PLYMOUTH – If you like beer, you’ll like the New World Tavern.
The year-old restaurant-bar in downtown Plymouth boasts 32 beers on draft and more than 100 bottled varieties from around the world.
And if, like me, you’re a designated driver, you’ll still appreciate the New World Tavern for its upscale comfort food — everything from creamy macaroni and cheese with a hint of rosemary, to an overflowing plate of nachos.
Toss in frequent live music, a lively bar scene, trivia night, and free bacon on Wednesdays, and what’s not to like about this addition to the Plymouth social landscape?
We went with friends on a recent Friday night and found that lots of people like the New World Tavern. The front room, which seats about 50, was packed, and the much larger back room was booked for a private party. The only available table was at the front window, which offered a fine view of bustling Main Street, but uncomfortably low seating and occasional chilling gusts of air from the outside.
No matter. We were soon warmed up by the efforts of choosing from the massive beer menu, and less extensive, but equally stimulating, food options.
We started with the cutely named Nachos Average Nachos ($10), an enormous platter of crisp corn chips dotted with sizzling cheddar cheese, green salsa, jalapeños, and pineapple pico de gallo. We barely dented the surface. However, we made quick work of the soft pretzel knots ($8), a deliciously sweet and salty bread served very hot and greasy, in a good way, with assorted mustards and a sweet cider dipping sauce.
Another big hit and guilty pleasure was the cholesterol-heavy Don Juan burger ($13), a juicy half-pound of Angus ground beef served on a bun and topped with melted smoked gouda, bacon, tomato jam, and a sunny-side up fried egg, with a side of crisp waffle fries.
Mac & Cheese Grattan ($10) was a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite: S-shaped cavatapi pasta, bacon, and snap peas tossed with white truffle oil in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with toasted asiago cheese and rosemary breadcrumbs.
The “Fish in Chips” ($16) was an enormous plate of battered fried fish, crisp on the outside and moist and hot inside, and came with coleslaw and waffle fries. The soup of the day was a sausage stew ($5 a cup, $7 a bowl), which was rich with a nice, complex flavor. It came topped with onion rings, but with no discernible sausage.
And then there’s the beer, the true draw of the New World Tavern. The list changes daily, according to co-owner Karl Heine, with emphasis on local craft breweries. He and partner Roman Dombrowski both worked previously for beer distributor L. Knife & Sons and wanted to bring new brews to the South Shore.
That means you’ll find Allagash Fluxus, a beer brewed in Maine with green and pink peppercorns; an espresso oak-aged Yeti from Colorado, a stout aged in oak chips with coffee; as well as a watermelon beer in the summer.
“We’re not a beer geek, or rather beer snob, bar; we are a beer lover bar,” Heine said. “A beer snob won’t drink some things for whatever reason. A beer lover will try anything.”
The daily beer menu lists bottled varieties on one side and draft offerings on the other, with name, brewery location, glass size, alcohol by volume, and bitterness scale noted. Prices range from $6 to $7.50 per glass.
Our table opted for a Wachusett Country Pale Ale from Westminster and a Cisco Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Nantucket, both of which came in glasses labeled with the brewery and elicited contented sighs on sipping. The Tröegs Mad Elf Ale from Pennsylvania and Sierra Nevada Kolsch Style Ale from California also earned accolades for flavor.
The New World Tavern scored well overall for food, drink, and atmosphere. We’d come back to try the delicious-looking grilled cheese that we coveted on someone else’s table, to work our way through the ever-changing beer list, and to listen to an eclectic lineup of bands on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. We’ll just get there earlier to find a better table.