People think it’s strange when I invite them to a grocery store to grab a beer, but guys I’m telling you, the best bar in Nashua to get a beer right now is the J. Bartlett Pub in Whole Foods.
Where: J. Bartlett’s Public House at Whole Foods, 255 Amherst St, Nashua, NH 03063 (open 11am – 10pm)
Usually when I go out it’s because of the atmosphere of the bar, or an event happening there. It’s probably somewhere downtown where I can stop at a few different bars. But at J. Bartlett, I go to have a drink there because of the drinks. I’m not a beer snob and the only thing I can tell you about any of the beers is which ones I love, but I’ve been having so much fun trying all of the local brews on tap. My favorite thing is to order a flight of 4 for $8, and because I know so little, I just start by picking the ones brewed closest to me in Nashua (a hard cider from Incredibrew) and expand geographically from there. Unscientific I know, but it’s fun (and easy for me to remember places instead of names of breweries…)
If you went to the Gate City Brewfest Whole Foods sponsored in August then you’ll notice many of the names here, like Kelsen’s Brewery in Derry (which has an anniversary wheat ale on tap to celebrate Whole Food’s 1 year anniversary), Able Ebenezer from Merrimack and Great Rhythm in Portsmouth. Look for the red bottle symbol denoting which beers on tap you can also find for sale in the store. They also frequently have tastings with local breweries, so check their Facebook page if you’re interested in discovering and learning more about the NH craft beer scene.
As I learned the hard way, you can’t bring food into the bar, so if you’re hitting up the salad bar or pizza/sandwich counter at Whole Foods then you’ll have to eat that at the tables outside. However, J. Bartlett has a great bar menu – pizza, sandwiches, wings, chips etc. – so you won’t go hungry in here. They also offer free, fresh popcorn (it’s so, so good). Just ask the bartender for the popcorn next time you’re there.
When Whole Foods opened everyone I talked to told me a joke their parents told them about Whole Foods, which I already knew because my own Dad told me ten times. It’s the Dad of all Dad jokes that Whole Foods got their name because you have to bring your “whole paycheck.” (Are you laughing? Has anyone ever laughed at this joke?!) So it might surprise you that, in addition to the great beer prices, J. Bartlett offers specials most days of the week. Free wine and cheese tasting is every Wednesday, and happy hour is from 4-7 on Mondays and Tuesdays. (I also try to make sure to include any events on my calendar here on the site!) And don’t miss the stand at the back with board games, like connect four, two cribbage boards, scrabble and brewopoly. It’s not your typical bar scene, but between flights of beers, popcorn and board games, I can spend hours here. (My enthusiasm for board games frightens most people.)
I ordered a boring old Bud Light at another bar the other day, and I suddenly missed J. Bartlett and it’s beers. I wanted to make sure you don’t miss this bar, because I know not everyone shops at Whole Foods, so it’s easy to forget it’s there. But trust me, it’s worth the visit to discover some great local brews and a fun night playing some games.