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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
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
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
My wife and I recently moved to Maine, and went to Portland for our first wedding anniversary. I had noticed a mention of Novare Res in a one-paragraph blurb in the latest Yankee Brew News (a free brew publication here in the NE), but there was no mention of where the darn place was. After googling the address, but failing to write directions down, and not really having a good knowledge of Portland (we live about 3 hours away, and it was only my 2nd visit), it took me about an hour to find this place.
But once I did, oh man, it was like I had gone to beer heaven. Yes, as everyone above has mentioned above the prices can be a little steep, and the food wasn't really what I went there for, so we passed on the meager menu they had - but what an amazing place.
I'd like to think I'd know a little more than the average bear about imports and craft brews, but other than a couple of Dogfishhead, Unibroue, and Allagash taps (including Allagash Black on cask - which was a treat for me), the other taps were totally foreign (excuse the pun) to me. Thankfully, there was a kind and helpful staff that not only knew what to recommend when I told them what I was looking to try, but did it well. This is the place I'd kill to have for my neighborhood bar, even if I had to watch my wallet a little bit and drink a little less. The decor inside was fantastic, and the outside, although next to a bank parking lot was tucked enough away that you felt like you were sitting in someone's backyard, having a great brew and hanging with like-minded people and friends.
All said, if you ever find yourself near Portland, ME and you even have a passing interest in great beer, you owe it to yourself to stop by and gawk at the amazing selection that such a "hideaway" can find.
08-02-2008 05:12:18 |
More by foursquare
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited 3 separate times during a weekend in Portland. Absolutely fantastic atmosphere and every bartender was very knowledgable and helpful. First night we stopped in their keg room refrigeration had konked out, leaving them with only 5 on tap. Bottle selection made up for it and then some, with some amazing choices. Next day all taps were up and running and selectino was excellent from about 25 taps. Selection as you'd expect leans toward belgians, but taps included a couple of IPA's and a good mix overall. Bottle list is very impressive, and bartenders were happy to talk about any and all of them, and explain the ones we weren't familiar with. Great place, and considering it's only been open a couple of months, you have to think it will only get better. Well done!
07-25-2008 15:33:41 |
More by chuckd123
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
A remarkable space for a beer bar. The indoor and outdoor spaces are done really well. A comfortable place to sit and have a beer and hang out even when busy.
The draft selection is very good, though it's the bottle list that really impresses. Love that they're really promoting a great bottle list.
The food is very tasty, though there is not much of a selection at all. Beer and food prices are pretty reasonable.
So basically I really loved this place, except...
The awful service. So bad we had to laugh about it. We were invisible. We were almost done with our food when the beers finally arrived - and we ordered the beers ten minutes before the food. The glasses of water that we asked for showed up with the check. The next day we went back and didn't get a whole lot better.
If they did something about the service and added a few more choices to the menu this place would be an east coast beer destination.
07-14-2008 23:30:14 |
More by taeagan
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
Can't say enough about this place .Warm, friendly, great selection of brews on tap and the bottle list goes on and on. I ordered one brew and the server didn't know much about it he tracked down the owner and had him give me a description of it. The only downside is I wish they had some food to go with the fine brews so I could talk the wife into staying for more than a couple brews. It really is dangerous to send them out to all the shops while you sit there and drink. Although you maybe pretty happy when you leave there so It might not matter
07-12-2008 02:09:26 |
More by joepais
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
This is the type of place where people who really enjoy beer would like to go. If I lived a little closer than 45 minutes away, I would frequent this place several times a week. You walk past a courtyard with picnic tables to the entrance. There's a European flavor to the place. The interior is brick, with a concrete floor and a metal ceiling. Some beer memorabilia on the walls. A second room with a fireplace and sofas is adjacent to the main room. The bar has wooden shelves behind it with lots of glassware. There are several tables for four with stools and benches, and two longer community tables. The wood is blonde, and the tables and stools are heavy, with wrought iron bases. No TVs, just some jazz on the stereo system.
On our visit, there were 25 draft beers and 230 bottled beers on the menu. Nice selection of draft beers, and an almost overwhelming selection of bottles.
Our server was attentive and knowledgable, as well as being very welcoming.
Really enjoyed this place; can't wait to go back.
07-07-2008 23:51:16 |
More by lordofthewiens
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
The best thing about this place is the selection, other places in the area have great selections, but they tend to be dominated by Maine beers (although you can't go wrong with them either, haha). They typically have an excellent selection on-tap, many of which get rotated out cause I imagine they go fast, the bottled list is very extensive (over 200!) and if you try everyone of them (about $2000 total) you get to have a place in the "Chalice Room".
The atmosphere has changed dramatically since opening, they've added more lighting (a good thing because it was really dark at first), added some couches and dart boards, really shaping up to be the "it" place to have drinks and chill out at.
07-02-2008 23:49:21 |
More by deltatauhobbit
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Went here on vacation and was overall really impressed with this place. The selection is pretty solid with a few rarities worth seeking out. I had a 1998 JW Lees Harvest Ale for example. The pricing I think is generally a little on the high side, but if you take your time with the menu there are a few bargains to be found. The staff was really helpful and friendly too. Food is limited, but from what we had it seemed to be some quality stuff appropriate for a top notch beer bar- which I'm happy to report that Novare Res Bier Cafe is.
06-29-2008 20:01:44 |
More by lpayette
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
A very cool place to check out if your in the portland area. The outside deck is especially notable when the weather is nice. Inside is a bit dark and spartan but that will probably change with more time. I found the beer selection to also be quite good, the last time I visited they had over 250 different selections of beers and were planning to get more. The staff seemed both helpful and fairly knowledgable. Price wise some of it was perhaps a bit on the overpriced side (especially the locally brewed Allagash) but for the selection not a terrible mark up. Overall a definite must visit!
06-11-2008 16:28:24 |
More by Bowdoinbeerboy
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME