Manchester, NH for 30 somethings
My old college roommate is coming into town...just overnight. He gets in around 7pm. Looking for someplace fun to take him in Manchester for a later dinner and drinks. Someplace with entertainment would be great too.
There will probably be 3 of us...my hubby, my old roomie, and myself. None of us are big drinkers. We also don't want someplace that's really loud.
You kidding? The only time I've been there, the place was packed shoulder to shoulder with 20 somethings, and the music was so loud you couldn't even hear people if they leaned across the table and yelled. Also the food was bog standard. If you want to drink and rub elbows with kids, then sure. But a 30 something who doesn't want to drink, and wants to chat? No way.
Murphy's Taproom on Elm across from the Verizon is a nice new bar which isn't too loud or too packed, which serves some good food.
Wild Rover is a bit run down, but not too busy and clean and quiet enough, and the fish I had last time was good. I don't know when you can count on them to have bands though. They had one the last time I went.
The Shaskeen has awful food, but they do have music sometimes, and it's quieter.
There's a place across from Cotton on Canal St, under the Bridge Street Bridge. I think that's Milly's Tavern? I went in there once, I don't know how busy it gets, or if the food is any good, it's not a new or super clean kinda bar, but I did see some subs they made on the 4th, and they looked pretty good, and I strongly suspect they have bands, and cater to a college crowd.
Black Brimmer's fish is decent too. I always seem to get fish at these places and nothing else! But they bands there a lot, and lots of room so it's not super crowded. I think the crowd is older 20's to mid 30's.
Someone below mentioned Unwined. I've been suggested that place myself by a lady at CR Sparks, but haven't been. Might be a good choice, but it is a wine and jazz bar rather than the regular sort.
No I wasn't kidding. I've been to Strange Brew numerous times. They have been busy but I am always able to find a seat. They have the best beer selection in the city and I've never heard a bad band play there. They also have great happy hour deals. I should have noticed that the original poster said they weren't big drinkers and maybe not recommended a beer bar such as this but I like it. I was also thinking rock or blues when they mentioned music. That being said I can't think of any place where the music wouldn't be some what loud, and the loudness I've heard at SB varies from band to band.
I saw some one else mention that there seem to be fights at Strange Brew and also Millys. I have never seen this at either place and I go quite often (I like good beer). Maybe I'm there at the wrong time. I used to bartend myself and found those types of things, when they do happen, usually happen towards closing times after the few losers in the group have liquid courage.
I'm sorry you didn't like the place yourself but there isn't a better beer bar in Manchester.
Oh I almost forgot JW Hill's on Elm is a sports bar / restaraunt with a lot of tables. Never too busy except New Year's and Halloween. It's nice. Food ain't great though. It's kinda hard to find a bar that has really good food.
I would never recommend Milly's Tavern, Brimmer, Wally and Bernies or Strange Brew, all are full of young experienced drinkers, lots of drama and fistfights are becoming the norm in those places lately.
I would say try Murphy's Tap room or J.W. Hills are the safest bets.