Armsby Abbey

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Armsby AbbeyArmsby Abbey
263 Ratings
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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Ratings: 263 |  Reviews: 142
Photo of number1bum
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 -7.1%
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 +0.4%
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 -2.1%
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 +1.5%
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 -0.6%
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 +6.8%
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 +3.2%
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 0%
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 +2.1%
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 +6.8%
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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Photo of swirldog
4.58/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is the second beer venue opened by the same owners, The Dive Bar being the other.
Nice atmosphere with plenty of brick and a beautiful, hand crafted bar and tap system.
20+ taps with a lot of quality stuff, great Belgian selections, prices ranging from $5 to $9.
For food tried a cheese platter which seemed a bit pricey but tasty. Pizzas very reasonable and innovative.
Acoustics, according to one of the owners will be improved as it is loud even without a big crowd at the time we were there.
All told it is a nice addition to the beer scene of Worcester which was meager at best till these guys came along.
Looking forward to many more visits.

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Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
Place rating: 4.68 out of 5 with 263 ratings