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Highland Stillhouse Pub
Taps: 20 / Bottles: 75
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
201 South 2nd Street
phone: (503) 723-6789
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Visited twice over the past week, with fairly consistent notes. Located at most a couple miles down the road from my West Linn condo.
Highland Stillhouse is styalized as a Scottish pub, and is about as authentic an example as any pub I've come across. The downstairs front pub is all done up in old dark wood, coupled with all kinds of posters and pictures. There's a small bar area (holding probably 5 or 6 patrons) and probably 10 or 12 small tables in the modest size dining areas. It's just a lovely dark, cool place to hang out and have a pint or three (imperial pints, of course) over some fish and chips, bangers and mash, or scotch eggs. There are also a couple of "teles" strewn around, with footie (soccer) on to whatever game is available. Upstairs there's yet another small pub area, with another small bar and more tables and chairs. HS pub has a good size back patio area, which is just a fabulous place to sit out, enjoying the incredible summer weather in Portland. Aside from the aforementioned decorations, the bar also has a number of books for perusal and educational purposes (Michael Jackson's complete book on single malt scotch, among other things).
As for the tap list, I'm not sure I've seen this kind of attention to detail and variety too many other places. The pub had several beers on cask (this day the HUB IPA and Laganitas censored), a firkin of stumptown tart, 4 beers on nitro (speckled hen, kilkenny, etc.), and then some 13 other beers on draft. Quality was most impressive, and on this particular day included tokyo on tap. HS also has around 40 or 50 bottles of imports and craft beer, but I really didn't pay the menu a great deal of attention, as the draft selection was THAT good (though sadly they were out of the molten lava today).
As for food, I got the crab artichoke dip appetizer, which was hot and tasty, and came with a fair amount of dungeness crab on top. Otherwise, the menu was quite intriguing, with what appeared to be an attempt at a pretty authentic scottish menu (the pub advertises a full scottish breakfast menu from 11:00 to 2:00 on Sundays, though I'm not entirely sure what that consists of).
Prices were quite reasonable I thought, with almost everything selling for $5 an imperial pint (except the tokyo, which was going for $5 a 6 ounce pour).
Service. This was really the only area where I thought the pub did less then a stellar job. While the wait staff was pleasant, they seemed to be in too big a hurry to spend much time with customers in the upstairs area, even though I was told the place was fairly dead for a Sunday afternoon. One of the young waitresses had apparently been to a concert with her boyfriend the previous evening, and by her own admission was still pretty tired and worn out (OK. She was hung over.... at around 1:30 in the afternoon). Not that I required a whole lot of attention or babysitting, but the service was a bit slow, distracted and just sort of uncaring.
No matter. This is clearly an excellent place (they have an incredible selection of single malt scotch in case that interests anyone), with interesting food and an excellent beer selection. I'll certainly be back.
Edit from 3/11. After attending a BA event here the other day, I've upped the service score by a point and a half. Aside from hosting our group completely free of charge, the bartender who waited on us was unfailingly pleasant and efficient, as well as quite knowledgeable. Service was generally friendly and quick, despite the huge crowd on a Saturday afternoon (which caught the staff completely by surprise - the owner apparently forgot to tell them about our event). Pretty sure a very good time was had by all...
07-25-2010 22:09:46 |
More by johnmichaelsen
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Visited 6 March, 2010, for the first time & several more times since...
I've been meaning to check out the Stillhouse for a couple years; finally made it there today with my wife and friend who lives in the area. It's easy enough to find, just upstream (west) of downtown Oregon City, with a commanding view over the Willamette Falls and the surrounding industry - kinda pretty in a 'man-distorts-nature' sort of way...
It's a pub snugly tucked inside a corner-hugging trapezoidal building, two stories of twists and turns, perfect nooks for fireplaces, dartboards and cozy lounging/imbibing. Each floor has its own small bar; the lower one is flooded with multi-colored natural light (on a gloriously mild March afternoon), and is shaped as a truncated 'u' shape, a surround of benches and stools; the upper is a cloister of dark rooms and hosts the one TV (quietly tuned to the football match) and leads to a small (yet somehow sprawling) outdoor patio. We spent half our time soaking in the sunshine outdoors, half at a tall 4-seater in the downstairs taproom. It's all very charming, filled with vintage adverts and photos that give a compelling (and convincing) glimpse of the ideal 'Scottish Pub'. Inviting to a fault, the wife and I vowed that we would be here ALL THE TIME if not for the 20 mile stretch between Oregon City and home...
First and foremost, this is a whisk(e)y lover's paradise; a huge selection ranging from the simplest of bourbons and mass-produced imports to outrageously rare 20 and 30+ year-old single malts. All regions represented, with a wonderful 7-page guide with descriptions of each region's traits and pronunciation keys for some of those more intimidating names. The beer list was limited in comparison but certainly represented the UK and Ireland wonderfully, both in bottles and on draught. Two cask engines (surprisingly, both were US-made beers and strong - Hairy Eyeball and Tricerahops - but often are imported favorites/rarities from what we were told). Had a perfectly poured imperial pint of Belhaven Twisted Thistle to start and subsequent pints of Fuller's London Pride. The Speckled Hen and Wee Heavy S & C had were both excellent.
Service was attentive, recommendations were straightforward and honest. Only one woman seemed a little less than warm, announcing brusquely that an ordered dram of Connemara Cask Strength was out from across the room...no worries though. Food was quite tasty: crisp and non-greasy fish and moist potato wedges served with a pile of coleslaw (not usually a favorite) that disappeared easily. Good scotch egg, too - looking forward to exploring this menu much more on future visits.
Speaking of...this is a place we'll plan to return to again and again. Sacrilege perhaps, but I may like Highland Stillhouse better than the venerable Horse Brass...and that's saying something.
03-07-2010 02:55:12 |
More by msubulldog25
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
First, I'm a local and live about a mile from the place. I'm there at least once a week. So I might be a little biased. But any time I bring an out-of-town guest there, the next time they're back in town, they ask to come back. I know people that drive cross town just to come to the HSH. It's the pub to beat on the east side of town.
Atmosphere - the upstairs is our favorite. It was once a living quarters and there are remnants of rooms that have become little nooks to sit in. It is very cozy and not just one big, loud area. Warm colors, nice decorations on the walls, comfy chairs, etc. Downstairs is nice as well with wood tables, benches and chairs. Good bar as well. Only complaint - smoking on the deck. Huge bummer, as the deck would be incredible in the summer if it was non-smoking.
Quality - excellent. I've had one sub-par meal once in likely 100+ visits. Beer is fresh, lines are kept clean, restaurant is kept up, etc. Only complaint could be that the taster glasses can smell of soap.
Service - it used to be a little spotty, but the owner (Mick) has really focused on bringing in good people that know their stuff in the past couple months.
Selection - the real selection here is the single malt list, now numbering almost 200. Mick claims the best list in the PNW. For beer, 16 regular taps and 2 beer engines. I forget how many bottles, but 50 or so. And the quality of the beer is excellent. Mick pays attention to his patrons, works closely with local brewers, and has good relations with his distributors. He was one of only a few in Oregon to have PtY last year on tap (for a couple hours). He also has regular beer events with brewers bringing in special beers. He's also aging beer across the street so he can do his own events.
Food is excellent. Hand cut and breaded fish n chips, handmade hamburgers, scottish pasties (chicken curry is the best), bronze grist salmon (they ship in the grist from Scotland), and more. Oh, the fries (chips) are also superb. And don't leave without trying the homemade bread pudding.
Value - my wife and I can get an excellent meal, split dessert, and have a couple pints for around $50. Plates run around $10. Pints are $5 (usually). For what you're getting, I consider it a great value.
01-09-2010 00:05:38 |
More by oregonskibum
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I really enjoyed this place. I could probably enjoy this place from just sitting there and taking it all in. I love dark wood and despise TVs in bars. This place fit the bill. The surroundings all seemed lush and rich and out of a woodcut page. Really nice. It's good to step into a place like this, get good beer, good food, good service, and forget about the cars honking and fluorescent lighting of the outside world.
The beer selection was awesome, great drafts, and (as far as I can tell) a pretty authentic Scottish menu. Everything I've tried from the menu has been pretty wholesome, filling, and delicious.
There's not much I can complain about. It's a pretty straightforward pub that won't let you down.
04-17-2008 17:18:37 |
More by blackjack000
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I've been here several times and will go back whenever I am in the area... not as often as I would like since I live in Ohio, but I WILL be back. The owner actually bought the interior of a Scottish pub and installed it here. They have the largest selection of brew on tap in all of Portland. This according to the owner and I believe it ... I've never seen such a large selection anywhere. I went during a slow time of day and he gave me a top to botom tour of the place. I also received a tour off all their brew on tap, including discussion of the merits of each. I settled on Belhaven Scottish Ale, my first time ever to sample it ... excellent! The lunch special (dinner too I think), was lamb shank .... mmm, mmmm, good! Stop in and check this place out if you have an opportunity.
02-17-2008 02:58:48 |
More by Audiohio
Highland Stillhouse Pub in Oregon City, OR