New Hampshire — Food and Restaurants
Although it’s far from an international dining hot spot, New Hampshire has a long tradition of eating locally and eating well. You can expect to find rustic American cuisine in most of the state’s restaurants and great seafood along the coast, with more ethnic options in the biggest cities like Manchester, Portsmouth, and Concord. Entertainment in New Hampshire follows the same pattern. Most of the bars are laid back local places, and nightclubs are nearly impossible to find. This is state where the focus is on kicking back with a craft beer after a hearty meal. But overall your budget will stretch far in the bars and restaurants.
Bars and Pubbing in New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s capital Concord isn’t any more exciting than the state’s other towns. In general, if there is any kind of tourism or university scene there will be a decent selection of nightlife. Portsmouth is one of the top tourist spots, with some really charming New England-style taverns in its historic downtown such as the Spring Hill Tavern (15 Bow Street, Portsmouth) and Coat of Arms (174 Fleet Street, Portsmouth). Live music is common in most New Hampshire pubs, which typically make last call around 12:45 a.m. and close at 1:00 a.m.
Manchester is another town with a decent nightlife scene, especially around downtown’s Elm Street neighborhood. Strange Brew Tavern (88 Market Street, Manchester) is good for music while Billy’s Sports Bar (34 Tarrytown Road, Manchester) is the quintessential pub to watch sports and drink. Often the drinking and the dining go together in New Hampshire towns like North Conway, whose Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company (3378 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway) is one of the best spots to drink and eat.
Dining and Cuisine in New Hampshire
Dining in New Hampshire is also a very casual affair, defined by friendly diners and cozy cafés where the food is all-American and usually quite cheap. Hanover’s reigning spot for all-day breakfasts and yummy lunches since the 1940s is Lou’s (30 S. Main Street, Hanover). There is also plenty of fine dining in the state, usually found at historic inns like the Daniel Webster Room (2 S. Main Street, Hanover) where colonial New England creates the ambiance and menu.
In Portsmouth there are several top-end seafood restaurants, including Pesce Blue (103 Congress Street, Portsmouth) and Black Trumpet Bistro (29 Ceres Street, Portsmouth). This charming coastal city has one of New England’s most exciting café scenes as well as a thriving coffee culture. Just cruise the historic downtown where a dozen cool coffee houses like Breaking New Ground (14 Market Square, Portsmouth) await. As in most parts of the world, look for where the locals are packed in and you can’t go wrong.