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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
British Columbia (Canada)
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
I read about this place on BA, and figured out of the bunch in Portland, ME this is the one I had to attend to. Glad I made the decision. Their beer lineup is fantastic, and the atmosphere matches it well. It's not the most massive tap list out there but its very finely procured. Great list of locals (although no Allagash and being a visitor, it would have been cool to try one on tap). The people at this beer joint definitely "get" what's going on with beer culture right now at the nerd level. Which is awesome. Keep it up.
If I'm ever back in Portland, ME I'm going to come here again just to see what they have on tap. Oh and if the Oxbow guys read this.... you make f**king rad beer.
Hit this place up! And get the pork belly tacos if they got them. Just ask the bartender Louis about them.
02-07-2013 05:14:37 |
More by mrocksmith
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | $$
After a long weekend of beer and food greatness in Portland I feel obligated to review a places on here.
This was my second time visiting Novare Res and certainly won't be the last. The atmosphere of this bar is superb. Brick interior with big long communal tables and two bars. It is simple and works very well for a craft beer bar. Very dark, no TVs, just the beer and the people. They have an outdoor patio/Bier Garden if you will but it was extremely cold while we visited. If it was warmer out, I would be there in a second. Just a good mix of dive, beer bar and how did I escape to Belgium.
Quality and service were great both times I visited. There are plenty of bartenders/waiters who are ready to serve you beer in proper glassware in a timely fashion. They know their stuff about the products and will answer any questions you have about pretty much anything they are serving. The staff members who have served me were always nice and did not put up that wall of snark you often find at higher end beer bars.
Beer selection, probably the most important thing in a beer bar review, is stellar. Great draft selections which range from $5-$10 and cover a great deal of styles. The bottle selection is also fairly amazing. The first time I visited they had some of the best lambics in the world and probably stock up on them whenever they possibly can. The second visit I had a delicious Rasputin XII and a Pannepot 2006 with my friend.
Prices are comparable to any other specialty craft beer bar, if not just a tad lower than most of the ones I am used to in MA. Truly one of the best places to get good beer in New England.
01-23-2013 02:12:20 |
More by cbutova
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I'm not a tourist but not a Portlander either, and Novare is one of my go-to places in Portland. Really like everything about this place: the atmosphere (12 degrees below zero in the dead of winter as well as hot & humid summers on the big hops-laced beer garden / deck), the selection, the clientele, and the staff.
The bottled beer selection is great and the draughts are fresh (super-clean tap lines!) and are rotated very frequently. Check their website for the latest draught lineup -- as others have said here, they update their list online faithfully (seemingly daily). Prices are a bit high *for Portland* but are still lower than any comparable place in Boston, Burlington, Providence, or NY. I've always -- and I mean always -- found the staff very helpful and engaging and have been recommended some amazing beers I would not have otherwise tried on my own. They know their stuff and will share their knowledge if you're not a jerk.
Yes, they do a 2-day Octoberfest fun thing where they have but two O-fest beers on tap and served in 1 liter maas mugs. Surprised some people find that annoying; most of us sorta regulars look forward to it and take it in the fun spirit in which it's intended. Novare also does other events nights / weeks that are cool: Caskfest, Smuttfest, Belgian Bier Fest, Roguepalooza, and so on.
I like me my Novare a lot and appreciate it for what it is -- one of the top beer bars in my state of Maine.
10-13-2012 22:13:49 |
More by zamboni1
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
A classy restaurant with a large patio. Pretty pretty good cellar list and decent tap list, with correct poured temperature and over a large bar. Hard to find, we circled one way streets a few times until I found a tourist map with the clue on how to enter by foot. A number of weird and ordinary people here, they make up a good part of the city but in the end they are harmless. Service was decent and there were people like me there, for the beer. I would come back again. Newer place that can become something. Would like an earlier opening time for the bar.
08-16-2012 23:21:22 |
More by Sammy
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Been here many a time. Some thoughts on Novare Res:
The servers have a laissez fair attitude towards service and they'll get to you when they get to you. On a lazy afternoon that's not a bad thing.
Atmosphere is nifty. It’s like a beer cellar. Drinking beer in a beer cellar is indeed nifty.
A bit pricey considering Sebago and Gritty's are right down the street and Great Lost Bear is a few minutes car ride away. Novare does have a better Belgian selection than all three combined though. Sort of a mini Ebenezer's.
I went here once during Octoberfest and in the traditional German manner NR only had 1 festbier on tap. All taps, one beer. That sucked at the time but if I was a local I think it's pretty neat.
A bit of Cambridge has seeped up into downeast Maine as a lot of the stronger or hard to find beers come in 10oz. servings. I hate that. I'm a big boy and I want a big boy glass of beer.
07-26-2012 15:48:19 |
More by donkeyrunner
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
This place is a beer lover's dream. A bit hard to find, as it is not on any of the main drags in Portland, but it is worth seeking out. We went over the weekend, which is currently Belgian Beer Week at Novare, so most of the taps were filled with Belgian style offerings. The place is a little dark, with two separate bar spaces. Because of the insane beer list at Novare, people tend to camp out at the bar, so don't wait for people to move to try and place an order. Belly up in there and make yourself known. They do a really good job of replacing a tap line when a particular beer runs out, as well as marking it up on the wall so people know the MOST current tap list. Huge selection, as I said earlier, including a "vault" where you can get your hands on some rare and aged bottles. Definitely the place to go to knock some whales off of your "to do" list. The beers are a bit on the pricey side, but as I said, this is a place to get some very hard to find beers, so it kind of balances out. Very beer friendly crowd here, and there is a huge patio in front if you don't want to mingle with the crowd indoors. At the back of the patio there is a cornhole/beanbag toss set up to play. A section of the patio is also marked off for the smoking crowd, if that be your pleasure. Definitely a "must go" spot if you are visiting Portland, ME. Awesome time there!
05-14-2012 02:27:12 |
More by GarthDanielson
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I make sure I always stop by whenever I'm in Portland. Have had some amazing experiences at this place, including Maine Beer Week opening night this past year with Oxbow, drinking Cantillon Fou' Foune on tap for the first time, and showing the place off to family and friends visiting the area.
Honestly, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to beer bars in Maine. This place, Ebenezer's in Lovell, The Lion's Pride in Brunswick, and When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery are all world-class. Nothing more needs to be said about their selection. It's epic.
The food is tasty. They have a good selection to go along with what they serve, and I could even eat there when I was vegan for a month, but I have yet to get a sense that the servers take any pride in the food they serve, which, along with the cold sausage I got one time when it was pretty busy makes me second guess giving them a higher rating. Also, I've only ever heard people praise their cheeses and meats, which is a la carte, but When Pigs Fly in Kittery actually make their own charcuterie meats in house, so I'll reserve being impressed for that over capable ordering, which they obviously have considering their beer selection.
Also, I did find that they listed two Unibroue Anniversary ales on their bottle list that they didn't have in stock, which is a bit annoying, since those particular vintages are incredibly rare and really shouldn't have been in stock for a long time. I had already told my neighbor at the bar, whom I was planning on sharing the bottle with, all about the beer when the bartender informed me of the predicament. Bummer.
03-28-2012 20:49:59 |
More by TMath524
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
Hands down my favorite public place to drink beer. I like that it's a hole in the wall kind of place. Usually not difficult get a seat or get served. Always awesome beer selection. Naheed (sp?) the bartender is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Usually serve in proper glassware. They have the most exciting gems in the beer list. Perhaps a bit pricey, but bars usually are. As long as we get what we desire and have good service, I'm happy. And the food is great beer food. Nothing too fancy.
03-22-2012 18:21:32 |
More by mlazzaro
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Great beer bar nestled into a nice little corner of Portland Maine's Old Port.
Beer selection is great, and ever-changing. I oftentimes troll the draught listing posted on the internet (which is faithfully updated) while at work to see if I need to stop by any particular evening.
Food selection is not huge but is very reasonably priced and very good. A few great sandwiches exist, plus great meat and cheese platers.
Service is great when it's not busy (weeknights and earlier), but on Fridays and Saturdays after about 9PM it can get very busy and service can be slow.
This is a great place to be. Summer is fanastic because they have a large outdoor patio area. Winter is great because it's a cozy bar with exposed brick, the place you want to be drinking beer. A must visit for tourists and locals alike.
01-25-2012 15:04:55 |
More by beerbiatchMD
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this place! Been there enough times to do it from memory though.
Atmosphere is very subjective. It's kind of dark and cavernous. At times it has a Goth or Euro vibe, depending on who is there and how busy it is. But even in that context, there are spaces within where most folks should be able to be comfortable. There are some elements I like, such as couches and low tables that sometimes get shared by more than one party when it's busy. My non-beer geek friends were able to be comfortable here. It's very beer-centric, so if that is your focus, you can work with the atmosphere if it doesn't trip your trigger.
Service has been anywhere from good to extraordinary. I shall not reveal the details of the extraordinary, to protect the perhaps not completely innocent who went above and beyond to hook me up with some hard to get and out of print Allagash special release.
Selection is amazing. The taps are very thoroughly thoughtfully selected, and the bottle list as well. The bottle list includes a vintage section if you feel like splurging on something special. There are special events like "total tap takeovers" by awesome breweries like Marshall Wharf (one I remember), and surely others.
I haven't eaten there, but I think it's artsy-fartsy tapas type stuff, which is probably good, but will likely disappoint some who would prefer a burger.
Personally, I think it's a little bit pricey, but not ridiculous. I think I remember paying $10 for a bottle of Peche Mortel, which is 100% markup over retail. So understandable, but still kinda pricey to me, especially for Maine. Maybe compared to Boston and Manhattan it's not? Whatever, how can you not go there if you are a beer geek visiting Portland? If you like (good) bar (and other standard American) food, go to Great Lost Bear first, have some precious specialty Allagash on tap for less than you can get it in the bottle at the shop, and then go to Novare Res until you've had your fill take a taxi home.
01-11-2012 06:15:29 |
More by sprucetip
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
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