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Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4 Canal Plz
phone: (207) 761-2437
(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 109 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
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
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Now this is how a beer bar should be!!!! I finally stopped in after waiting a long time to check this place out (pretty hard to find!) But well worth the journey.
Atmosphere is right up my alley! Very chill and low key with killer tunes! Some killer hip hop and some great classic rock! I love the long tables. and the bar is really cool.
Service was perfect. Me and my girlfriend reconazined our bartender from somewhere else. She was really chill and knew her shit about beer. I got brooklyn's chocolate stout on tap for only 5$! So tasty! our bartender picked out a really good brew for my girlfriend (can't remember and it's really bugging me!) She was very attentive even though it was kinda busy and we were hinding in the corner.
Selection is best I've seen. I was a huge fan and still am of the bear expecially when I lived in Portland. Hate to say it but this place blows it outta the water.
I didn't get a chance to try the food since I was so caught up in the beer. Some interesting stuff. My girlfriend liked it but nothing that really caught my eye (No WINGS!?!?) haha
Anyways I can't stress how cool this place is. Only if I lived in Portland still!
01-15-2009 15:08:19 |
More by cleeze
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
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: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
We stopped in here for the first time after hearing great things from many people. From the second we walked in, we knew by the atmosphere and vibe that this is a great place.
We then noticed the draft selection they had. 24 Rotating taps, extensive bottled beer list, and seasonal and rare beers to top things off.
This place is truly a beer connoisseur and the bartender was very knowledgeable about all the beers they had available.
This place is slightly off commercial street in a courtyard commons area behind Key Bank and a parking garage. Next time we go up to Portland, we will keep this place in mind.
01-01-2011 22:30:49 |
More by Flounder57
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Seriously, this was my third and final stop of a beer tour of Portland and I'm glad that I left this one for last because it is the best beer bar I've ever been in.
Located in the basement of an alley downtown. I feel like I was entering a trappist monk's monastery. The place is a dark little bar with very plan decor some beer stuff, but mostly dark, brick walls. The outside patio was awesome! large picnic tables in a nice courtyard area surrounded by ivy laden brick walls.
Fucking ridiculous beer list a think is was like five pages long of perfectly chosen beers. Mostly Belgian or Belgian inspired ales. If it wasn't on tap it was definitely in bottle. The staff was very friendly and informative and provided samples to help make decisions.
I sat with my wife for the better part of the afternoon at Novare Res drinking excellent beers and sampling some really good cheeses and cured meats. The place had such a good vibe everyone was very nice.
After visiting Novare Res, I want to pack up my shit and move to Portland. A MUST STOP!
07-26-2009 17:34:57 |
More by SteveO1231
New Brunswick (Canada)
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
Made a return trip to Portland and Novare Res last weekend with my wife and brother, and I felt I had to update my review, even though my last one rated it A+ as well.
I just can't emphasize the excellent experiences I've had at this beer bar. Overall, the place is fantastic. This weekend we spent a couple of hours there on Saturday, and then something like 5-6 hours on Sunday. Everything from the selection, quality, atmosphere is near-perfect, if NOT perfect. Great food options as well; I can't imagine eating wings or other deep-fried foods with a beer selection like this, so the sandwiches, meats and cheeses are really the best option.
But, as I mentioned last time, the real stand-out feature of this place is the service. Anytime I've been there, the bartender has really known their stuff about beer, are great for making recommendations, giving samples, etc. Our bartenders this time were Shahin and Michael (I think...?)... great guys, very friendly; made the experience all the better for us.
Ok, I'll stop gushing about the place. But if there was anything that would make me leave Canada for the U.S., it's this place. And the cheaper beer. And the lower taxes. Ok, three things.
02-05-2010 13:12:35 |
More by berley31
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Stumbled upon Novare Res while wandering around Portland on June 26th 2010 and had to check it out. It turned out to be the highlight of my trip.
I was there mid-afternoon and there were just a handful of other customers, maybe 10 inside at the main bar and 6 or so outside on the patio. When I left a few hours later it was starting to fill up as dinnertime was approaching. Atmosphere is very chill, somewhat swanky, old-world style. Lots of brick, wood, a low tin ceiling, cool feeling like an airy beer cellar. Chill groovin' music playing at low volume.
I counted 24 taps and 1 cask, plus a ginormous assortment of bottles available to order. A heavy focus on belgians, maybe half the taps, with german and US brews making up the rest. All of them were primo quality lesser-known brews. Even with me being something of a learned beer snob, there were several breweries I hadn't heard of and I'd previously sampled only 3 or 4 of the brews on tap. Somebody there has spent a lot of time and effort to bring choice European beers to Portland that aren't well-known in the states. Beers on tap ranged from approx $4-10, were served in ideal glassware, and good attention was paid to pouring technique. Excellent presentation.
THERE WAS NO TOKEN MACRO BREW AVAILABLE. Novare Res is a shrine to good beer and I'm glad they've taken the purist stance to avoid contaminating it with sub-par brew. Awesome.
I had a turkey panini for $7 and it was excellent. The menu is small, limited to cheeses, a few appetizers, sandwiches, etc. The food is an accompaniment to the beer (rather than vice versa) and it serves that purpose well.
The staff and service were friendly and attentive, low-key and not overbearing. I took a table by myself where I could focus on the beer and take some notes. The waitress came over only when my glass was nearing empty. I asked for a glass of water and it came in a plain pint glass. I found this highly appropriate and amusing because every beer I ordered came in appropriate glassware with the brewer's logo on it. The water? It's just water, no logo. (Maybe it's one of those things where you'd just have to have been there at the time.)
08-01-2010 03:21:41 |
More by BeerNinja007
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
When Eric decided to leave Massachusetts and head to Portland with a plan to open his own beer bar, I knew the place would be top notch. I was not disappointed when I recently made the trek up there. Not only was it great to visit with Eric, someone who left a lasting impression on us Moan and Dove and Dirty Truth lovers, but it was a fantastic experience all around.
The bar itself is beautiful.. you can tell that a lot of hard work and love was put into that place with all the woodwork, brickwork and welding. The mugroom is breathtaking! Everything is super clean, comfy and nice to look at. The back room w/ the couch, fireplace and dart boards is a really sweet touch.
The menu is awesome. They don't have an oven, so no hot food, but what they do have to offer is lots of meat and cheese, olives, almonds, peppers, bread, salads. num! All high quality, tasty stuff that I love to eat. The beer selection is of course phenomenal.. both the tap and bottle lists. To top it off the prices were affordable.
With a party of 13 our server was great about splitting up everything for us in the end, even in the midst of us all picking out tshirts to purchase. We took up a lot of his time, as well as some of the bartender's time, but both of them kept smiles on their faces and were wicked helpful.
I can't wait for my next trip to Portland because I will definitely be hitting up Novare Res again. I only wish I could have made it for the German fest while I was there. I was a day too early, but the idea of grilled sausage and tasty German beer out on their deck was tempting me to stay longer.
09-08-2008 01:35:14 |
More by sarita
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
What a score...
A little hidden "Bier Cafe" that only took me and my girlfriend about 20 minutes to find. It is well hidden down an alley if you are not from the area.
A solid 10 page / draft lift. I would say they offered a strong 30 to 35 beers on draft including Dogfish 120 Minute and Pannepot Reserva 2009.
Prices were reasonable. 120 ranging about 12 dollars for an 8 oz pour. Pannepot about the same for a full 12 oz.
Overall a great experience and will definitely be going back.
01-07-2012 12:55:25 |
More by bluesplit63
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Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
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