Horse Brass Pub
Taps: 74 / Bottles: 26
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 100 | Reviews: 96 | Show All Ratings:
2.33/5 rDev -45.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2 | $$
The Horse Brass is legendary in Portland, but I think its time has come and gone. With new pubs increasing the BAR of pubs, food, beer and service quality; Horse Brass is being left in the dust
On my last visit, I found the place a 1/8 full with dirty tables full of left over plates and glasses. Our server was rude and dismissive. We were told she was busy and we needed to hurry with our order. There was no one there! After spilling beer on the table, the floor and a friends coat with no apology, I really have very little good to say about service.
The beer menus where out dated and most items on the beer menu where not available.
The food has been hit and miss for some time. This visit solidified the downhill slide. The fish and chips were awful. The fish cold inside barely cooked. The fries were the end chips and scrapes of other batches. It appeared little effort was put into preparation or concern for quality.
While I have enjoyed the Horse Brass many times in the past with consistent quality in food, service and selection; I feel this establishment is missing their original mark.
11-20-2005 23:04:20 | More by mashmstr2
2.98/5 rDev -30.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Dank and dark British pubs I dig, but solid clouds of tobacco smoke I loathe. Despite being a generally cool place, the smoking just about did it in for me. The originally white walls were stained brown with tar. After leaving this place I just about had to burn my clothes for the tobacco stench.
Service (table) was wretched. Our waitress was slow, unpleasant, and non-beer knowledgeable.
The selection was generally quite good, with all sorts of rarities available. However, I dound myself somewhat disappointed by the purely British/PNW ale emphasis - almost nothing in the way of Belgians and lagers.
The quality with regards to beer was a bit disappointing - for a beer bar, I was surprised to recieve mediocre pours - too cold and with almost no head.
The food was downright grubbin' pub fare though. Best scotch egg I've ever had (only scotch egg I've ever had).
Overall, worth a visit, but make sure you have a change of clothes for afterwards...
03-27-2005 03:02:38 | More by Crotor
3.3/5 rDev -23.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | $$
The place potentially has a lot going for it, but it's lacking a certain something. Okay, we were there in late afternoon, and what it was lacking were customers. The physical atmosphere is classic, gnarly English pub, and the selection was pretty good overall. The bartender seemed like he might have been knowledgable, but he was more interested in talking about what was selling than what was good, and his service was indifferent at best. I probably owe this place another shot when there are people present, but it just didn't seem to have that inviting quality (which most great beer bars have even when they're empty). If you're in this neighborhood, visit Belmont Station first, then stop here only if you have extra time.
07-02-2007 16:40:38 | More by Flyer
3.53/5 rDev -17.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2 | $$
Well, this review will have a ying/yang quality to it. On balance I am not sure where I stand on the Horse Brass. The beer selection and atmosphere were awesome. Among the elite. However the food and service were just terrible. I simply can't explain how bad our server was. There is a restaurant in Boston where the servers are intentionally supposed to be grouchy and mean to customers. I almost got the sense that this was the case at Horse Brass as well. I can assure you I went with one other person and we just came from a business meeting. So we were not acting out of line or intoxicated at all. The server had a bad attitude, would barely engage us or answer any questions.
The guest tap list and regular tap offerings were awesome. The beer was/is clearly top notch. We had a chicken pot pie and also a grilled chicken sandwich. The sandwich was passable the pot pie was terrible.
This place does look like a genuine British Pub and as mentioned above the atmosphere was fantastic.
My strong suggestion is to sit at the bar and eat either before or after you visit the Horse Brass. This is what I'll do on my next visit to Portland.
11-11-2009 15:39:48 | More by Reagan1984
3.68/5 rDev -14.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$
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
3.68/5 rDev -14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I have mixed feelings about this place. When I first moved to PDX this was one of my favorite sports, but over time it has fallen a bit out of favor, mostly because of the terrible service. There has only been one time in countless trips that the service has been up to standard for everywhere else in town.
The selection is usually pretty solid but since they are pretty web phobic I never really know what I'm going to get into when I arrive. This can be pretty frustrating and it's surprising that in 2010 they aren't more communicative.
Otherwise, the fish and chips are to die for, and the history of the place is amazing.
03-14-2010 05:46:41 | More by squaremile
3.73/5 rDev -13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
I could probably sum up The Horse Brass in two words - Authentic and Impressive. And smokey, but I'll get to that last...
The essence of The Horse Brass is an Olde English Pub, and upon entering the doors it's as if you've been instantly transported "across the Pond". Though the accents aren't as plentiful as they may be if you we're in England, there's plenty here to help create the illusion that, for the moment, you're not in Portland anymore - lots of dark wood, the obligatory dart area, spacious bar area, a generous selection of scotch, and loads of smoke.
The authenticity of this English Oasis is also reflected in the menu options. Alas, this may not be the greatest thing as British cuisine is hardly known for it's remarkable complexity, but authentic nonetheless. However, that's not the reason for my average score on the food - I feel that the food menu is somewhat limiting, and in the 6+ times I've been to The Horse Brass, I've never had any food that I thought was "wow" in any way, shape, or form. Just...well...average...
As to the Impressiveness of The Horse Brass, one need not look further than the selection of beers they offer. In addition to their "regular" taps, their are always a bountiful array of guest beers to choose from. Upon my most recent visit I had the good fortune of trying some Racer X - need I say anymore?!
Unfortunately, there's another aspect of Impressive and Athentic about The Horse Brass that isn't too positive, and that's the amount of smoke that is ever-present. It's truly impressive they can get THAT MUCH smoke into one bar! On some nights it can be tolerated, but there have been two occasions where the party I was with had to leave for less polluted climes. As good as the beer is, and as warm and fun as the atmosphere is, it's almost moot if all you can smell and taste is smoke. Ugh.
However, despite the occasional assault on one's respiratory system, all in all The Horse Brass is a must visit when in Portland. It truly is one of the select few bars in Portland that pursue the over-the-top beers that I love, and as such will be back again and again.
EDIT: My serivce score was recently changed to reflect a miserable experience - the server brought me the wrong beer (I even pointed to it on the menu!) and REFUSED to bring me the right one! She said she could "add it to the bill" but would replace the beer I HADN'T EVEN SIPPED!
04-08-2004 10:21:22 | More by weefisheads
3.78/5 rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
This pub is all over the place. My girlfriend, her brother, and his GF all went on a Sunday afternoon. A very cool entrance, sort of like in the side of an old carriage house, leads you to what feels like a basement pub but is actually ground level. This place is actually quite large, with table areas on the left and right, a big bar sort of in front, and the rooms on either side go far back into the building and connect in the back by the bathrooms. The place is full of all kinds of nooks and crannies, so there is probably a comfy place for everyone here. Quite dark and dingy and wooden, so you have to like your bar to have... ummm.. "character." There is a great selection of beers on draft, including several cask ales, mostly local and all quite fresh and delicious. It's obvious they keep their beer menu updated fairly frequently, although I was disappointed that the Walking Man Homo Erectus, while listed, was not available. Beers are available by schooner and pint, for dirt-cheap prices. The food is nothing to speak of -- very English-slanted menu, with things like Ploughman's lunch, fish and chips, shepherd's pie, etc. I though the food was pretty darn lackluster for the price, but that's not why you come here -- it's mostly to absorb the beer. Our service was spotty -- there weren't that manny people there, but the waitress was running around like her head was on fire, and even then it was tough to find her.
A great historic-feeling pub in a cool area of Portland -- every BA going through should at least stop by.
10-31-2005 17:11:09 | More by bultrey
3.8/5 rDev -11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
I stopped in for the last few hours of my trip and before I was to catch my plane back to SWFL. I had been saving this spot for the last because I had heard it was legendary and unfortunately the hype didn't live up. The bar it set up well wtih lots of space to both sides and in the front area. The bar probably accommidates about 20 people and the rest of the areas can handle another 150 people or more. The offerings were a lot of locals and NW selections, which I find great, but very heavy on the IPAs. Not really compling because I love IPAs, but after that the selections seemed limited. I had a Hop Rod Rye that was really fresh and then ate some fish and chips. Food was so big I couldn't finish all of it. It was a Wednesday afternoon so it was slow, probably better on an evening.
12-12-2006 18:20:03 | More by phishgator
3.85/5 rDev -10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Finally made it to the famous Horse Brass Pub! So you walk in through some Iron Gates and through an old wooden door into what I would imagine it would be like to walk into a true English pub...noisy, busy, a bit dark and very rustic. The bar has probably thirty taps along with some basic liquor available for shots but no mixed drinks or anything. The decor is very old and rustic and English, lots of English flags on the ceilings. A dart board in the corner with a chalkboard to keep score on. The furniture is all wooden and worn, very rustic. The quality of the taplist is good, I would say it was great but honestly the variety wasn't all that impressive. Lots of IPA's (typical of the NW) and a few seasonals and a couple of standouts (Supplication) but I was surprised to realize I had tasted the majority of what they had on tap. Our waitress was prompt with our order but after our beer and food came she was like a ghost, tough to track down for a second beer and when we needed the check. The food was pretty cool in that it was true, traditional English pub food. I had the fish and chips of course and they were delicious! Nothing mind blowing but everything you'd want/expect from a pub. The prices were very reasonable...all in all it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back!
03-15-2010 07:31:10 | More by RedBrewer83
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Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR
95 out of 100 based on 100 user ratings.