monking Awesome!'

I fear that this place will be so huge that no one will go there because it's always so crowded in the evenings and in prime times so if you truly like a good beer and some hearty seasonal eats, plan for an off time for your first time.

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Photo of FirstMan
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'll second most of what everyone says here. Having lived in Worcester for several years now, I was utterly thrilled to have the Abbey open.

First up - the beer selection is top-notch. Not a thing on tap that I would have turned my nose up at. And folks - I am a king of nose-turning-upping when it comes to beer. Please do not try to match my nose for up-turning...

I had Ommegang Rouge which I had never seen on tap - served in the correct glassware, thank you - and enjoyed it like nobody's business. Enjoyed two, in fact. They had 6 Belgians on tap when I was there, maybe 10 American micros, and several other nationalities mixed in.

Very slight complaint #1: All but 2 of the beers on tap were over 8% when I was there and those that were lower were darker types. Now I love my big beers as much as the next guy, but how about a few nice session beers for those who want something a little lighter with our food - i.e. a good American Pale (read: something from Portland, OR) or a good lager like Brooklyn or Pils like Victory.

Now, that said, their bottle selection is huge and completely packed with many great, lighter abv beers. My "not even really an issue because I love this place" was with the average abv on tap.

The atmosphere is very nice - nice enough to not feel like a "bar" to my wife, but comfortable enough for me to really enjoy the beer without feeling out of place in shorts.

My wife and I had two of their pizzas. I had the thai pizza, which was just great and my wife had the margarita pizza. I utterly love the fact that I was eating local produce and it showed in the quality and freshness of the food. Just great. We eyed the two cheese trays they have, too, but we'll save that for a future visit.

Highly recommended and worth a drive. Plus, you can check out the hardware store down the block that's been open since just after the Revolution (how cool is that?).

Update 2/1/2011:
Still love this place and go whenever I can. They've been great about rotating wonderful new dishes through the menu and I'm never disappointed by the beer selection. While it's a bit pricy, I don't mind because I know that money is going straight into maintaining a standard of quality well above most other establishments in the area.

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Photo of antaydos
5/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I really don't have anything more to offer than everyone else has said regarding this place, except that I've been twice so far, and each time, I've been blown away. It has an utterly fantastic selection with great prices (considering a "normal" bar will charge $4 for a Bud, these prices are outstanding).

The food is all from local farms which is a huge asset. The cheeseboards and the pizzas are delicious.

I can't say enough about this place; it's a dream come true in my hometown.

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Photo of cookin420
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Yes, Yes, Yes!!
I return home (Worcester) for a visit and this is what find. Yes!!
Tons of Belgians, Most of the right bottles but a little light on some stuff; Scotch Ales, American and English Pales and IPAs. Not a complaint at all, just an observation, Hopefully there will be an expansion at some point.
I sat for about three hours and sampled much, and everything was in perfect glassware and served at the perfect temperature. Obviously a good deal of care was put into this list and its service. Well Done.
Service was right on point. Alexi (I think) was more than knowledgeable and as friendly as you could ask for. You would have to really try to stump her when it comes to the menu, also. And trust me, I asked a LOT of questions.
As a chef I have to say that the menu got me real exited. Well worded and emphasizing the local ingredients, it had me eager to eat but clueless as to what I wanted. Decided on a Cod special with a soft Swiss and potatoes. Excellent flavor combo, perfect execution, unfortunately I suspect it was last weeks Cod. If not than it was getting old when they got it. Probably should've made some Codcakes. Even still I was very impressed.
My Father had a Kriek braised Duck sausage sandwich on what he said was one of the best pieces of bread he's had in Worcester. With some dogged determination this could turn into something truly great. I'm sending my resume.
Value? 66 Bucks. 5 brews each and two food orders. You decide. Many, many $5 brews. Cheap food. Go there. Ask for Alexi.
I live in Maine now but I'm moving back to Wormtown in October. I will be fixture at this incredible place. See you there.

EDIT: Please note that I have given this a 5 for quality pertaining to the beer and service aspects only. I will wait to eat here again and edit if necessary.
DOUBLE EDIT: Went back with three others yesterday and ALL food orders were right on spot. Couldn't be much better. I have edited the food rating.

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Photo of dougnboston
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It is soooo nice to have another great beer bar in the area. Assuming you love beer, why else would you be reading this, you won't be disappointed! The actual bar is hand made and designed to show off the tons of proper glassware.

I thought the food was great. The cheese plate was big and tasty. The pizzas were fresh and full of flavor.

If you were a regular of the Dive Bar (now serving "just" great micro brews, not Belgians), you know they didn't take credit cards. Armsby does take credit cards!! Yeah. No more last minute ATM hunts.

A really great place! Enjoy.

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Photo of TeddyBG
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Was anxiously awaiting the opening of this spot. Especially since I had heard so many good things about The Dive Bar, but the 5PM opening always prevented this 30-something family man from attending.

All I can say is very impressive. The bar is beautiful and the open atmosphere really makes you feel comfortable bellying up to the bar. Great tap and bottle selection but I sought this place out for the tap selection. First beer was teh Ommegang Rouge which was interesting, to say the least. Then followed up with a Mayflower IPA which was very good. Both were served in the proper glassware. The bartender, Joe, was A+.

The menu is good. Appears to cater to the lunch crowd which is smart, considering it's location. I got one of their salads and it was excellent. Love the idea of sourcing all of the material from local farmers, etc.

All in all a great addition to Worcester. Plan on making this a stop on my lunch circuit.

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Photo of jeepcj85
5/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Ive been waiting for awhile for this place to open with much anticipation. I was definitely NOT disappointed!

The Abbey is located on the north end of Main St in downtown Worcester, a short walk from the train station and I290 with plenty of parking.

The atmosphere is great with high ceilings, brick walls and a custom mahoghany bar that's spectacular.

The beer selection is well rounded. There are 22 taps and over 150 bottles. There are 6 Belgians on draught and over 80 bottles!! Oerbier Special Reserva, Stille Nacht, and Malheur Dark Brut are some highlights on the bottle list. N'ice Chouffe 07 was on draught as well as Nostradamus, Koningshoeven Quad, Urthel HopIt, and many more. The glassware collection is amazing, with the proper clean glass for almost every Belgian beer! There is a small wine list and an unbelievable drink list featuring fresh muddled fruits and hand crafted spirits.

The food menu is fairly extensive for a bar, with creative high quality pizzas, sandwiches, and cheese plates. Most ingredients for the food come from local farms as well.

Ive been to many a beer bar and this one ranks in the top tier in my opinion.

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Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
4.61 out of 5 based on 248 ratings.
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