Armsby Abbey

BA SCORE
100
world-class

255 Ratings
Armsby AbbeyArmsby Abbey
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(508) 795-1012 | map
armsbyabbey.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by dougnboston on 08-02-2008

PLACE STATS
Score:
100
Ratings:
255
Reviews:
140
Avg:
4.6
pDev:
5%
 
 
Taps:
22
Bottles/Cans:
85
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 255 |  Reviews: 140
Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.15/5  rDev -31.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I was looking forward to trying AA after hearing all the glowing reviews. A day trip for biz put me in the Worcester area around dinner time and I was finally able to give the place a shot.

If I can sum up my opinion of this place in 1 word: PRETENTIOUS. Though the draft/bottle list seem to have alot of thought put into it, I kept thinking everything about this place was extreme overkill. The pricing for everything, from the food to the beers is overdone as well...$12 sandwiches and $15 individual pizzas give you an idea of what you can expect....for WORCESTER????

From the moment I sat down at the bar (& summarily ignored by the hipster barkeep as he chatted up a regular) to the time I left, I felt uncomfortable, like I wasn't cool enough to be there. Though the beers I had were tasty (but short-poured) and the sandwich was OK, the whole atmosphere was a turn-off.

I guess if you're a twenty-something, single hipster beer geek with unlimited disposable income, this place could be your nirvana; for me, not so much.

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Photo of sheikyerbouti
3.7/5  rDev -19.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Pros: great beer, very good beer selection, good food.
Cons:expensive beer/food. $8-9 for a short pour of belgian beer seems steep to me, as is $12-15 for a sandwich. At least offer beer and food specials.

I really like the atmosphere and the selection, its just pricey. The past 3 or 4 times we've gone, we ended up leaving after waiting over an hour just to get a seat. Expect to see a very yuppie crowd texting their friend sitting next to them as well as an hour plus wait on the weekend to sit down.

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Photo of ejimhof
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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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.

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Photo of boredalready
3.96/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

My only real issue with Armsby is the service. It seems that every time I go the bartender is a condescending jerk. I live very close by but after a dozen or so visits over the course of a year I don't plan to go back no matter how good the beer and food. But with the selection they have they won't miss my business and people won't stop going there anyway.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

A little re-reviewing after my second visit to Armsby Abbey. Busy on a Friday night at around 9:30pm but we managed to find a table. Service was excellent. I finally got to try the smoked bone marrow and it was spectacular. But I'm knocking down the "selection" score because, again, I was disappointed by the lack of variety. Lots of weird European beers you never heard of, and a ton of IPA's, but not a good Imperial Stout or big beer in sight. Great bottle selection with vintages and rarities, but pricey.

---

It is the wife’s birthday weekend and we are headed to Maine, where we spent a beautiful birthday years back. Worcester (say “Woosta”) is on the way, so why not enjoy some art at the museum and have lunch at Armsby Abbey!

Located in Downtown Woosta, this is a high-quality beer joint in a town more likely to drink Bud Light than quality beer. Unfortunately, the interior is bland,generic, lacking personality. Soulless like a McMansion, or imagine Applebee’s doing a beer bar. There is no charm here.

But you’re in for a good time here, with good beers and food. The draft list showcases rare and pricey beers from Europe and elsewhere (Hitachino Nipponia, $12; Oppigards Amarillo, $9; De Molen Op&Top, $10, Spain’s Guineu Riner, 2.5%) plus local/regional drafts from Allagash, Sixpoint, Hill Farmstead, Pretty Things… plus Port and Anderson Valley from Cali. All around good,with some treasures (Hill Abner!!!) but lacking variety. No Imperial Stouts, barleywines or big beers.

Food is mighty nice. We had “rillons”, which is deep-fried pork belly, and tried to have the smoked bone marrow but they were out. The bacon-onion pizza was delicious too, and huge. A ton of cheeses, but pricey. Pizza and apps are a better option.

Prices are all over. Hill Abner only $6, imports $9-$10, no price listed on cocktails and spirits but wine does have it. Great bottle selection with cool stuff like Parabola, but pricey ($35 for Parabola, $55 for Old Stock Reserve).

Very good service at lunch on a Friday and overall a great experience. Will return next time I happen to be in Woosta. Oh, parking before 5pm is street only and not too easy… plan accordingly.

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Photo of Himself
4.01/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

Armsby Abbey is a great place to get some really good beer. I went on a Saturday, the place wasn't too busy yet but the bartender was too busy putting glasses away to greet me or give me a menu. I had a couple Hill Farmsteads, never had one in a bar outside Vermont (yay!) I had a breakfast sandwich and although it was good, it definitely wasn't worth the money I spent on it, neither was the stout waffle my neighbor ordered. Definitely a good place for beer but the food is not worth the money, even though the provisions are locally sourced.

Edit: Returned on a Monday night, ordered a burger was ask "The burger is cooked medium rare, is that all right?" I said yes and was given a burger so over cooked it would have made a better hockey puck. 2 taps were Idle and I was told that the kegs had kicked early in the day. I asked what was going on in their place and was told "Nothing, we will tap more kegs tomorrow" I have NEVER seen this happen before in a place that touts it's self as a high end craft beer establishment.

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Photo of tatooedsn
4.03/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.5

Beer variety is kind of limited. 98% of the selections are IPAs, which is great if you are a hop head.. not so much if you're not.

A bit annoyed the beer menu doesn't list the style unless it's in the name. Even worse when I need to struggle to read someone's hand writing to Google it. Maybe I'm just too cranky to work for my beer today.

Food is kinda pricey, but it comes with the hipster territory. Nice selections of local cheeses and healthy menu items. For the adventureous there are some quirky items like pork jowl, smoked bone marrow, and a plate with beef's tongue and pig's feet.

Presentation of the food is quite impressive. A young lady was even kind enough to explain what came on my cheese plate. I kind of left feeling a little spoiled.

Overall I think it's a pretty cool establishment with a real friendly environment. I wouldn't come back for the beer, but I would for the great service and tasty food.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.03/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

Photo of JShattuck
4.05/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I have been to the abbey a few times. It is a great bar, but far from an A+.

Beer- Great beer. A wide variety of selection of only quality beer from around the world.

Service- Both times I had a table with a group of friends. The server had a bad attitude and ruined the experience. I will be sitting at the bar next time and I suggest doing the same.

Food- Great local food from local farms. Very pricey, but it the food is worth it.

Overall a great bar, but not an A+. There are a few bars that blow this one away.

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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.

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Photo of mltobin
4.15/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Worcester, particularly the downtown area, does not have too many positive connotations associated with it. However, it has gotten better in recent years. One of the businesses that seems to have helped in this is Armsby Abbey.
There is a long bar, as well as a good number of tables. For taps, I believe they have about 20 selections. During a couple visits, I have seen MA brewers including Mayflower, Jack`s Abbery, BBC, others. New England as a whole gets attention, and some Belgians and other US brewers are in the mix as well. For bottles, there is a list with some great options covering different styles, but is not one of those bottles lists that sometimes are larger than necessary.
Food is very good, although a bit expensive. Service is very good, even when they are busy. It is nice to see that have done so well, and with that, it can get crowded at "peak dining/bar hours".

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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.

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Photo of mgmfallon
4.21/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

I've been going to the sister establishment of this place, The Dive Bar, for several years. The Abbey is a nice, medium-size place with a large selection of about 20-25 drafts, about a 6-7 belgiums. Seating is mostly high tables and stools (fancy ones), with a couple of tables in the front. A room-length bar- beautiful and a nearly room-length chalk board with the draft list- you can see it from anywhere in the place. Reasonably-priced local, bistro-style food. The beer prices are as high as any in Boston beer bars, but you know it's fresh.

This bar rates with the best I've seen while traveling across the country.

Best bartendar at both locals- Mike! He's a very nice guy and his music selections are my favorites-very eclectic. All of staff are quite good, though.

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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 Sammy
4.23/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

First rate bar, the best I have been to in Boston. The only bar in Mas. that has Hill farmstead. Also Oxbow, Tired Hands, and of course Trillium. Perfect lines, great carbonation. On the way back to Canada from Boston.

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Photo of Rekrule
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.27/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of rocksteady726
4.28/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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

I've now made a few trips to the Abbey since the one evening I had terrible service and I'm happy to report the service has been wonderful each time since. So much so that I decided I needed to complete redo my review.

I was there just last night enjoying an Older Viscosity and a Belgian sugar waffle. Both delicious. The vibe of the place was great because it wasn't packed but not completely empty either. Plenty of lively conversation going on around the entire place with folks enjoying good brews. The service was wonderful and perfectly balanced, never overdone but certainly not lacking. The sugar waffle was delicious and I really wanted another after finishing mine.

The selection is fantastic on draught and the only negative is on the bottle list, but that's only due to the lack of Cantillon/Drie Fontienen bottles. However, with the demise of La Resistance (thank G-d), I'm sure that will be 'corrected' so to speak in the very near future.

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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!

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Photo of Johnct
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Very pretentious crowd. Only food available on weekends is an artisanal cheese menu. That kind of place. They always have 4 or 5 Hill Farmstead taps, plus 5 to 10 others. Good quality. Great service. Expensive and snobby.

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Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Very nice place, good size for a bar but not huge. Fairly dark interior; music was kept low enough that conversation was easy.

Great tap list from around the country, with a couple from Germany and Belgium, as well. Excellent selections across multiple styles. Very impressive bottle selection, too, mostly focused on Belgians: 3F, Cantillon, etc.

Food is very modern farm-to-table kind of fare: fancy cheeses, mushrooms, etc. They also have more traditional pub fare, like burgers and fries. What I ate (and saw) was excellent.

Service was fine and friendly on my visit.

Truly an outstanding spot.

Edit: they now have a contract with Hill Farmstead, with several offerings on tap.

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Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
4.6 out of 5 based on 255 ratings.
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