Bar Review: Thirsty Moose Tap House (Portsmouth, NH)

Bar Review of Thirsty Moose Tap House in Portsmouth, NH.

I think this is going to be a pretty easy review to write. If you can picture a typical neighborhood tavern, with brick walls, wood accents, a full pub food menu and a decent beer list, then you’re picturing the Thirsty Moose Tap House, with three notable exceptions.


1.) The Beer Selection. In this day and age it’s fairly common for a good pub/tavern to offer 6-12 craft beers on draught and sometimes as many as 20-25 if you’re really lucky. I know I wouldn’t have any complaints if I went into a cozy downtown bar and they had 20 craft tap handles starting me in the face. I’m sure downtown Portsmouth has several bars that could offer you such a selection, but Thirsty Moose will offer you more,… much more. They will offer you 100+ craft beers on draught (by far the most in Portsmouth), so you always know they’ll have something you’ll enjoy. There’s a certain peace in knowing you won’t be disappointed before you even get there.


2.) Much like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, it is much bigger on the inside than the outside. Much like many of the historic New England towns, Portsmouth, NH has a very quaint downtown filled with clothing boutiques, coffee shops, candy stores, bars & restaurants, etc. and most of them have a store front that is no longer than an old Buick. Thirsty Moose is no exception, and if you’ve been walking around all day popping into various emporiums that feel like oversized closets, you’ll be quite shocked when you finally venture into Thirsty Moose for a cold pint. The narrow entryway opens up to reveal a long and cavernous space with large rooms, high ceilings, and 2 full bars. There is plenty of seating, and when downtown Portsmouth is bustling (in season) you’ll need it. I certainly wouldn’t mind being a “companion” on any journey into this bar.


3.) They are open every Sunday morning for Brunch. There are few things better than sleeping in on a chilly autumn Sunday morning and then heading out for brunch at a restaurant that has 100+ draught beers, and finishing it off with an afternoon full of football. Thirsty Moose makes that possible with their special brunch menu, and if you decide to stick around into the afternoon you can watch the games there also. Would I like a flight of breakfast stouts and rauchbeers to go with my waffles? Yes,…yes I would. Maybe a tropical IPA or tangy gose to wash down the eggs and bacon. Why not? The beer brunch world is your oyster.

So there you have it. In a town full of great beer spots, Thirsty moose offers you the best selection, Sunday brunch and some quirky dimensional transcendentalism. Which only leaves the obvious question: How could an animal of any type be thirsty in a bar filled with this much beer? My guess is that this particular moose subscribes to the philosophy of George Thorogood and his famous drinking paradox, which dictates that consuming copious amounts of alcohol actual creates a feeling of thirst, rather than quenches it.