The Naumkeag Ordinary

Your Rating: None
6 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

118 Washington St
Salem, Massachusetts, 01970-3507
United States

(978) 744-4968

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Added by huuvola on 06-19-2013

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Ratings: 6 |  Reviews: 3
Reviews by mynie:
Photo of mynie
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Been living in downtown Salem for about 7 months now. At first, I was overwhelmed by the number of dining options. I know I just outed myself as a hayseed, but seriously, I never before lived within walking distance of more than one or two places. And now all of a sudden I got literally almost 100 restaurants within a mile of my house.

So, understandably, it took me a little while to become a "regular" anywhere, since I was too busy taking everything in. Now that I've settled down and begun developing a routine, The Ordinary has become my favorite drinkin' spot in town.

Gulu Gulu (which is right next door) has the bigger taplist, but the atmosphere is more like a coffeehouse than a bar. That's fine, I still like the place, but sometimes I don't feel like listening to a hippy play James Blunt covers. Sometimes I want to drink in silence, or else converse with my fellow inebriates, or even watch some sports on the ol' teevee. And you can do all those things at the Ordinary.

There's a dozen taps, and the only regularly available tap is Narragansett. Taps run about 95% domestic craft, with an occasional German or Belgian, and a preponderance of New England beers. Taps are always rotating, but typical selections include Notch, Two Roads, Clown Shoes, Brewmaster Jack, Mayflower, BBC, Jack's Abby, Baxter, Dogfish Head, Tröegs, Dark Horse, Stone, and Founders.

The food is Excellent. Capital E. The menu changes daily and I've never had anything there I did not love.

The staff are very friendly and down-to-earth. The decor is nice, refined, and vaguely formal, but not stifling or ornate. This would be a great place for a date, but there's no need to wear a suit.

My only complaint is that printed tap lists are hard to come by, and they don't regularly update their online presence. They publish the food menu daily, why not the tap list?

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More User Reviews:
Photo of CapnStuBing
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Since huuvola's review, the Naumkeag has added an additional 6 taps, bringing the total to 12. The tap selection rotates frequently and always features at least a few local offerings (Narragansett seems to be the only constant). I've seen a small but decent looking selection of cans and bottles behind the bar as well, but I've always ordered from the draft choices.

They give the menu an overhaul 3-4 times a year, to keep things interesting and run $1 oyster and appetizer specials on certain days during the lunch/dinner changeover.

I also belong to their Mug Club, which was started to entice locals to continue visiting when their seasonal liquor license shifts to beer & wine only. This year, they'd limited it to 50 personalized mugs of 20 oz (same price as the normal 16 oz pours), plus a free entree on your birthday. The club had a small membership charge and had the option of renewing after the first year was up. I don't know if anyone will opt to not renew, but if they don't, it's been well worthwhile for me.

The vast majority of the staff is knowledgeable about the beer they have on draft, and I've seen servers coming in to start a shift try samples of the beers that have been added since they were last working. The staff also seems to be generally excited about the new drafts they get.

This place is one of my favorites in Salem and I visit at least 3-4 times a month. I prefer it to some of the adjacent bars, simply because the atmosphere suits my tastes better (no open mic nights, dj's, trivia, etc).

 1,534 characters

Photo of considerTlobster
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of SuperHop18
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of JimJam10
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of huuvola
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

The Naumkeag Ordinary is a small bar/restaurant located next door to Gulu Gulu Cafe and Flying Saucer Pizza (two very solid craft beer destinations in Salem -- and perhaps the best craft beer destinations in town). Compared to its neighboring institutions, the Naumkeag has a slightly more formal vibe (but not ~that~ formal... I felt fine wearing shorts and a t-shirt). It's got a a small bar at the front (12-14 seats?), a number of tables, and a more diverse (fancier?) menu than its neighbors. Overall seems to be focused more on dining than bar seats.

Just 6 tap lines, but all are craft focused. And they have a number of cans/bottles with craft offerings as well. When I visited, the tap list included Notch, Cambridge Brewing, and Boulevard (and other craft offerings that I can't recall). Didn't try the food, but a group of people next to us at the bar seemed to enjoy what they ordered.

Overall, it's a solid little bar/restaurant that I'd head to for dinner or lunch, but if I were visiting the area for a beer, I'd have a hard time ignoring the siren call of the Gulu Gulu and Flying Saucer, because they both have a more diverse range of drafts and cans.

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The Naumkeag Ordinary in Salem, MA
Place rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6 ratings