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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I told them I can start not next week, but the week after that and then promptly gone gotten myself all Portland up (yes, past participle is the same as present tense). And now, I'm thinking one more and out. One more place, that is, not beer; 'cause what if I want more than anyway, maybe definitely that place 10 months newish I 'ent been. Easy, around the corner and up the block some from elsewhere, through the know what you're looking for alley way and what I saw there. Over there that-a-way in where everyone else is going just shortly after a late afternoon opening...
Basement of a bank gone bar, roomy, nicely low lit and dim some even with the windows, and cranking Stop Whispering from Pablo Honey to greet me. I'm so going to be late for dinner; I should probably call but I don't. Lots of brick play being a ground floor and all, and pillars as such. To the rear, a "Z" shaped bar seating about a dozen and a half with a cut through to somewhere.
2 dozen taps on a long cylinder tower over mirrored panels on center, with slight shelving holding glassware & booze to both sides, and some more glassware displayed shelved on one end and racked above the cut in the bar. An offensively large 6 litre bottle of La Fin Du Monde sits displayed at the end of the bar. I just spotted a pair of handpumps on the corner of the barback, only one of them up at this moment. Empty bottles lining the way above the bar and along the front windows, and there's a bit of brewery signage here and there, and meat & cheese selections shown on a small menu board.
Pressed tin ceiling, mounted spots and some strung holiday lighting. A single giant long beer hall table seats, like, a millon, and then a ½ dozen or so tables more that I can see, plus something going on through that cut through there, I was going to get to it then and now, the back room, and me not my first beer in hand esssplorin'. A pair of dart boards, some local art for sale, a little cushy couch action around a fireplace, and some bar counter action "L"ing the corner. And is it me or have they been playing like nonstop Johnny Cash for the last hour?
Back to the bar, and a lengthy but necessary review of the sick, sick, sick bottled list here; Frank from that other place well west of here, the other bar patrons and myself dissecting the beer menu with the precision of drunken 7 year olds playing that Operation board game with the loud buzzer. Very well done, I don't know but I'd say a hair over 300 bottles beers; Belgian & Belgian style including categories for Flemish Sour, Trappist, Strong, Sour/Wild/Funk, and Lambic (the dozen and a half entries made up entirely of beers from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen & Hannsens), German & UK, a variety of all the lager & ale styles, plus vintage/limited, ciders, gluten free beers, N/A's, and then everything new lumped together too.
24 taps; some Maine goods (Marshall Wharf Cant Dog Imperial IPA & Chaos Chaos Imperial Stout, Allagash Dubbel), New Englanders (Smutty Star Island Single & IPA, High & Mighty Two-Headed Beast, Harpoon Cider), regionals (DogFishHead 60 Minute IPA, Fort & Chicory Stout), and away (Arcadia Cereal Killer Barleywine, Hop Rocket Double IPA & Sky High Rye, North Coast Red Seal, Rogue Younger's Special Bitter), and imports Belgian (De La Senne Equinox, Gouden Carolus Ambrio, Scaldis, Kwak) and not (Sinebrychoff Porter, Unibroue Maudite & Blanche De Chambly, Beamish, O'Hara's Stout).
Started with a bottle of Black Albert ('cause it's Maine and that's where Albert lives), and toyed with the cask Allagash Curieux but opted instead for a Smutty Star Island Single ('cause I ain't seen it down south yet). If I had known then what Marshall Wharf was about, it would've been a whole 'nother story. I could do some time around that tap list, uh huh. Prices are reasonable (Beamish costs $6 a pint, the O'Hara's Stout is $6.50, go figure). Service was good (enough to put up with me). Comfortable house. Tunes. Tunes! I'm so going to be late for dinner.
05-14-2009 23:55:43 |
More by slander
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
In a town full of enjoyable bars, Novare Res quickly became my regular hang-out. The selection of beers is amazing; they only stock the finest beers (no BMC, ever). The bottle list spans numerous pages and is organized by country and style, with bottle size, price and ABV clearly listed. The draft list is constantly changing, and surprisingly often you can find a beer on tap that is extremely rare or unique (bourbon barrel aged Allagash brews, for example). The food menu is limited, but it works; a few hot sandwiches and a selection of meats and cheeses. Occasionally, they will over something special, such as grilled sausages cooked outside on their deck.
That atmosphere is fitting for a bar built in the basement of a former bank. The bottle room is in the old vault! The lights are generally kept low (and get dimmer as the night progresses) and the music is played loud (my only complaint about the place is that sometimes the music is so loud you can't converse, but that's rare). There are plenty of empty bottles on display, including all of the staff's KTG empties and a number of Black Alberts. The back room features some nice couches, a fireplace, and two dart boards (personally I don't play darts, but I've heard that the boards are terrible). Overall, it's a place that when you first walk in, you can imagine spending hours here.
My favorite aspect of Novare is their take on a mug club. Called the Uprising, entrants lay down $20 and get a list of 230 bottles they stock. As you drink each one of the list, it gets checked off by a staff member. Once you've had them all, you are officially a member of the Uprising. You get a key to the Chalice room, where you can store your personallized 24oz glass. From that point forward, any draft you order, no matter what size glass it should be poured in, is served in your Chalice--at the normal price. If you finish the list in a year, you even get your entry fee back. It's a fun way to learn a lot about beers, as every style and country represented on the menu is found on the list.
Lastly, the staff is top-notch. Each of them has tried every beer available and can provide suggestions to anyone who walks in. They are all friendly--to the customers and each other. It's as if they are all part of one big family. Make a few trips and soon they'll be greeting you by name when you walk in. Novare is truly a treasure and a beer bar that every BA should visit.
04-15-2009 13:29:11 |
More by ToasterChef
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
A very cool place. Cool interior design, nice low lighting. It isn't overly stocked with kitsch or something like that. Novare res is just a good beer bar. The dedication is CLEARLY there. I didn't see a beer I would never drink. Had a cask selection, couple drafts, bottle of buffalo stout, and a few snorts of various taps.The service was very nice and I was well taken care of. There is little bad to speak of this place. If every "beer bar" was as dedicated as this people would rarely be of wont.
03-21-2009 03:40:53 |
More by GreatPondBrewer
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
This would be a very regular stop for us if we lived 350 miles closer.
Great vibe with a lot of dark wood, a cool fake "tin" drop ceiling and a nice long L-shaped bar. The uncomfortable square wooden stools are the only remotely negative thing about the whole place.
The beer selection is quite extensive, with about 25 taps (almost all Belgian) and 230 or so bottles (a nice mix). Every beer we had was served in appropriate, logoed glassware, a nice touch.
Service was excellent and quite knowledgeable. Once the bartender figured out we were beer geeks, we even got a tour of the cellar (the vault of the bank that was once housed in the space). We even saw the whole staff at the KtG release the next day.
Food is limited to cheese and meats and a couple of tapas type dishes. All of the cheese was top notch, though.
02-26-2009 18:57:37 |
More by sholland119
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 2 | $$
My friends had told me to look for the "beer garden." My wife and I found the place last Friday night. My wife loved the place (even though she doesn't drink). I was satisfied with the place. I was expecting something a little more. The beer selection was awesome and the way they had the menu set up was excellent. I was excited to see they had a stout from Orkney,Scotland. I was in Scotland in 97 and remember this stout quite fondly. So I was eager to have it again. "Sorry, we don't have that one." Bummer. My wife wanted one of their non-alcoholic beers, "Sorry we don't have that one." Bummer. She settled for a ginger beer. The bartender was nice enough but not very up on his beers. There was one bartender (he said he was persian) who was excellent. We didn't try any of the food. The cheese selection looked fine and there seemed to be some nice pairings. We were never asked if we wanted any food. I guess I should have gone out of my way and asked. I mean, I am the one paying the bill. I might go back. I won't go out of my way to get there.
02-15-2009 12:40:35 |
More by MaineBirdMan
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Checked this place out 2 weeks ago. The atmosphere is pretty cool - dimly lit, tin ceiling, and picnic tables inside. The bar is long, and appears to wrap around - but the taps are only behind the long portion of the bar. The servers had a little bit of an edge (which I liked), and were accomodating and knowledgeable. The tap selection, for Maine, is outstanding. A lot of unique imports with Allagash (the only maine beer, which is great that the taps haven't been taken over by the old ringwood guard), Smutty, Victory, High & Mighty, and Rogue mixed in. The food menu was small, but looked quality. Overall, a great beer bar for the city of Portland and one I would gladly return to (apparently in the summer, the massive deck out front turns into a beer garden)!
01-23-2009 13:35:55 |
More by DousedInStout
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
If you are in Maine you need to stop reading this and go to Novare right now... What's better?? The beer, the atmosphere or the help? Wait also the music.
What a treasure in Portland. The beer selection is fantastic and with plenty of Belgian offerings... We enjoyed some snacks that were fantastic and beautifully presented. Very authentic.. All glassware matched offerings and serving temp was perfect. The help could not have been better. And this was before we spent a great deal of time with the owner. (Eric) Their friendly nature and generosity bordered on obscene.
In addition to the phenomenal Belgian collection they have a nice selection of German beers and also some great local micro's on tap...
A must stop with no close second in Portland.
Novare & Eric. Thanks for a memorable night... I shall return and send as many others as I can..
01-17-2009 00:57:11 |
More by Reagan1984
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Now this is how a beer bar should be!!!! I finally stopped in after waiting a long time to check this place out (pretty hard to find!) But well worth the journey.
Atmosphere is right up my alley! Very chill and low key with killer tunes! Some killer hip hop and some great classic rock! I love the long tables. and the bar is really cool.
Service was perfect. Me and my girlfriend reconazined our bartender from somewhere else. She was really chill and knew her shit about beer. I got brooklyn's chocolate stout on tap for only 5$! So tasty! our bartender picked out a really good brew for my girlfriend (can't remember and it's really bugging me!) She was very attentive even though it was kinda busy and we were hinding in the corner.
Selection is best I've seen. I was a huge fan and still am of the bear expecially when I lived in Portland. Hate to say it but this place blows it outta the water.
I didn't get a chance to try the food since I was so caught up in the beer. Some interesting stuff. My girlfriend liked it but nothing that really caught my eye (No WINGS!?!?) haha
Anyways I can't stress how cool this place is. Only if I lived in Portland still!
01-15-2009 15:08:19 |
More by cleeze
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I dropped by here for the second time over Christmas back in Maine. The first time i dropped by it was a madhouse, since I stubmbled in on their grand opening. There were trashed people with evidently too much money carrying around magnums like a can of keystone at a frat party.
Anyways, this time was much mellower. Took a seat on one of the benches at the long table in the middle. I love the atmosphere in this place. As a german major, I can say that this is the closest to true Gemütlichkeit I have experienced in the states. Brick, wood, low lighting, warmth. delicious.
This place is pricey, which their insane collection definitely commands. I started with a Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux, my friend a...something. can't remember. Anyways, a very nice server, who sat at our bench and chilled while mulled over the options, brought me not only that, but a sample of the De Struise Tsjeeses!
The place filled up eventually, and as cynical as I am about people throwing around money and not enjoying what's in your glass, there's something hot about young women carting around large glasses of aventinus or other such delicious brews.
To round out the night I got a glass of Imperial Younger's Special Bitter. Dunno how they got their hands on this but that sentiment applies to pretty much all their stuff.
Bottom line, check it out. It gets a little busy late and the table service suffers, but overall an incredible addition to Portland's beer scene and a nice foil to other Heavyweight and amazing beer bars like The Great Lost Bear.
01-03-2009 00:27:56 |
More by Pamola
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$$
Hidden off an alleyway in the Old Port, Novare Res finds it's home in a converted bank space. The nature of the locale is reminiscent of many Belgian cafes, being off the beaten path and only found by those knowing or on the hunt.
Two hand-made bartops, plenty of woodwork and brick, and rustic colored concrete floors.
A serarate room houses dart boards, couches, and a brick fireplace that will definately have to be utilized during the long, cold Maine winters.
One of the vaults now houses the extensive bottle selection, with another vault to be later converted to hold extreme rarities. Very cool.
Another room has a wrought iron gate which will house exclusive goblets for the select few who sample and keep record of the 230 (and growing) beers available. Quite a "mug club", indeed.
Definately sporting an inviting, cozy vibe, even though the place was vacant when we arrived.
Expecting some unusual and premium Belgian specialties on tap, we were a bit dissaponted to find only one Belgian-style draught. High and Mighty Dubble. A chaulk board on the wall informed us that it was "American Beer Week". Ahhh..That explains it. Decent enough selection of domestic crafts though. Old Raspution for $6.50 for a full pint. We like full pints of big beers, which few and far places are pouring anymore.
Other Pints were $5, which I still think is high. Maybe not for Boston, but this is Portland, Maine.
The bottle list is extremely extensive, and extremely expensive. Basically looks like all the bottles are retail cost x2. Yikes..BFM 2007 Abbey De Saint for $44.00? Gulp.
We didn't sample any food, and the menu is limited to snacks of cheese, meats, and sandwiches. All of which sounded pretty damn tasty.
The owner, Erik was there, and when I inquired about any DeStruise beers, he piped up and informed us he has a keg of Black Albert out back to be tapped at a later date.
Keep an eye out, peeps.
The barkeep who waited on us was friendly and eager to please. Nice guy, and that counts for a lot in my book. I don't go out enough to deal with barkeeps with attitudes.
My only real annoyance with the place is the fruit fly issue they have. That needs to be taken care of, and fast.
We'll definately be back in the future and hopefully the Belgians will be back with the fireplace roaring.
Best of luck to Novare Res!
11-21-2008 15:37:00 |
More by brewandbbq
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
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