The Publick House
Taps: 36 / Bottles: 100
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 249 | Display Reviews Only:
2.53/5 rDev -43.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | $$$$
Let me preface this review by saying, I will not be back to the Publick House.
This was the #1 beer bar I wanted to visit on our trip to Boston. I had been warned that their staff could be a bit pretentious but I've dealt with that before. We get off the T and quickly locate the bar. I was extremely excited to try out this place and wow, was I quickly let down. We walked inside and to the seating stand. The host asked if we wanted a table for two, and I asked it a seat at the bar would be OK. He snidely replied "which bar" and then pointed and grunted in the general area. We found a seat at the Monk's Cell and after about 2 minutes (the bartender was having a in depth conversation with the guy 3 seats down) came and asked us what we wanted. I asked for a beer list. Without saying anything he grabbed two lists put them down and went back to his conversation. 3 minutes or so later, he asked if we "Finally" knew what we wanted. I ordered a Ommegang Rouge, but my wife who isn't into beer that much said in a playful and joking manner "Its all a bit overwhelming, I don't really know, there's a lot here, I guess you don't have a Bud Light?" This is kind of her standard beer bar joke to get some recommendations form the staff, and everywhere else we went she got plenty of help. This ass literally looked at her and turned and walked away. A couple minutes later he returned with my beer and went back and talked to his friend without even asking my wife if she wanted a beer. The final straw was another gentlemen came in and sat next the the guy that the beertender was talking to. He asked him if he knew what he wanted, the guy said no and asked for a beer list. The bartender walked over to us, and took the list that was right in front of my wife, while she was looking at it, and gave it to the guy. That was the last straw. My beer was like 8 bucks. I threw down $9 to cover taxes and walked out. I've never been treated like that. Oh yeah, my wife never got a beer.
This place has a good selection of hard to find beer. Regardless of how much good beer they have, I'll never return for how we were treated.
07-21-2009 16:06:03 | More by hwwty4
2.64/5 rDev -40.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.5 | $$
So my friends and I stopped here after a bar-jumping experience last weekend in Boston. Let's set the stage... All three of us are experienced beercationers who travel and pursue beer to the extreme. 2 from Baltimore and me from Mpls, so you know we know good beer and service.
This place did not have good service. I noticed the Heady Topper sign out front, bolted into the wall. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was met with denial when I asked for one. When mentioned the sign, the waitress told me they have a Guinness sign too, but didn't carry that beer. The problem was, she was so condiscending and rude that it put me off. We ordered 2 beers from the beer menu, and the waitress looked at the chalkboard and said they didn't have it. But when I pointed out that it was on the actual menu, she backtracked and attempted to spin it that either the menu or the chalkboard was wrong.
Problem is, I am the customer and how am I to know which one was correct. I have experienced rudeness at Chicago's Map Room, to the point I will never, ever go back to this pretentious and elitiest bar and The Publick House is absolutely no difference.
Boston has enough great beer bars, this one, along with it's shitty service, can easily be forgotten.
03-27-2014 02:59:16 | More by stbroome
2.9/5 rDev -34.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5 | $$$
A glaring mark for such an icon.
Visited early evening on a Monday. I had high expectations for my first visit to The Publick House. After being seated it took 10 minutes before we saw a server, not a good first impression! We were sat in a cozy corner high-top.
An early visit to the restroom revealed that the overall cleanliness of this place may be in question. Floor was overly wet, paper towels were placed on the sink with no fixture to hold them (classy touch) and the walls were covered in graffiti some extremely offensive.
After our waiter arrived, the first round consisted of two Sixpoint Sweet Actions and a Brooklyn Pils. All beers tasted fresh and glassware was impeccably clean.
Dinner was two orders of fish and chips, and an order of pesto mahi mahi. The meals were mediocre, the fish from the fish and chips tasted as if it had been frozen bland and body-less; while the pesto mahi mahi seemed ill-conceived served with rice and an artichoke heart and tomato salad?
During dinner is when the service became deplorable, our server failed to keep our table clean and our glasses full, which led to us working up a sweat hailing him for another round.
I was very disappointed with my trip; I will however give The Publick House another chance to offer me the 'A+' that so many have experienced
07-17-2008 04:02:39 | More by gcarl
2.91/5 rDev -34.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
I must say, this place disappointed. After making the trip from Denver (not only for this place, but it was on my list), I wish I never bothered. Got off the Green line and this place was closed until 5pm. Weird. No matter, I went across the street to the Abbey and had a nice meal and beer.
Publick house won't let you sit outside unless you're eating. What a pain! Why? Eff that, man. So, if you go for a beer be prepared to sit inside, which is dark and stinks a bit. And their "specialty" is Belgian beers, and a bit pricey at that.
The samples I got came in pint glasses. After two beers I had enough of this place. My server was friendly, but didn't know much about the beers. Oh well. I should've hit Sunset Grill instead of this one. Won't be back even if I lived in Boston area...it's just not worth it
08-18-2011 02:33:21 | More by Mebuzzard
3.19/5 rDev -28.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Came out from out of town and wanted to check the place out after seeing the high marks and respect it gets from this site. Selection is definitely impressive...about 20 or so taps (most recently St. Bernardus Prior 8, De Koninck Pale, Liefmans, Racer 5 IPA, Brooklyn Pilsner and several others which are up to date on their website). Bartenders seemed a little hurried, but knowledgeable and friendly. Didn't see the bottle selection but I hear it's pretty good. Prices seem average and reasonable for the most part.
Didn't try the food really except for the fries, which were good.
The one thing which I was disappointed with though was the loud music, packed somewhat rowdy crowd, and the massive TV in the place. To be honest, it seemed a strange combination for a bar with such a diverse and impressive selection of beers. I was picturing a bar more like Monk's in Philadelphia (no TV, beatiful wooden fixtures, tasteful Belgian decor etc.).
All in all it's a definitely a good place and worth coming to. Maybe not though on a late weekend night. But I'll still be back.
Note: update 12/11/05. I am obliged to edit my review and seriously knock down some points for service. I have been to the TPH at least a dozen times since my first review and for the most part each and every time service has been absolutely abhorable (no matter what day of the week). The most recent experience which I found absolutely unacceptable is a visit on a Friday night. I managed to get a table with a friend from out of town after waiting 10 minutes and sat down at 10:25. Our waiter came and promptly gave us some menus because we wanted to grab a bit to eat. He asked us what we wanted before we even opened the menu (my friend had never been before and needed a few minutes at the least). So about 5 minutes later at 10:30 he takes the menus out of our hands and says "the kitchen is closed"!!! Closed at 10:30 when supposedly it's open until 11:00!!! What the %*&$ is that about? So we decided to stay and drink some beer. We sat for about 15 minutes trying to get his attention and finally got someone else's attention. "Oh you have to order at the bar". Oh really, well why didn't you tell us that when you grabbed the menus from our hands?
Yes the place has an incredible beer selection but the service is the worst I've ever experienced at any craft beer oriented bar. Best bar in America....please.
04-04-2005 02:14:37 | More by cracker
3.23/5 rDev -27.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Pretty nice looking establishment, and I was excited to hear how highly reviewed The Publick House is. With two friends on a Saturday night, we were able to get a table in a dimly lit back section of the dining area relatively quickly. The bars looked beautiful, and a pretty waitress gave us menus and let us know that the nitro taps were out of order early on in the meal. We perused the beer menus and food menus, and there is quite an extensive Belgian beer selection. My only qualm with the beers available are the lacking local craft brews, but Pretty Things was represented and a Berkshire was on the menu. Service was okay. Our waitress seemed to be struggling with juggling tables, and checked sparsely up on us. Another waiter delivered us our beers, decently poured in nice glassware, but he had a sour attitude. My good friend and love of my life found him to be extremely rude. The bar was not too loud, and I do like the lack of television screens in the diner section we sat down in. Food took its time in coming, although my Ommegang Hennepin Saison entertained me in the mean time... I ordered a chicken sandwich, with avocado and bacon and lettuce. It was good. Fish and chips were alright as well. The food was all quite expensive, and I know the beers are rare in many cases here, but they too ran quite a bill. Ended up getting an eight dollar brew. I was not crazy disappointed here, but my beautiful lady friend was appalled with the service. This being said, since it is so convenient in the haht of the brook, I will probably give it anotha try.
12-24-2012 16:21:48 | More by PatriotsRule
3.25/5 rDev -27%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
Well, I reviewed TPH a year ago. Gave it an 'A' (except for its then-mediocre service). Now it's time to re-review after having dinner there last night with my dad, my uncle and my brother in law.
I have to say the service has advanced from mediocre to appalling. Not borderline rude, like it's been in the past, but indifferent to the point of insulting.
Basically, it took an hour to get our food after we ordered. Not once during that time did the waitress come over on her own to check to see if we needed anything or to update us or to show any concern for the situation. We did flag her down after 45 minutes and she said, "Sorry, it takes 20 minutes usually to prepare these dishes." This is after we've already been sitting there for 45 minutes. At that point, we were also seated in view of the kitchen and could see what had to be our our meals sitting waiting to be delivered for about 15 minutes. Finally we got another server's attention asked him to check on our food, and he came right out with it. Except my dad's meal was cold. The waitress acted put upon when we found her, pointed that out and ask what could be done(took about 10 minutes to even get her attention -- no timely check back).
At the end of the meal, my dad had to deliver his credit card to her because she left us the check and disappeared for about 10 more minutes and then blew by us on her way to the register to chat with a co-worker. He delivered the signed slip and quietly and politely told her he found the service to be very indifferent. She got defensive and said, "Well, I did check back." Yeah, right. A half-hour after our food was finally there, when it would have been too late to do anything anyway.
As for the food itself, it was certainly tasty and well prepared as always, but sorry value. The beef stew looked huge at first, but at a closer glance, there were 4 or 5 skimpy bits of beef and a couple of potato bits and carrots floating in an enormous bowl of gravy with a big hunk of bread. Pretty deceptive. And a total ripoff for 17 bucks. My bro-in-law's fried oysters -- 15 bucks -- showed up with about 6 tiny oysters on the plate along with some wilted salad. Appetizer portion at an entree price. My father had the only meal that looked like good value -- the 1/2 roast chicken -- but it would have been better if his broccoli hadn't gotten ice cold from sitting around for 15-20 minutes before it was served.
As far as the beer -- as we all know, the selection is outstanding. It's tough to go wrong in that department. And I thoroughly enjoyed my Gouden Carolus Tripel on tap, as well as my McChouffe. At the same time, however, Publick House seems to have stopped paying attention to small details. A lot of the beers that should be served closer to cellar temperature are being served ice-cold like a Bud Light draft at Bennigan's. That's something that would have never happened 2 years ago. And the pours aren't quite as artful as they were a year or two ago -- a lot of ales that are supposed to show some head show none.
But management couldn't give a shit. The place is always jammed past capacity, there's always a wait for a table and they're making money hand over fist. As long as the hipsters and and 20something post-frat Fidelity workers keep coming to be seen, the owners could care less if their loyal but more discerning customers give up on them. Pains me to say it, but I'm reaching that point. I'm close to saying screw 'em.
Oh yeah -- they have a chalkboard sign overlooking the dining room imploring us to "remember our servers." That takes a lot of nerve when our servers couldn't give a shit about us. Nonetheless, my father was generous enough to leave a 15 percent tip (he insisted on footing the bill), which I would have never done, despite the fact that while I was in college I worked as a waiter in a high-stress establishment, remember how tough it is, and as a result almost never tip less than 20 percent.
04-18-2008 02:28:57 | More by eberkman
3.5/5 rDev -21.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in thinking that Publick House (formerly Anam Cara with the same owners, if i'm not mistaken) has a completely unacceptable approach to service.
This place could be the pre-eminent beer bar in the northeast, if not the entire country. Selection is fantastic. There has never been a time when I didn't look at the beer menu and think, "I could stop by here every night after work and enjoy a different beer." The bearded barkeep is gruff (read: doesn't take any crap from people) but both quick and helpful in that he has solid beer knowledge. However, the floor staff are untrained, unhelpful and unprofessional and the owners appear completely nonplussed by this probably becuase they've been anointed "the best beer bar in Boston" by BA and others. Way to rest on your laurels, guys.
Take this, for example. Publick House is a bar/restaurant and has good food that pairs very well with its beer selection. Although it is popular and crowded on most nights (Friday and Saturday especially) the owners have decided that patrons, patrons who pay top dollar for the quality food and beer served, should SEAT THEMSELVES.
This means patrons have to mill about waiting for the next available table to be vacated and then jockey for position. I have stalked diners at this place only to find that the table I took was to be taken by another patron. Hungry, angry, pushed aside, I took my dining choice over to Washington Square Tavern. Publick House should take a page from that owner's playbook.
Publick House, BE THE BEST BEER BAR IN BOSTON and hire someone to take names and yell out "MURPHYSIRISH, PARTY OF FOUR!" You will sell more beer at the bar while diners await tables and you will have happy customers who will return again and again instead of sitting home writing reviews about how bad the service is.
Has being the best (only) place where I can quaff an Aventinus Eisbock and enjoy an order of pommes frites gone straight to your heads?
Time for a gut-check, Publick House. You're too damed good to be that bad.
02-07-2007 01:31:34 | More by MurphysIrish
3.53/5 rDev -20.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$$
I have been The Publick House a number of times within the past year, most often for beer
festival pre-parties and BA get togethers.
The selection and beer quality are top-notch - there is more than enough to choose from to
satisfy any patron. Belgians and micros both in bottles and on tap. And they are all served
perfectly, often with matching glassware (most especially for their Belgians).
The service could be better as it is sometimes hit or miss. Extremely crowded evenings
(i.e. on Thursdays and Saturdays) can be difficult to deal with. This is not the serving
staff's fault, but it can put a damper on things. At other times, sometimes the service
still isn't so good. Nothing specific, more like just a vibe.
Also note that the prices are very high, but it is in Brookline.
The food is very good. All of the dishes I have had are very tasty. I have also heard that Sunday nite trivia is fun as well.
Worth visiting if in the Boston area.
07-12-2005 02:11:48 | More by Denali
3.65/5 rDev -18%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Ok, easily the most overrated thing on BA. I'm from Brookline, so I know of which I speak. I've probably been here 15-20 times, so this is not an opinion based on a bad night or anything else. It's just not that friggin great.
Never enough seating, so it's always a hassle if you have more than 3 people, unless it's like a Tuesday night or something.
The prices are out of control. Especially for the food, which has skyrocketed since it was Anam Cara, when it was still overpriced. The food is really pretty good, but it's gone all pretentious. Go to Matt Murphy's for much better food and a better vibe. Altho Matt's doesn't have the beer selection.
The beer selection of which everyone raves is not really that incredible. First, you can always go to Sunset Grille and get a much better selection. Second, try a place like Redbones which has a surprisingly awesome selection but doesn't charge an arm and a leg, and has a much better vibe and awesome ribs. Really, the selection is plenty of pretty decent Belgians and some good microbrews. Let's say 15 beers on tap, is it really more than that? Well, then the other ones are totally mediocre. But the listed 36 or whatever seems artificially high. Especially since they are almost always out of something. Most of the times I've been I've had literally everything on tap before someplace else.
I dunno, you had La Chouffe before? If not, this is the place for you. If you have, then maybe you'd be better off trying someplace else.
The vibe is always lousy. It's never really a fun place. It's chock full of Brookline yuppies (once again, born and raised, so no issues w/Brookline people per se) who just sort of hang out and drink overpriced beers while eating overpriced food and pretending to give a shit about the Sox game that only like 1/4 of the people there can actually see. Even trivia night there is sort of a bore. It's just not a neighborhood joint, and not a college joint, and not really anything else either. Frankly, it's all sort of plastic really. I guess it helps if you've seen it sort of develop through carefully tracking its' market and utilizing focus groups or whatever. It all seems very artificial.
Additional issues: They don't do pitchers or shots, you can't sit outside unless you order dinner (blame Brookline for that one) and the service is no great shakes. Oh, and the bartenders love to pretend they're better than you.
All that being said, order the calamari. Easily some of the best calamari on the planet, you won't be disappointed.
The moral of the story: go to Matt Murphy's if you want awesome food and a really great local atmosphere.
12-12-2008 08:59:55 | More by callmescraps
The Publick House in Brookline, MA
98 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.