Best of NH 2012 Coffee Shops, Beverages and Bars
Whether you're in the mood for a hip late night spot, wine lounge, creative cocktails, a great craft beer, huge margarita or just a cup of coffee, this section has what you're looking for.
From Napa East in Nashua
Photo by Susan Laughlin
Cup of Coffee: Start your morning the right way: with a steaming cup of coffee from Portsmouth's Breaking New Grounds. (603) 436-9555
Cup of Coffee (National Chain): America - or at least New Hampshire - really does run on Dunkin'. Dunkin' Donuts has become a New England staple by serving up fast, piping hot coffee as well as many types of pastries.
Cool Night Spot: Brazo in Portsmouth seeks to mix the delicious food and saucy culture of Latin and South America with the New Hampshire lifestyle. If a night of good food, salsa dancing and exotic music sounds appealing, Brazo is the place for you.
*Farm-to-Glass Drinks: The Eat Local movement is about more than food. Chef Rich Larcom at Root in Bethlehem works with the mixologists to create cocktails with local legs - namely herbs from the garden out back. Think sorrel and rosemary and whatever else the season may bring.
Sports Bar: Manchester's Billy's Sports Bar & Grill has over 50 TVs on-site, which means you'll never have to miss seeing your favorite team play.
Irish Pub: 113 years after it was built, St. Joseph's Church in Epping now houses The Holy Grail, a family-owned Irish pub built on genuine Irish tradition and culture.
*Late-Night Cocktails: Using ingredients like rhubarb, cucumber, basil, house-made orange bitters and mission figs, The District in Portsmouth has shown up as the new kid on the block with something to say about cocktails. And that something is delicious. Unique flavors are combined to put inventive twists on old classics: The Basil Lime Gimlet and a Arugula Cucumber Collins. Taste the African Bee Hive with cucumber, lime and serrano brilliantly paired with pear vodka and elderflower liqueur or sip on The Black Mission (house-infused black mission fig and Tahitian vanilla bourbon on the rocks). Cocktail time is fun once again.
Brazo in Portsmouth, this year's cool night spot.
Local Beer: Open since 1991, Portsmouth Brewery serves up great food and homemade beers. True fans won't miss the famous Kate the Great beer release party scheduled for March 4, 2013.
Local Coffee Roaster: Port City Coffee Roasters in Portsmouth serves up an impressive array of coffees and specialty drinks in-shop and supplies many area cafés and restaurants.
Local Winery/Vineyard: Flag Hill Winery & Distillery in Lee offers guided walking tours of the property, where visitors can see how wine and vodka are made, as well as wine and spirit tastings.
Margarita: Agave Mexican Bistro Dos in Portsmouth tops the list with 70 kinds of tequila - a perfect accompaniment.
Margarita (Local Chain): La Carreta is known for its authentic south-of-the-border food, but their margaritas are worth the trip too.
Margarita (Regional Chain): The name says it all. Margaritas Mexican Restaurant will have your taste buds tingling with their Mexican food and margarita pairings.
Martini Bar: Round out a perfect meal of American comfort food at Manchester's Cotton with one of its legendary cocktails. Try the perennial favorite Flirtini and make it "Cotton Style" by adding Chambord.
*Most Charming Seacoast Wine Bar: Relaxed and intimate with great views of the Portsmouth tugboats, the wine bar at the Black Trumpet Bistro is the most charming spot around. The extensive and well-rounded wine list offers selections from top wine producing countries. Add in James Beard Award-nominated Chef Evan Mallett's creative and seasonally driven flavors and you'll discover that cozying up to the bar never sounded, or felt, so good. The food and wine options are limitless, so be prepared to go back again and again.
Restaurant with Best Wine List: Unwine'd in Manchester is famous for its extensive, varied wine menu and luscious fondue.
Restaurant with Best Beer List: Manchester's Strange Brew Tavern offers over 100 draft beers in a lively atmosphere that often features live music and entertainment.
*Wine by the Glass: The feel of a Napa Valley tasting room has been re-created at Napa East in Nashua. This upscale yet unpretentious and comfortable wine lounge features a constantly changing selection of 100 wines by the glass, meaning it's pretty unlikely that you'll run out of new things to try. Match your wine with something off a menu that ranges from paella to brick oven pizzas.
Regional Coffee Shops
Concord Area Coffee Shop: White Mountain Gourmet Coffee in Concord stays true to its New Hampshire roots with maple flavored coffee. It also offers a wide variety of espresso drinks, smoothies and food.
Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region Coffee Shop: The Dirt Cowboy Café "taste tests" each roast 500 times a day on the students, faculty and townies of Hanover who conclude their coffee is the best.
Great North Woods Region Coffee Shop: Spend a relaxing afternoon browsing the bookshelves with a hot cup of coffee at White Mountain Café & Bookstore in Gorham.
Lake Region Coffee Shop: Ossipee's Black Bear Café boasts fresh brews from Black Bear Micro Roastery Coffees in Tuftonboro.
Manchester Area Coffee Shop: While you may have stopped in for coffee, Manchester's The Bridge Café may just hook you with its menu of tempting breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and more.
Nashua Area Coffee Shop: Riverwalk Roasters Coffee House in Nashua makes it a point to brew only the finest organic, fair-trade coffees, many of which come from sustainable farms.
Monadnock Region Coffee Shop: Keene's Prime Roast Coffee Company offers a whopping 23 different coffee blends, including the sinfully dark "Demon Roast," a Prime Roast exclusive.
Seacoast Region Coffee Shop: With locations in Durham and downtown Portsmouth, Breaking New Grounds is a local favorite for flavorful coffees and desserts. (603) 868-6869, (603) 436-9555
Salem Area Coffee Shop: The Village Bean in Windham offers up a wide variety of coffees and espresso drinks in a friendly, homey atmosphere.
White Mountains Region Coffee Shop: North Conway's The Met Coffee House roasts its own coffee just across the river from its cozy, fireplace-filled shop.