Horse Brass Pub
Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
4.38/5 rDev +1.6%
The Horse Brass is one of my favorite places in Portland. It amazes me how it pulls off the English pub atmosphere in such a convincing, gaudy way without being pretentious. It draws one of the most diverse crowds of any bar I've seen...it's appeal is broad and is crowded on the weekends.
Before I go too far, check out the Belmont Station next door when you're in the area. It's one of Portland's best beer shops.
The beer selection is excellent. Lots of good NW beers on tap, they venture into the lesser-known breweries with lots of great surprises. Be sure to check the guest tap list. It's big, it changes all the time, but they usually have at least a couple worthy seasonals. On a personal taste note, they usually have at least a few Rogue brews on tap, a definite win in my book.
Oregon might be passing a smoking ban soon. I really hope it doesn't happen. The Horse Brass is one of the few places one can get good food and smoke a pipe or cigar. I'm not much of a smoker myself, but I don't mind it every once and a while. If you're allergic or can't stand smoke, the Brass might not be up your alley.
Speaking of food, it's good. I know, that sounds like a paradox, "good English food?" I've heard a few people say their fish and chips are the best in Portland. I like the strictly English fare, even if it doesn't have the gourmet food other trendy bars have. It fits with the place. Also, don't miss the Scotch Egg. If only once in your life, try it. A hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded then deep fried in all it's glory. You can feel your arteries clog as you eat it, but it's so good with the mustard sauce.
The service doesn't break any records, they don't like to split tabs, but every once and a while they're friendly. The bathrooms are dirty.
There are dartboards everywhere, as well as (mostly) English paraphernalia. Just pretend you didn't notice how the white fabric on the flags is now brown from all the smoke. Raise your glass to Winston Churchill, and read all the Guiness adverts.
I changed my mind. Even if you can't stand smoke, still come. You need to experience it if you're in Portland.
05-11-2007 10:53:07 | More by josiahschlender
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
mmm... fish and chips...
i tend to visit the 'brass about once a month as its a bit far away and i don't want to have to drive, but i've never felt that a trip wasn't worth it. great beer selection and rotating specials, both on tap and cask, and then, as you may guess, i love their fish and chips. very few things can compare to sitting down to a nice pint of bitter and digging into their *huge* portions of this standard british pub-fare. you have to be sure to set aside the rest of the night and next morning though, 'cause the grease and beer tend to make quite a little gurgle in the belly. the smoke doesn't bother me as much as it apparently does others, but then again, i'm prone to ordering big beers, those that can muscle their taste and smell even through the thickest of crowds. a highly recommended establishment, though it can get busy and the quickness of the staff suffers on those occasions.
04-26-2007 00:06:09 | More by isaac
3.93/5 rDev -8.8%
Ah, the Horse Brass, it is a legend, an institution and will pull your favorite "Irish" or "British" pub out by the collar and kick its rear.
I am not a smoker, so busy nights can get to be a bit too much, but OR is about to follow suit and institute a smoking ban. Though there are ventilation devices all over, I think that they are there for looks!
Either way, you must go. Tap selection is 9/10 great, that one time you might catch them in between kegs and orders. For whateevr reason their cask always tastes great. Cannot go wrong there.
The daily food is good, certainly not bad, but not mind-blowing. I recommend the Brie and Bread appetizer, yum! But, for me and my friends, the star attraction is the Sat and Sun Traditional English Breakfast. Wow, it is authentic, great price, HP sauce and all! Be sure to get there before noon to enjoy it.
It is also a great place to watch international soccer matches and throw darts.
02-09-2007 21:50:27 | More by GreatNorthwest
4.05/5 rDev -6%
I visited Portland in the late fall of this year (2006) on a business trip. One of the days ended up wrapping a little earlier than expected so three of us decided to find a pub. We'd spent plenty of time at McMennamins and the Nob Hill bar so we wanted something a little more unique. I recalled a conversation once held with a Portlander wherein she recommended very highly the Horse Brass Pub. The decision was made. We were a little underwhelmed by the exterior, but once inside we shifted gears and changed our minds. Very reminescent of some of my favourite pubs in England, it spoked to me on many levels. We, each of us, had four pints of different brews (that's twelve different beers); two of us had the Fish & Chips while the third had the Shepard's Pie; none of us were disappointed. Although the service lacked a little, and the fact that they allow cigar smoking was a bit offputting (very hard to enjoy your food with the taint of someone else's cigar in your face), the overall experience was well worth the drive. I can say unequivocally that when next I visit Portland, I shall return to the Horse Brass.
12-13-2006 21:05:25 | More by bannockburn
3.8/5 rDev -11.8%
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
4.01/5 rDev -7%
This was my last stop of a long day of testing, so I might go back and give it a full shot. When I do it will be in the afternoon so as to avoid the thick smoke, though it was only 8 pm. I know I'm often in the minority here with my beer drinking bretheren, but but I don't get the point of paying $5 a pint or $7 for a 10oz glass of great beer when I can't even smell it over the smoke. Decided not to rate either beer from the bar because I'm not sure what was there.
With that said, the selection is awesome, and pretty much everyone I asked along my week long trip said to hit the Horse Brass for the best beer. Between the guest beers, regs, and the rotating casks, it is beer heaven. What I drank, was well served and well cared for. Food looked good, even some vegetarian options which was unexpected from the look and attitude of the place.
HB web says they are a smoke friendly pub and that adults should have a choice, which a choice would be nice. I think it's a much more sensical choice if smoker's can choose to smoke outside so that the rest of us actually can actually choose to not drink or dine in smoke. But, with so many good bars in Portland, maybe nonsmokers and those allergic to it like myself shouldn't waste the time or money here.
11-12-2006 16:03:56 | More by FightingEntropy
4.5/5 rDev +4.4%
The horse brass is a regular stop for me since moving to Portland. The place has a lot of character, tons of beer decor on the walls from American Craft to Belgian to British. Lots of older tables with benches that really add a lot to the feel of the place. There is an area over to the far side of the bar where the cask beers are on for darts, there are also some other traditional english pub games on a few tables throughout the place. Semi dark, usually with a lot of cigar/cigerette smoke throughout.
Theres always a great selection of beers to choose from. They have a strong connection of the local brewers in the area and always have deschutes, rogue, full sail, hair of the dog, walking man, and other local beers on tap. The guest taps are always pretty good along with their cask selection. The service has for the most part been friendly and helpful, and the day time bartender Dennis is a gem of a guy.
The horse brass is definatley a must for anyone visiting Portland who enjoys interesting places with a great selection of quality craft beer. The only thing I would warn against is its not for those who are easily bothered by smoke.
11-12-2006 09:30:10 | More by Matthew
4.28/5 rDev -0.7%
On the last day of my third visit to Portland, someone pointed out that if I hadnt been to the Horse Brass, Id truly missed out on something spectacular. So my friend and hostess obliged my sad puppy eyed request, fired up the ol Taurus again and took me on over to the Brass so I could tick off another great Portland Beer Establishment on my list.
The place was nearly empty when we got there, which was late in the afternoon. Still the traditional English Pub atmosphere was authentic and well captured without the appearance of trying too hard.
They have an impressive list of beers on draught over 50 but we only had time for one before I had to head over to PDX to catch my flight back to Burbank, CA. The gentleman behind the bar was gracious, made us feel welcome, and after asking a few questions about our favorite styles, he made a few suggestions and poured us a few samples as well. Feeling brave, we settled upon the Rogue Brutal Bitter, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
I didnt have enough time to sample the food on this quick visit, but you can bet Ill be going back to the Horse Brass the next time Im in Portland!
08-17-2006 04:45:50 | More by TheLiterati
4.1/5 rDev -4.9%
Holy English pub meets chain restaurant! Makes me think of Super Troopers every time. "Hey Farva what's that place you like with all the shit on the walls?" My answer would have to be the Horse Brass. I am willing to bet Sir Winston didn't know so many photos were taken of him. Also weekend nights are so smoky it hurts.
Be it at a table or at the bar, the service is very good. As attentive as reasonable depending on the day. Friendly and knowledgeable.
Tons of taps and 5 engines. Rogue, Walking man, Lagunitas, Deschutes, Stone and more.
The food is a mix of standard English and American pub fare with veggie options. I enjoyed my steak and kidney pie.
Prices are pretty standard for Portland bars. Imperials are around $4.50 to $5 depending.
Overall: Great place if you love beer and smoke. I once had to leave because of the smoke and I was a smoker at the time. Amazing place when it isn't busy.
06-13-2006 00:13:16 | More by krberg
4.1/5 rDev -4.9%
Had heard so much about this bar both from friends and this site, that I decided I finally needed to make the trip.
Man was I ever glad I did.
Walked in, and was immediately greeted by a definite British Pub feel. The beer list is very tantalizing, and the food was well prepared (I had the chipotle burger, and loved it). Had a pint of Walking Man's Black Cherry Stout (unearthly smooth!), and Blue Dot IPA (holy cow, it's opaque! looks like cider gone bad, tastes amazing).
Our initial server was fantastic, and handily held up conversations about beer, food, and the bar, and checked on us twice in 20 minutes. Sadly, she was replaced soon after, when her shift ended, by a sullen woman who visited us only to pick up our check. Makes me wish we had been able to leave a tip solely for our first server.
The beer selection is an admirable list of regional brews, but not astonishingly large (there's a restaurant in Bremerton specializing in beer with a menu twice as large, but none are on-tap as they are at Horse Brass).
Definitely returning here next time I'm in town!
05-26-2006 09:04:03 | More by waldowin
Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR
95 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.