“Eat Better. Drink Better. Have More Fun.” That’s been the motto and the philosophy of the Barley House Restaurant and Tavern since it opened in Concord some 16 years ago. It’s been a winning formula; the convivial Concord restaurant consistently gets rave reviews and ratings. And now, with a second location in North Hampton, owner Brian Shea is bringing that same laid-back atmosphere and modern twist on comfort food to the Seacoast. “Think of us as a favorite old leather jacket,” Shea says. “Come in, let your shoulders down, and relax.”
The ﬁrst thing we do at Sonny’s is ask Mark Ryan, the tavern’s talented bartender and co-owner, to bring us a cocktail. We leave it in his hands. Perhaps it’ll be the Lemon Meringue, a frothy, light dessert concoction made with gin, egg white, vanilla liqueur, and lemon. We don’t even like gin, but we love this. Or maybe the award-winning Mingus, with Buffalo Trace, Dolin Rouge, cherry liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and lavender bitters. Somehow it all works, and we may order another. Or, if it’s a chilly night, he could bring us a Bearded Lady. “It tastes like smoke and leather,” he says. “It’s a little Mad Men-esque, but a lot smoother."
Nestled in Portsmouth’s Portwalk Place, BRGR Bar has been serving locals and visitors creative twists on the average American burger since February, 2014. When you enter, your eyes will be drawn to the steel-topped bar that winds through the middle of the open space in a series of right-angle turns. Seats are at the bar and at tables that line the sides of the room. Owner Phelps (Dieck) Craig ran Brazo, a Latin American restaurant in Portsmouth, for seven years before opening BRGR; she sold Brazo a year after opening BRGR, and now plans to open a second location in Portland, Maine.
Everything about Cure Restaurant exudes a feeling of comfort. Set just outside the main hustle and bustle of Portsmouth, it’s still within easy walking distance of Prescott Park and the Music Hall.
Settled by the mouth of the Merrimack River—across from Newburyport and upstream from Salisbury, Amesbury is full of rich history. As you walk along the cobblestone pathways through the city’s center, eateries occupy converted mill buildings where chefs use fresh, local ingredients to create delicious dishes. Entrepreneurs know this tight-knit North Shore community is the up-and-coming place to be.
“The Toast” is a Portsmouth institution, a bold and boisterous hangout, known for its kitschy, funky decor, come-as-you-are, laid-back vibe, and unique, satisfying food. In 2013, when new owners Eric Goodwin and Scott Pulver took over, locals were wary. Would they change it too much, get rid of its wacky but beloved atmosphere?