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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Off hectic Exchange Street, through an iron gate beneath a Key Bank sign, and comfortably hidden away from the tourists and bustle of the Old Port, in a quiet courtyard-parking lot, the ardent beer lover will find himself (or herself) here at this paean to the Belgian café. It is a must when in town.
Upon entering the dim and intimate brick-wood interior, there are two choices: turn left into a separate lounge area furnished with black comfy chairs; or remain in the bar area with several communal tables and two bars: a moderately-sized one that dominates the room, or the very small one at the far right (adjacent to the kitchen). All of this surrounded by beer paraphernalia galore. Think of it as being in the basement of the Beer God.
My visit occurred during the recent Portland Beer Week and on tap (7 drafts) was one of the city’s newer brewers, Rising Tide. Of course, Novare Res, which is Latin for “Start a Revolution,” specializes in area crafts, so there were many other locals available to quench; such as four taps from Sebago, seven from Allagash and several from Maine’s Marshall Wharf. This being a Belgian café, they also had about ten draft Belgians and a massive spiral-bound list of international bottles.
The menu was eclectic but limited. My chicken curry wrap was tasty. The service excelled in every way with the attentive servers being efficient and well versed in beer, and the crafts poured at the correct temperature in the appropriate glassware. Novare Res is family-owned, so this must be one reason.
This place is simply one great place to hang out, quaff superb beers and to experience a seriously pleasant evening. No wonder Beer Advocate rates it as World Class. Start the revolution without me; I’ll be at Novare Res!
11-14-2013 18:03:15 |
More by jjboesen
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
I think it's going to be difficult to find a place in New England that's doing a better job with Beer lists than Novare Res. They have amazing selections, Cantillon is almost always available, and there's a list long enough to put some wine bars to shame.
The food is good, but there's something missing and I don't quite know how to put my finger on it. I've ordered food from them 3-5 times in the last year. Every time the foods been good, but not something I feel compelled to order again. So I'm happt to be eating, but I'm not thinking, "I need to go back there for the ___."
Service is hit or miss. Some of the servers appear to favor favorite/regular customers. I've had to ask for my bill or stop them for another drink most times. Increased tipping doesn't appear to impact the quality or frequency of attention/service here.
09-05-2013 03:43:19 |
More by Kirk_Grant
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Come here on a beautiful summer day and you'll be tempted to stay until the fall.
Maybe it was the weather. A beautiful summer night in the mid 70s and I got to sit under the trees and drink great beer with a few colleagues. Plenty to choose from each with an ample description on the menu. While the draft selection was large, but not gigantic, there were many styles available. Everything was top notch. While it was hard to rate the service, since the beer server was quickly there and gone, it was, if anything, attentive. Unfortunately, after three beers, it was time to go. As nice as it was outside, the brief glimpse I got of the inside made me think that this was about as perfect as it could get. Cool, basement pub like atmosphere that was open and large. I was sad to leave, knowing that it was unlikely I'd be back on a regular basis.
One of the best beer serving establishments I've ever been to.
08-03-2013 19:20:26 |
More by LittleDon
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
You gotta love this place. An absolute beer mecca. Pages upon pages of craft beers, both aged and hard to find specialties. Their taplist is always outstanding. I've been on a normal weekeday and found a great selection and was there on a busy Saturday night for their Dogfish Head tap takeover. They always seem to have something special behind the bar as well, just ask nicely and try and be informed. I've tried many new brews based on the bartenders recommendation and have rarely been disappointed. A great selection of Maine Beer Co, not surprising since they're so close. This is the place to come and drink. No TVs and a really cool outdoor patio that's perfect in the summer. I like having the option of each locale. I've only ever ordered a cheese and meat spread and it was terrific so I can't go too in depth on their food but if that was any preview, it's really good. Prices are fair for sure, especially when you consider their selection. This is my favorite spot in Portland for craft beer.
08-01-2013 14:33:30 |
More by rjp217
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Went there Sunday afternoon, great selection, heavy on Belgium selections. I tried something from Marshall Wharf from Maine. They have a good selection on draft from Maine. I sat down at a table with my two kids, took the bartender over 10 minutes to even come over to our table, another couple had the same problem.
We ordered some food, he forgot out appetizer. Menu is not very extensive, but it was good. They have a nice outside area with tables.
Overall the beer selection is fantastic, I just loved the vibe of the place. It was a little of a beer geeky crowd, but I think that just made the atmosphere better.
If our server would have had a more welcoming tone , it would have capped off a great day in Maine. I will definitely come back, the selection and vibe is just to good to let it be ruined by one bad server.
07-01-2013 23:03:42 |
More by dancaplette
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Had a difficult time finding this place, but after stopping a few locals, we found the enterance (which is almost like heading down a back alleyway).
Anyway, on the Saturday night we stopped there, the place had a pretty lively atmosphere. Outside, there were plenty of tables and lots of room - great for enjoying the weather and for larger groups. The inside was a smallish, dim bar/cafe like setting and was very crowded. It took probably 20 minutes to get a beer, particularly since the bartenders seemed to prioritize chatting/servicing their friends. After chatting awhile with another patron, I was served and the bartender seemed to be pretty knowledgeable on their lineup. The taplist had plenty to get excited about - I think I had beers from Pretty Trees and Cisco - and the bottle list was also very good. My beer came in proper glassware and I got the impression that it was definitely a beer-centric place.
As a whole, I enjoyed my stop at Novare and would consider it one of the better beer bars in Portland.
06-27-2013 21:29:03 |
More by GeezLynn
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
I have been a regular of Novare Res since the place opened. It is a beer nerd's paradise for multiple reasons. It is tucked away from the beaten path, it has a communal environment where it's very easy to start up conversations with other patrons, all the servers and the owner Erik are very knowledgeable about the beers on tap, as well as the large bottled selection, and the tap selection itself changes very regularly. The most important aspect of Novare Res though, is how community driven the establishment is. Tap takeovers are very common, ranging from annual events like Smuttfest (Smuttynose takeover), to more relaxed brewery introductions from the likes of Pretty Things, etc. The service is sometimes questionable, and the food is over priced and limited, but these are minor setbacks for the overall experience.
06-23-2013 18:22:29 |
More by supercodes
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | $$$
My GPS told me I was there, but I couldn't see it even after I drove by it, parked, and walked back by. Luckily Matt was already there and saw me circling and provided me with much needed directions. The entrance is at an alleyway/courtyard off exchange st near middle st and they have a 3 by 3 a frame sign there. Anyhow, huge kick ass deck at the entrance where I sat holds a dozen or so long tables, think German beer garden communal seating. There is a remote bar on the deck that was closed on my visit. Inside is the bar area with a cool cellar like feel to it holding maybe 20 tables and some bar seating. Small food menu but the meat and cheese plate that we tried was great and you can pick from a list. Beer, yup they have it. Quality taps and a huge bottle list make this place a winner in my book. Our server was attentive and helpful. A hint on the pricy side, but I feel that most of Portland has the same pricing structure. I will make this my first stop the next time I'm in Portland.
06-16-2013 01:57:23 |
More by johnnnniee
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
WOW! wish I lived closer to this bar. selection is over 6pages long. saw a lot of limited beers on the list as well as great bottle selection. awesome outdoor area and the vibe is real chill. will most certainly be referring my friends to this place and ill be going to this bar again!
06-07-2013 14:46:12 |
More by spence3208
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I went on a Thursday evening, so I may not have gotten the typical experience, but the place had a slightly unwelcoming atmosphere. It was self-seating, and it took about 15 minutes for a server to approach my table, and it was difficult to get her attention throughout the night.
The beer selection was tremendous.
The food options are very limited. My party ordered several appetizers. They were all good but not great.
The prices were normal for the offerings.
05-10-2013 02:49:06 |
More by Sudcutter
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Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
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