Log in or Sign up
Extreme Beer Fest
returns to Boston on March 21 & 22, 2014.
Tickets are on sale now
BeerAdvocate mobile beta: Testers Wanted
. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Android or Google Chrome user? Get a
14 day free trial to BeerAdvocate magazine on Google Play Newsstand
today! (AU, CA, UK, US only).
Extreme Beer Fest
Google Play Newsstand
Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
We stopped in here on Saturday late afternoon for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. There is a sign on the street that directs you down the alley to the cafe, so that was helpful. Looks like a tucked-away beer garden when you come around the corner. There is an elevated patio where you can sit at tables outside and enjoy the sun. Inside, it's a very cozy and homey bier bar. There are communal large table that encourage sitting with others. The brick walls gave it an old-world look. Tons of beer signs everywhere to keep my eyes wandering. Awesome looking walk-in beer cellar. We were there the day after the 2nd year anniversary, so there were still a lot of those beers on tap. Plus, the huge menu-like book of bottled beers to choose from. We had to wait a while to be served, and once she took our order, two other waitresses came by to take our order again. They need to get their act coordinated. We also noticed other tables that sat for a while without getting served. Also, whenever the waitress came back to us, she seemed very hurried and rushed. We ordered a few beers. I had the BFM Cuveé Alex Le Rouge on cask and the Marshall Wharf Novare Res Anniv. Beer. My wife had the DFH Immort Ale and the Haverill Tappist 8 dubbel. All were good. We also ordered a cheese plate ($3 per selection). Had a trio, with accompaniments, which was delicious. We were just finishing up, when I saw the dessert, and I wish I saw them first. Cantillon truffles? Tripel ice cream? Wow. Prices here were on the high side, but this level of quality is going to cost you. Novare Res really does stand out as the premier destination in Portland, and possibly one of the top in New England. I am glad that we finally got a chance to experience it.
05-24-2010 18:42:48 |
More by morebeergood
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Went there Sunday afternoon, great selection, heavy on Belgium selections. I tried something from Marshall Wharf from Maine. They have a good selection on draft from Maine. I sat down at a table with my two kids, took the bartender over 10 minutes to even come over to our table, another couple had the same problem.
We ordered some food, he forgot out appetizer. Menu is not very extensive, but it was good. They have a nice outside area with tables.
Overall the beer selection is fantastic, I just loved the vibe of the place. It was a little of a beer geeky crowd, but I think that just made the atmosphere better.
If our server would have had a more welcoming tone , it would have capped off a great day in Maine. I will definitely come back, the selection and vibe is just to good to let it be ruined by one bad server.
07-01-2013 23:03:42 |
More by dancaplette
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$$
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
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: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Visited this place twice on back-to-back weekday evenings in early August 2011. The place has a pretty huge outdoor patio (that was packed both visits) and an inside area that resembles a medieval beer cellar, complete with display bottles, long wooden tables, belgian beer plaques, and lots of brick! Probably worth a visit just to check the inside out.
Quite an extensive beer list with representation from all the good beer countries. I ended up venturing to Sweden and Italy off the menu. Unfortunately, the two days I was there were the two days leading up to their annual Rogue tap takeover. There were only about 10 taps going, and most were Maine staples which isn't bad at all but was hoping to try some belgians on-tap. Would love to go back when they have all 25 taps going.
As the outdoor patio was packed, and our server was working both inside and outside tables, the service definitely suffered for us inside both nights we were there. I remember it took us quite a long time to grab the bill from our waitress at the end of the night. However, both nights the staff seemed quite pleasant and helpful.
Tried some of their food one of the nights and went with the Mediterranean Plate and a Vegetarian Sandwich. Decent food albeit it is more small plate/appetizer sized portions.
Prices were a little steep, both for food and beer I thought. However, for beer it can be justified to some extent for some of the more rarer and special products.
I'd like to return again to try a more extensive variety of belgian product on-tap. I'll just have to check first that there are no tap takeovers planned the night before my visit.
10-05-2011 04:45:22 |
More by Digimaika2
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Just off of Exchange street in downtown Portland is Novare Res Bier Café. They have a sign posted on Exchange street, fortunately, as otherwise it's not all that easy to find.
The cafe is located in essentially it's own little plaza area with a very large patio for out door seating. As the weather was gorgeous this particular evening (temps in the low 80's), the patio was packed. As one walks inside, one is confronted by a fair size dining area with two bars. My guess is the two bar areas seat around 20 people, and it was fairly full around 6:00 on a Friday. The room has a low ceiling with lots of wood and brick. Seating consists of benches and long tables in the dining area, and there's no doubt the owners are trying to portray an informal, relaxed, minimalist vibe. It's OK, though I can't say I found the bar chairs or seating arrangements particularly comfortable.
As for the beer selection, this day they had 28 beers on tap (one cider as well), including 3 beers on cask. Surprisingly, they only had 6 actual Belgian beers on the draft list, but with a number of Belgian syle domestic beers. Things I saw included De Range XX and Noir De Dottignies, Black Albert (at $10 for an 8 ounce glass!), Chimay, etc. There were also some local beers (marshall wharf and beer of the Gods), and overall I thought the draft list pretty decent. The bottle list consists of around 300 selections, which I know sounds pretty strong. In fact it was decent, but on the other hand I didn't see one thing I hadn't seen elsewhere. Also, I don't know... I just thought it would have been nice to see more local selections on the bottle list. They had a couple of beers from Beer of the Gods, some smuttynose, and some Allagash, and that was it.
The two beers I had were the Taras Boulba and the Noir De Dottignies. Both were quite good and were served in proper glassware. The cafe seems to take it's glassware seriously, something I always appreciate. Didn't try the food, but it's pretty limited in any event. They have a meat and cheese selection, and you can mix and match several plates to make up an antipasta dish.
Prices are hard to describe here. I thought them a bit high on some things (see the Black Albert price, and my two beers were both in the $8 to $8.50 range), but on others fairly reasonanble (a pint of prima pils was $5). Still, overall I thought the prices here just a bit high.
Apparently they also have some sort of beer club here, as I saw a number of people with paper charts, marking off different beers as they tried them. I didn't see any information about this, nor did my waitress volunteer any info, but as I was just here for the one day, I saw no reason to inquire.
Service here was decent. The wait staff was familiar with all the beers, though their actual knowledge about them seemed a bit limited. For some reason it seemed to take a while initiially to get a beer, but after that things went much more quickly and smoothly.
This is a very solid place, even if for some reason it just didn't wow me as much as I was expecting. Still, I would certainly recommend this place and wouldn't hesitate to stop in again next time I'm in town.
05-23-2009 14:08:13 |
More by johnmichaelsen
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Awesome atmosphere. Decent music playing as you sit around beer hall style tables or outside on the patio. Couple of dart boards to go with cool brick walls and an impressive bottle collection. Went on a Wednesday night, so the crowd was great. Service was fantastic as we got our menus and orders in quickly. Funny guy who liked to talk, but didn't bother us too much.
The selection is incredible for a U.S. beer bar, no doubt. However, the first two beers my wife tried to order were both gone. We each got a beer, then when I tried to order a second, they were out of both beers I tried to order. I wasn't even trying to get uber rare stuff, but they were just out, so we ended up leaving after one beer (in all honesty, if I didn't have 4 days of drinking in VT ahead of me, there were definitely other beers I would've ordered). I'm impressed when a bar has an incredible draft and bottle list, but I'm even more impressed when it's correct and I don't waste time setting my sights on a beer. Just be aware of this as you're looking at the list.
Still, If you're in Portland, Novare Res is a must hit. If you're anywhere near Portland, it's still probably worth going a bit out of your way for. Definitely a cool place.
07-21-2011 11:43:17 |
More by ChrisPro
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I went on a Thursday evening, so I may not have gotten the typical experience, but the place had a slightly unwelcoming atmosphere. It was self-seating, and it took about 15 minutes for a server to approach my table, and it was difficult to get her attention throughout the night.
The beer selection was tremendous.
The food options are very limited. My party ordered several appetizers. They were all good but not great.
The prices were normal for the offerings.
05-10-2013 02:49:06 |
More by Sudcutter
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
This place is a "cool spot" whether you're a local or tourist. I am a tourist to the area and will be reviewing this bar/beer garden from this perspective.
First walking in I notice well made beer merchandise (I know...an oxymoron) covering the walls.. The stuff was actually quite tempting as their logo is fairly bad-ass, but the price led me astray from any immediate purchases. I quickly snagged one of the many available tap lists to aid in my evening's decision. I believe there were approximately 30 beers on tap, all of which were well selected options.
I went with the Allagash Victor...which was unfortunately the only Allagash on tap at the time. I felt this decision was appropriate considering I'd never had an Allagash beer previous to this evening and wanted to try something "local." The beer was terrific and of course came in the appropriate matching Allagash glassware.
I soon ventured outside to the patio to play a little sack toss. I wouldn't normally play this game in any other setting, but I was meeting new people that evening and sack toss is far easier to than having to converse...at least until after I had finished my first beer.
The second thing I noticed was the place packed to the brim. Even with wall to wall patronage there was still ample, roaming service providers who were non-invasive, yet constantly asking me whether I would like another beverage. I did eventually get the funds together for a glass of mead from a local mead producing facility (meadery?) in Portland known as the "Maine Mead Works." This was an outstanding beverage and I am thrilled to have the option to consume and enjoy this beverage.
Unfortunately I did not try any of the food, so I can't speak to that effect.
Overall I was glad I convinced a group of 15 people to venture to a random bar I read about on our first night in Portland, when we could have easily been grinding asses at a local night club instead. The prices were fair, but not outstanding and the overall atmosphere made it an enjoyable evening.
06-18-2011 01:59:35 |
More by ThePorterSorter
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
I think it's going to be difficult to find a place in New England that's doing a better job with Beer lists than Novare Res. They have amazing selections, Cantillon is almost always available, and there's a list long enough to put some wine bars to shame.
The food is good, but there's something missing and I don't quite know how to put my finger on it. I've ordered food from them 3-5 times in the last year. Every time the foods been good, but not something I feel compelled to order again. So I'm happt to be eating, but I'm not thinking, "I need to go back there for the ___."
Service is hit or miss. Some of the servers appear to favor favorite/regular customers. I've had to ask for my bill or stop them for another drink most times. Increased tipping doesn't appear to impact the quality or frequency of attention/service here.
09-05-2013 03:43:19 |
More by Kirk_Grant
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
Your name or email address:
Do you already have an account?
No, create an account now.
Yes, my password is:
Forgot your password?
Stay logged in
Top 250 Beers
Change of Address