I didn’t know anything about Dover upon moving here. Smart, right? I figured everything that I needed out of the local beer scene I could just get from Portsmouth. The old Barley Pub on Central Ave. was closing it’s doors as I was unpacking my house, and it seems like all the reviews of the “new” Barley Pub are comparing it to the old. Well, I have no “remember that time at the Barley Pub in our favorite booth when blah blah blah happened”-moments. All I have is the new bar, and what has become the ideal spot for a young person on her own in New Hampshire, trying to get into the beer scene. I know, it’s like a sitcom.
High-ceilings, dark colors, a long bar, and even a raised stage area for bands, it’s apparent why I see a line out the door of this place every Friday/Saturday night. I’ve yet to mingle with the weekend bar crew, but I can tell you that around 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon, I have the Barley Pub almost to myself and am free to sample from their 30+ tap list at my leisure. Whether I want to sit at the bar, one of their nice window-side tables, or a couch in the back, the place has become an addition to my living room.
Their beer list features a lot of New England brews; a great rotating list of Smuttynose short batch series, and Moat Mountain, out of North Conway, is always present. I’ve been able to experience some great limited beers: Smuttynose Lindz; a Kolsch brewed in honor of Lindsey Altshul, a beloved figure of the Seacoast restaurant/beer community. Also, Smuttynose Durty, an intense brown IPA. My favorite though, that quickly came and went, is Allagash Interlude; a two-yeast beer that is then aged in wine barrels.
Barley Pub’s food is of the upscale pub variety, but very reasonably priced. A cheese plate with two cheeses, plus apricot compote and crostini, runs around $5, while a Southern-Style fried chicken sandwich with honey mustard coleslaw is around $7. They also feature salads, pan pizzas, and entrees, all cheap and house-made
You’ll find the ubiquitous drunk dudes playing pool, but you’ll also find college professors, parents, solitary people on laptops or with books, beer geeks, and the rest. The place is fully without pretention. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and as a plus, they have plans to install a 10-barrel brewing system. Coming from the gastropub wasteland of Cape Cod, it is still a little overwhelming knowing that I can walk down the street to this. I think I’ll get used to it.
83 Washington Street
Dover, NH, 03820