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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I really wanted to like this place. I came up to Portland for a long weekend. The service was horrendous and uneven. After my husband was about barely halfway through his 1st drink, the male bartender was hounding him for his next drink. However, after I had barely 2 sips left in my drink, no one would come near me. The bartenders were too busy socializing with presumed regulars. Not only that, I noticed they had a computer in the corner of the bar and we playing music from it, but they were also spending way too much time online. Since I was facing the computer, I noticed the familiar BA logo and the male bartender was pointing something out to female bartender. Normally I wouldn't care, but when I have to practically wave an empty glass around to get service. I was also sitting at one end of the bar where I was able to make eye contact or at least attempt. I think it was 4:30 on a Friday and maybe 15 customers in the whole place.
The atmosphere is cool, not too much light. Long tables inside, with maybe 10-15 bar seats. Selection was good, both tap and bottles. I had the Smuttynose Brett & I and Allagash Burnham Road. I would visit again if in the area, in hopes they have learn to step up the service. If I want potential crappy service, I can go somewhere in Boston and not drive 2 hours.
08-23-2009 22:29:35 |
More by growler
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
A remarkable space for a beer bar. The indoor and outdoor spaces are done really well. A comfortable place to sit and have a beer and hang out even when busy.
The draft selection is very good, though it's the bottle list that really impresses. Love that they're really promoting a great bottle list.
The food is very tasty, though there is not much of a selection at all. Beer and food prices are pretty reasonable.
So basically I really loved this place, except...
The awful service. So bad we had to laugh about it. We were invisible. We were almost done with our food when the beers finally arrived - and we ordered the beers ten minutes before the food. The glasses of water that we asked for showed up with the check. The next day we went back and didn't get a whole lot better.
If they did something about the service and added a few more choices to the menu this place would be an east coast beer destination.
07-14-2008 23:30:14 |
More by taeagan
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I have been here often and unfortunately do not agree with the high rating it has received. Many of my complaints are mentioned in other reviews but somehow those reviews still end up giving high marks. Perhaps I am spoiled because I used to live in brunswick and frequented the lions pride often.
I guess I feel the tap list is extensive but does not usually have more than a couple beers I actually want to drink. The biggest issue for me is the service. The waits are long even when it is a quiet day. I don't think I have ever been asked how I was enjoying a beer nor do I feel the bartenders are interested in talking about it anyway. I have had issues getting samples that were more than just a quarter shot glass full of foam. I am glad I know what I like and can order what I need but I can't imagine going in there as a newbie and getting any sort of quality direction from this staff.
All this being said they are the only game in town as far as beer
bars go and I do appreciate that. The events are often well worth attending as well.
10-09-2011 21:42:11 |
More by mclaughlindw4
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
The other reviewers have explained the charm and the great selection of this place and they're all right. I'd personally like to see more local beers but the international selection was great and unusual. However, I'll never return as we had the absolute surliest waiter I've ever had in my entire beer drinking existence. Slow with orders, beyond short with answers, put out by every question or order, rolling eyes when I wanted another round... The place wasn't even crowded. Being this rude goes beyond standard apathy and requires real effort, which is utterly unfathomable. It's too bad- he completely ruined my experience at a place that I was really looking forward to trying.
07-12-2011 23:07:50 |
More by TXHops
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I found the execution of the design to be a bit on the low rent side. There are some nice touches (taps behind the bar, the beer cooler) but also plenty of cheap touches (cabinetry at the back bar, bar stools uncomfortable due to them being very industrial with a totally flat seat, tables are utilitarian).
I found the service very bad. I tried to get the bartender's attention on a slow night and had no luck. I asked a question of the waitress who seemed shocked someone wanted to ask a question. She warmed up a bit later and was reasonably helpful in selecting a beer. She seemed knowledgeable. Later, when we tried to engage her for our next choice, she passed us off to the surly bartender, who seemed just released from military basic training and lacked all social graces.
When I tried to get the person's attention who was fiddling with the music by taking a step around the bar, I was accosted by the barman in a very belligerent manner--mind you, I'm no terrorist at 55 and generally mild mannered. He put his hand on me and I politely asked him to remove it and all he could do was parrot, "Get away from the back of the bar." It all left a rather sour taste in my mouth, I finished my beer, asked for the check, and left. I won't be in a hurry to return.
The bottled beer menu is well organized by category but the draught menu is merely a listing with alcohol content and amount poured. If you are trying to educate the uninitiated, more information would be helpful.
08-12-2009 14:47:54 |
More by luddy83
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 2 | $$
My friends had told me to look for the "beer garden." My wife and I found the place last Friday night. My wife loved the place (even though she doesn't drink). I was satisfied with the place. I was expecting something a little more. The beer selection was awesome and the way they had the menu set up was excellent. I was excited to see they had a stout from Orkney,Scotland. I was in Scotland in 97 and remember this stout quite fondly. So I was eager to have it again. "Sorry, we don't have that one." Bummer. My wife wanted one of their non-alcoholic beers, "Sorry we don't have that one." Bummer. She settled for a ginger beer. The bartender was nice enough but not very up on his beers. There was one bartender (he said he was persian) who was excellent. We didn't try any of the food. The cheese selection looked fine and there seemed to be some nice pairings. We were never asked if we wanted any food. I guess I should have gone out of my way and asked. I mean, I am the one paying the bill. I might go back. I won't go out of my way to get there.
02-15-2009 12:40:35 |
More by MaineBirdMan
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I had to grab a late dinner when arriving in Portland and saw that NR was rated well on BA and on Yelp. There seemed to be some confusion initially upon arriving of whether the kitchen was open or closed (different hours on the phone while parking, than 5 minutes later after walking in).
The pros: The food was really tasty and the beer selection was good. The prices were also good for both.
The cons (which I mention in hopes that these might change):
1) If the Red Sox are in the playoffs and somebody asks if there is a TV to watch the game in one of the rooms, the reply should not be; "it is all about the beer here." You serve mainly unshaven community college kids in pseudo-vintage t-shirts that they bought at Target. You are not above having a TV set showing the Red Sox game. I have been to half of the top beer bars in the US and all of them have TV sets.
2) If somebody's GF does not want beer and needs a second to look at the wine list (as short as it is), do not leave her for another 15 minutes having to flag wildly to get her order in while the bar is half empty.
3) Loose that "hot chicks and douchebags" soundtrack playing in there. I do not say that as the grumpy old guy, but as somebody equally aware of what far better music is readily available over that guitar-centric BS that reminded me of my worst night having to sit through that dude from Lacuna Coil.
I might be busting balls in this review, but the beer, food and prices are what is right about this place. The rest of this place should be redone from scratch because the crowd that I saw in there are the type who may write you up on Yelp today, but will move on to "farm to table" dining to impress their fake ID dates next year. You need to build a beer bar that will hold interest of the beer community and make members of that community want to come back and spread the word to others. That is far more important in a business model than temporary hipness.
10-09-2009 06:45:43 |
More by opwog
District of Columbia
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
So I normally don't rate places I only go to once, but I feel I must in this case. Overall the selection is great but the customer service is not great.
Atmosphere: cool vibe in brick, dark lighted 'cave' like bar very cool for beer geeks. Overall the people in there seemed ok but a little on the not so beer informed side, it was a Tuesday night afterall.
Quality/service: the bottles look stored well, most of the taps were ok but here's where personal experience comes in: my friend orders a my Antonia (dogfish) on tap and it comes out extremely oxidized and not true to the beer any of us knew. We told the server we had and she was super defensive about it although we spent enough and bought bottles expensive and rare enough that they should have known we knew what we were talking about. Would not replace or give a refund for it. Not cool, if you ask me, even at the super expensive beer bars I've been to everywhere they would take back and probably ackowledge old taps, give a refund or another beer, not the case here. Overall service was spotty and was not friendly even when we tried to engage on a beer level. Quality of the cantillon 2005 guezue was excellent though.
Selection is outstanding, cool tap choices from the world and local plus a great bottle selection. Check out the website for yourself here. Would have liked a bit more Midwest and west coast selection but perhaps thats the state laws?
Overall great beers for the most part, not caring service. Would try again and hope for better results/ ask for tastes if they do that for hoppy stuff.
03-23-2011 04:12:47 |
More by Dreadnaught33
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
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
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Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
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