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Horse Brass Pub
Taps: 74 / Bottles: 26
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4534 SE Belmont St
phone: (503) 232-2202
Weekdays: 11:00am -2:30am
Weekends: 9:00am - 2:30am
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Reviews by johnmichaelsen:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
7/08 Update. One of the few problems I have had at the Horsebrass involved the service (or should I say lack of service) I typically received from one certain gentleman. As near as I can tell, that individual has now semi-retired, or at least no longer works very often at the Brass. Hence, it's high time I upgraded my service score, as over the past year I have consistently received outstanding, attentive service. Might need to update my atmosphere score as well when Portland goes smokefree in 2009.
Happily, nothing else about this outstanding beer bar has changed one wit, and hence I make it a point to stop by the pub whenever I happen to be in town (frequently, though no where near often enough). Last time I visited, there was a wedding group in attendance, who apparently had made some arrangement with the bar to pour a keg of beer called "wedding cake," solely for the wedding guests (free at the bar for them). I thought that a great idea, something I don't believe I have ever seen elsewhere. As I left the bar a bit later, a couple of young ladies from the group were having a lightsaber duel in the middle of the street.. It was all I could do to keep the grin off my face and not stare.
This place truly is the crown jewel in the nearly endless array of outstanding Portland beer bars. (end of update)
After reading over the reviews about this place, I find myself in agreement with both the pros and cons. I've been coming here for many years myself, even more often now that I live only a few miles away. The criticisms are all warranted I'm afraid. The food here is no better then average for the most part (though the fish and chips always look pretty good), and service uneven to say the least. I've walked out on a couple of occasions after sitting at the bar for what seemed an interminable period of time waiting for service.
All that being said, I'm not sure I agree with Mashmstr2's assertion that the HB's time has come and gone. Most nights I've visited the place it's been absolutely packed. The beer selection remains one of the best in town; where else can you find the awesome Blue Dot Double IPA from Hair of the Dog on tap as a regular? So I come here at least once a week for one reason and one reason only. The HB continues to offer local beers that I seldom, if ever, see any place else. As long as they continue to do that, and Don Younger (may he live forever) seems to be committed to doing just that, I'll continue to stop by whenever I have the chance.
01-20-2006 00:11:44 |
More by johnmichaelsen
More User Reviews:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Horse Brass is everything I look for in a pub. Warm, worn, wooden, dimly lit atmosphere with crowds of people who call it home. The servers here are knowledgeable and seem to always recommend a great beer for me. Tons of new beers on tap, changed out frequently with many new guest beers both local and from afar. I come here regularly to meet with a group to talk about all things you're not supposed to talk about in bars (religion, politics, etc.) and always leave feel elevated. A great place.
Food is english pub food. Nothing to write home about, but it always feels good.
Dart boards in the wings and plenty of space at long wooden tables spread all around.
If you're in Portland, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite places in the city for a good pint.
03-28-2013 05:51:39 |
More by JBetz
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$
I didn't like the atmosphere as much as I thought I might. But, it wasn't bad.
The quality of the beers I had from there were good, and the food was decent.
Service was not great. The waitress was in a bad mood, brought us three different beer lists, and then got mad at us when we didn't know which beers were on or tapped out. She did bring us stuff pretty quickly, but was not a pleasant person.
They had a pretty decent selection of stuff when I was there.
Food was decent, as previously mentioned.
Prices seemed reasonable.
I know it is kind of an iconic place in Portland for beer, but it is far from my favorite out of all the places Portland has to offer. It was worth going to, and I'd probably go again if I was in the area. But, I wouldn't go out of my way to go again. Admittedly, this is mostly due to the service we received.
01-09-2013 23:39:20 |
More by yuriruley
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is by far my favorite place to enjoy a pint in portland. This bar feels comfortable. Classic old school far furniture and wood accents give it a welcoming feeling. I like to play a little game with myself where I try to spot Winston Curchill from wherever I am sitting in the bar. There aren't any TVs, so this isn't a place to watch sports. The only entertainment is the four dartboards, labled 1,2,4 and 5. The staff is nice, and they generally know their beer. My guess is that if any of them aren't beer nerds, they do their homework on the beers they have on tap. Beer selection is always great, I have never walked in and been able to easily pick which beer I want, there is always a lot of great options. The food at the brass is decent, it's generic pub food. I can say I've never been dissapointed, but I always get the same burger, so saying that doesn't hold much weight. The fries are always good too, if you are going to be around for a while drinking, get yourself some French fries, they are cheap and delicious and prevent you from drinking on an empty stomach.
01-03-2012 07:09:18 |
More by gkunkle
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $
I had 1 day to spend in Portland so this was at the top of my list.
This place has the decor and atmosphere that a lot of pubs in the US try to achieve and fail. This is pretty authentic.
It was early on a weekday when I stopped by. Some people drinking coffee, most drinking beer. Might have been a little busier then they expect on a cold Tuesday morning, so the service was a little slow, but I never had an empty glass.
Selection and prices were right where I would expect from a world class pub. My only complaint is that there were more beers on the tap list than my sobriety could afford.
Wife and I split the scotch egg, sausage roll, and the cheese plate. Nothing spectacular, but definitely a step up from greasy pub food. The sweet/spicy mustard was really good. Only complaint about the entire visit is that there was some odd smell next to our table.
12-16-2011 04:17:53 |
More by Hotlanta
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2 | $$
Come for the beer, not the barely acceptable pub fare food.
The atmosphere is nice but often you get overwhelmed with the fried fish and vinegar smell. Sometimes there is a lovely odor from the bar/bathroom area, so I recommend sitting farther back or around the side of the bar. But the place is always hopping and the buzz is intoxicating on its own.
The beer selection is hands down among the best in Portland. They rotate taps constantly and also have listed what brews are coming to tap.
Only Henry's Tavern has a better tap list, but Henry's is a little 'frat-tastic' and Horse Brass is a lot more the local slice of Portland. A place I regularly visit for the great beer, good service, and insanely knowledgeable bartenders.
Of note: On one visit the bartender started talking hops to me. I expressed a desire to really understand some of the differences between hops and the bartender (since it wasn't too busy) took some time to pour my roommate and I several small tastes and guide us through a mini tasting to grasp the nuances of a few single hop beers. It's little things like this that keep me coming back to an establishment.
08-28-2011 22:02:22 |
More by cbarrett4
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I visited my folks in Portland for the summer and was lucky enough to kick it at the Horse Brass Pub. Each visit was mid-day, nothing much going on except for good friends visiting over good beer. The "sir" at the bar is what I wish all bartenders are - old men who have seen it all with a love of good people and good beer. After putting down a Pliny the Elder and an Old Rasputin we ordered some killer fish n chips and enjoyed our full bellies for a bit. I wish I had an authentic pub in my town in Texas but when I head back to the Pacific NW I will defiantly be back at the Horse Brass.
08-18-2011 21:11:20 |
More by ROBPIII
United Kingdom (England)
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
If i lived in Portland i think i'd adapt the Horse Brass as my local and i can't recommend the place higher than that. Ok it's an English style pub and i'm English but i rated the place for it's atmosphere, the friendliness of the staff and for it;s selectiion of beers. we visited on a lunchtime so the bar wasn't too busy with people coming in for lunch and beers. The staff were friendly and told us the history of the pub and how many of the fittings had come from the Princess of Wales pub in south London and also told us about the now sadly deceased owner Don Younger. We felt immediately at home here. there are so many pubs and brewpubs in Portland but if i was lucky enough to live in the city i think i'd make the Horse Brass HQ!
08-03-2011 21:53:59 |
More by Clembo1957
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Another beer related stop on my trip to Portland. Was very excited to come here.
Atmosphere: This was a cool place. I'm not sure what a "classic English pub" actually looks like, but this fits pretty well into my imagination.
Quality: The beer and food tasted fresh. Good quality.
Service: The service was decent. Had a couple fairly long waits but nothing too bad. The waiter was an interesting personality, but not a turn-off I suppose.
Selection: For IPA selection, this is definitely the place to come. Tons of very high quality IPAs. However, it was a little too IPA heavy for me, I wish that they had some darker/maltier/just less hoppy beers to offer.
Food: The food was pretty damn good. I had the beef and mushroom pie, and the girlfriend had the fish and chips. The fish and chips especially were incredible. Great English pub fare.
Overall, I liked the place a lot and would definitely go again. Not my favorite beer related place that I went to in Portland but still very good.
07-05-2011 03:09:36 |
More by zhanson88
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
Ahh the 'Brass. A Portland institution. It has to be on the list for anyone coming to Portland for a beer bar tour. The Horse Brass is really Portland's original craft beer bar. Don Younger set out to offer a true craft brewing lineup for his guests, and the tradition continues.
One of my favorite things about the Horse Brass is the great selection of beers on Cask. At any given moment there are usually three to four beers on cask. So smooth and delicious.
Another favorite is the fish and chips. Some of the best in the city, and at lunch you can get them for $7. Great deal.
They usually have at least one offering from Russian River which is nice. On a recent trip the Elder had just kicked but was replaced with Supplication. Nice.
The atmosphere is classic old pub, including the musty smell. I don't mind the dark lighting and everything but it would be nice if they could take care of the musty smell.
Service is always top notch. Quite friendly and knowledgeable, always willing to point out a hidden gem on the menu.
If you are visiting Portland, I highly recommend you stop by for a pint.
05-12-2011 20:06:33 |
More by cavemanlawyer
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Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR