Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
4.22/5 rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I had the opportunity to drop by Novare Res Bier Café this past weekend while on a mini vacation up in Portland. The weather provided a classic New England backdrop with a crisp and sunny feel on this start of autumn. This place is a tad off the beaten path and I had asked a local storeowner how to get here and was fortunate enough to get some accurate directions. It should be noted however that this place is easy to walk to in the Old Port/Downtown Portland area.
The vibe inside is pretty chill with long wooden tables that have a communal feel. You can expect a lengthy beer menu to help guide you through some excellent beer options. I think there is about 25 or so draft options that included Dogfish Head Punkin Ale & 60 Minute IPA, Rogue Double Dead Guy, North Coast Acme IPA and some Unibroues. One thing I noticed was the great German beer options like a Helles Lager and Doppelbock.
The bottle listing is very extensive with about 200 options! I must admit there was a ton of beers offered here that I have never heard of, but completely piqued my interest. I decided on a 750 ML of Cantillon Kriek, complimented with some nice Cantillon glassware. Quality appears to be one of the strong points of this beer bar.
We decided to sit outside on the patio. There is ample seating out there as well with many picnic tables. I didn't try the food as I had a big lunch earlier that day, but you can expect small plates with an emphasis on European meats & cheeses.
Without question, a "must stop" when visting the area. I continually find myself quite impressed with the abundance of great craft beer options in Portland. Just when I thought it couldn't get much better, along comes Novare Res.
09-24-2008 00:08:05 | More by Hibernator
4.44/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
benny finally gets to novare res. in town for a meeting i went here 2 nights. friday it was more crowded and loud. saturday night was surprisingly less busy (there were a lot of people outside) and i really got to look through the bottle menu. overall i was very impressed.
the space itself was nice enough. a few long tables in the middle and some smaller ones about with a long bar. some brewerania about. lots of taps in view and a glass door into the bottle cooler room.
quality and selection were both great. 20 or so taps and i don't even know how many bottles (they had 9 cantillons and that was only half the lambics).
service was decent friday (it was loud and i had some trouble making myself heard). service was very good saturday.
prices were a little high. only a little though. you pay for what you get.
well worth a trip. if you can find it. look for the sandwich board on exchange st.
09-14-2008 20:59:54 | More by bennybrew
5/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
When Eric decided to leave Massachusetts and head to Portland with a plan to open his own beer bar, I knew the place would be top notch. I was not disappointed when I recently made the trek up there. Not only was it great to visit with Eric, someone who left a lasting impression on us Moan and Dove and Dirty Truth lovers, but it was a fantastic experience all around.
The bar itself is beautiful.. you can tell that a lot of hard work and love was put into that place with all the woodwork, brickwork and welding. The mugroom is breathtaking! Everything is super clean, comfy and nice to look at. The back room w/ the couch, fireplace and dart boards is a really sweet touch.
The menu is awesome. They don't have an oven, so no hot food, but what they do have to offer is lots of meat and cheese, olives, almonds, peppers, bread, salads. num! All high quality, tasty stuff that I love to eat. The beer selection is of course phenomenal.. both the tap and bottle lists. To top it off the prices were affordable.
With a party of 13 our server was great about splitting up everything for us in the end, even in the midst of us all picking out tshirts to purchase. We took up a lot of his time, as well as some of the bartender's time, but both of them kept smiles on their faces and were wicked helpful.
I can't wait for my next trip to Portland because I will definitely be hitting up Novare Res again. I only wish I could have made it for the German fest while I was there. I was a day too early, but the idea of grilled sausage and tasty German beer out on their deck was tempting me to stay longer.
09-08-2008 01:35:14 | More by sarita
4.83/5 rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I finally had a chance to visit Eric's bar.
As noted by other reviewers, there's been plenty of attention given to atmosphere here in a bank basement turned beer bar. Whether you're in the main lounge at one of the many tables, the back lounge in a comfortable couch, or on the spacious patio at a picnic table, you'll be comfortable. I'm sad that we weren't able to be there for the German fest where we would have been able to eat sausages grilled right on the patio while drinking Uerige Alt on cask. /cry
Quality here is a reflection of the owner, who takes a great deal of personal pride in everything about this bar. All of the cheeses, meats, and snacks are of the finest quality & freshness. The beers are served in appropriate glassware, at appropriate temperature & carbonation levels.
Service takes one of the only hits here, due in part to the size of our party (13) and the relative inexperience of the staff. I'm sure that in another 3-6 months this rating will climb, I only hope to find an excuse to revisit.
Selection is dangerously great, with 20+ tap lines of the best micro, craft, and import beers available. In today's rapidly inflating market, the prices are reasonable.
If you're in Portland and not a regular at Novare Res, you should be. If you're not in Portland, you now have a reason to visit!
08-27-2008 20:48:55 | More by wyllder
4.88/5 rDev +9.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I visited for the first time on Saturday afternoon. While it is snuggled off the street, they have a sign out front and it is easy to find. Eric is a terrific host- made us (there were 13 of us!) feel extremely welcome, and happy to see us.
The atmosphere is perfect- exposed brick, tin ceilings, comfy couches and light colored wood tables and bar. While Novare res is itself below street level, the windows and the light wood keep it bright and airy.
We sampled a multitude of beers, including Mikkeler It's Alive, Lia Fail, Rogue Double Dead Guy, and Route des Epices. The food was great- absolutely enjoyed the meat & cheese platter, and had a terrific Spring sandwich. Filled the tummy, without feeling too full.
I will be back to Portland to enjoy Novare Res, and to visit with Eric again.
08-27-2008 16:49:25 | More by mklatsky
4.88/5 rDev +9.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Visited Novare Res last Saturday, around 1pm. The bar is stunning inside. A lot of hard work and care went into turning what appears to be an old bank into an amazing beer bar. The layout of the bar comfortably holds a lot of people but remains inviting, warm, and cozy. We had a large group of 13 and could all sit together at a table with room to spare.
The quality of the beer and food is top notch. Perfect pours and temps. Clean lines, fresh beer, clean bathrooms. Everything tasted wonderful and was stored and served with care.
The service was fantastic. Our waiter was able to handle our large party pretty well and working the bill out afterward was no problem. The owner, Eric, made our visit truly exceptional by offering a complimentary cheese/meat/olive plate and pulling out some bottles that folks wanted to try for a tasting session, followed by a tour of the building. Eric made us feel very welcome and we appreciate his hospitality very much!
The beer selection at Novare Res is out of this world. As an active BA member we all know whats its like going into a bar and maybe finding 1 thing we haven't tried before and actually want to order. That will never be the case here. His draft and bottle selection is a lively selection of the best beer from far and wide, and new beers to the scene looking for a tasting.
The food menu changes ones perception of pub food. I love a good fish and chips or burger at a pub but was instead delighted by a small but crafted food menu of meat and cheese platters, salads, and small plates of food at great prices! The meny reminds me of why I love craft beer bars. I like tasting small portions of a variety of beers for the flavors and quality, and I feel like the food menu follows that same philosophy. Aside from the complimentary meat and cheese plate, I ordered a sandwich and another prosciutto and cheese plate. All fantastic!
The prices were great for both food and beer. Great value!
I'm trying not to be a fan boy and give all 5s but its a stretch finding a flaw. I guess the only thing I would say is due to the sheer size of our party there was some confusion with lack of silverware early-on and tasting glasses being picked up for cleaning between rounds, but asking for a fork and tasting glass isn't exactly a real downer. Don't know if that's worth a .5 ding on service and I feel bad doing it :(
I wish I could give constructive feedback but I just can't think of anything I would change or want more from Novare Res!
Thanks Eric! We'll be back!
08-26-2008 15:10:16 | More by snafui
4.43/5 rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
So, a colleague says hey you need to try this new beer bar. We head over and what's on the cellar list but a pannepot old ale 06. I showed up a few weeks later with another friend for a game of go and he had a nice kolsch, I had a belgian abbey ale, both on draft. The selection here is amazing! The food is currently only meat and cheese appetizers but there are plans to expand. The bier garden / patio is great. I think they're off to a great start and look forward to many subsequent visits. In the heart of the old port it's within walking distance of where I work. Once they nail a menu look out!
08-19-2008 02:02:04 | More by barleywinebrewer
4.3/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
Went to this place on Memorial Day weekend, and expected it to be quite crowded- it wasn't. I also didn't find this particularly hard to find as they have a signboard out on Exchange street directing the way in. They were just finishing the rather large deck when I was there, and still finishing some of the interior as well. This appears to still be a work in progress, and I'll bet the owner/owners don't have deep pockets, so we'll probably see things like a full service kitchen etc., as time goes on. For now, its all about the beer. The place itself is a little dungeonesque, but would probably be less so if it were more occupied. Not a lot of light in this place and trestle community tables and a bar are pretty much all that was there. Nice brick walls, fairly nice bar area. The deck is sorta closed in in a courtyard, and needs some greenery, but I think all of that will come eventually. Service was quite good, primarily because our bartender was extremely eager to please, chat about the beer, BA, and the town. Quite knowledgeable, and clearly someone who knew beer as a passion and not just because he had been trained. Attempts to have a conversation with the owner on the other hand, failed. Clearly he didn't seem all that interested in us outsiders. Oh well, not everyone has the same people skills and I don't hold it against him. Selection was quite good, and I gather fantastic for the area. I was personally a little disappointed that there were only two things on the menu that I hadn't had, and I'm not from the area. There was a Cantillon or two on draft, which is unusual enough, but not a lot of other stuff that was all that rare. There was a cask as well, which is very nice. Overall I would have liked to have seen some more New England stuff on draft, but I might feel that only because I was there as a traveller and not as a local. The selection was still very, very solid- hence my score. The food here is an afterthought. A few plates of charcuterie at reasonably high prices and nothing more. Hopefully that will change. I really appreciate the location of this place in the historic district- easy to get to on foot after a day of sightseeing and much more convenient than the Great Lost Bear. I'm interested to see how this places evolves- it could one day become a must go to pub for anyone. For now, it is just the best place in Portland.
08-06-2008 20:49:58 | More by Georgiabeer
4.66/5 rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
My wife and I recently moved to Maine, and went to Portland for our first wedding anniversary. I had noticed a mention of Novare Res in a one-paragraph blurb in the latest Yankee Brew News (a free brew publication here in the NE), but there was no mention of where the darn place was. After googling the address, but failing to write directions down, and not really having a good knowledge of Portland (we live about 3 hours away, and it was only my 2nd visit), it took me about an hour to find this place.
But once I did, oh man, it was like I had gone to beer heaven. Yes, as everyone above has mentioned above the prices can be a little steep, and the food wasn't really what I went there for, so we passed on the meager menu they had - but what an amazing place.
I'd like to think I'd know a little more than the average bear about imports and craft brews, but other than a couple of Dogfishhead, Unibroue, and Allagash taps (including Allagash Black on cask - which was a treat for me), the other taps were totally foreign (excuse the pun) to me. Thankfully, there was a kind and helpful staff that not only knew what to recommend when I told them what I was looking to try, but did it well. This is the place I'd kill to have for my neighborhood bar, even if I had to watch my wallet a little bit and drink a little less. The decor inside was fantastic, and the outside, although next to a bank parking lot was tucked enough away that you felt like you were sitting in someone's backyard, having a great brew and hanging with like-minded people and friends.
All said, if you ever find yourself near Portland, ME and you even have a passing interest in great beer, you owe it to yourself to stop by and gawk at the amazing selection that such a "hideaway" can find.
08-02-2008 05:12:18 | More by foursquare
4.53/5 rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I loved this place. The selection of beers is excellent, and I just love how every thing is set up.
Stopped in twice in one day.
The first stop, myself and my friend hung out at the bar, and the bartender was fantastic. Very helpful. When ever we asked a question about a certain beer on tap, she would give us a sample.
The second stop, we sat outside. The service was not quite as good, but they were packed, and they seemed to be a server short or two, so I'll give them a pass because the earlier service was great.
The beer selection is great. A lot of Belgian ales, both on tap, and in bottles, including several trappist ales.
The one complaint I would have about this bar is the food. The menu is nearly non-existent. The meat and cheese selections look interesting, but seem a little pricey at $3 to $4 an ounce.
The beer prices were good. I wish Boston bars had the same prices.
07-30-2008 18:51:05 | More by n0rmann
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Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
98 out of 100 based on 118 user ratings.