Higgins Restaurant and Bar
Taps: 11 / Bottles: 100
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 20 | Reviews: 19 | Show All Ratings:
3.85/5 rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
My wife and I spent a weekend in Portland, and went to Higgins for a dinner with old friends.
Based on the rating system I can see why this place gets the rating it does, but it's not as good as it sounds.
Atmosphere is great. White table cloths, subdued lighting, it's well furnished and quiet.
Quality of both food and drink is quite good. The beer, wine and liquor are all very good quality.
Selection in terms of beer is more limited than a lot of places. Good quality, but only about a dozen taps . Nothing you couldn't get elsewhere in Portland probably at a better price.
Food it where the place really runs off the rails. They are too busy trying to be trendy with things like dandelion leaves, duck and kale, at the expense of the basics. We ordered 3 flatiron steaks and none were cooked as ordered. All undercooked, and I am medium rare steak man. Not a single chicken entree, which disagreed with the ladies. Everything on the place was the same color (dark) and same texture. Sauteed beets, kale and dandelions. The plate would have benefited from a splash of color. Carrots, asparagus, green beans. From the previous reviews it sounds like lunch may be a better time to visit Higgins.
The place is over-trendy and overpriced.
Again, based on the criteria. even my review makes the place sound better than it really is. The food is better in concept that in execution. Given the prices, I'd fire the chef and expand the tap selection. Next time I go to Portland I'll likely skip Higgins.
04-01-2013 05:09:07 | More by RJLarse
4.43/5 rDev +2.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This great eatery plus beer bar is definitely a must if you live in Portland, or if ever you visit this great city. The small size and subtle music help create a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. Bartender was alert and helpful, but never overly friendly. The selection of beers on tap is small, but they offer only outstanding brews, mainly from the Pacific Northwest. Their food is very good - I heartily recommend their wonderful bread with olive oil, and especially the mushroom barley soup. I'm sure the other fare is at least as good.
08-03-2011 01:31:17 | More by Cyberkedi
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Higgins is my favorite place to enjoy a meal and a beer in Portland. Specifically, the back bar. The servers are all knowledgable about local craft brews, belgians, and the like. They have several regular taps including Guinness and Chimay, and always feature the best seasonal beers from the area.
I would avoid anything IPA from the bottle menu. We found that they have bottles of Pliny the Elder that are more than a year old.
The lunchtime sandwich and salad special is the best in town.
Highly recommend Higgins!
05-11-2011 22:10:13 | More by cavemanlawyer
4.04/5 rDev -6.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$$
We walked into this place on a weekday evening after walking down from the Pioneer Courthouse Square area. At first we were a bit confused, because it appeared to be a quite fancy restaurant. We asked for the bar, and a helpful employee directed us. The bar is in a completely separated room, and has almost a ship-like feel. It's dark with lots of wood and yellow lighting. They were playing some pretty bad music. Mostly 70's easy listening type stuff.
We grabbed a spot at the small bar and perused the selection. It's actually a relatively small draught selection. About 9 on tap, and nothing crazy-good. But the Belgian bottle selection was amazing. The selection merits a 4.0 on the strength of the Belgian bottle list alone. Of course, it doesn't come cheap. This is probably the most expensive beer in Oregon. Even the stuff on tap was at least double the price it should have been. Everything appeared to be really high quality though, and served in appropriate glassware. Our server was very friendly and nice.
Overall it gets high marks, but the cost can be prohibitive. This is an excellent stop for those who live in the area and are looking for Belgians, but tourists are better off somewhere else to try Oregon microbrews at lower prices.
06-13-2010 21:44:49 | More by shivtim
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Ah, my bi-annual (give or take) visit to Higgins...as is often the case, these trips coincide with a rainy/sunny spring day and are unplanned. No exception here, an ambling stroll from work in a steady drizzle. A happy early birthday present to me...
Higgins, as mentioned a time or ten in prior reviews, is as classy a 'beer bar' as you'll find. It's not necessarily glitzy or glamourous, just comfortably elegant. In a dozen or so visits over the years, only once did we enjoy dinner in one of two small dining rooms that face SW Broadway; every other visit has been for a lunch, taken in the cozier bar around the corner on SW Jefferson.
The bar's space is dominated by a shelved backdrop, laden with glassware and booze bottles, garnished with faux-vintage(?) beer/wine placards and posters. South-facing windows ensure plenty of natural light, although the looming Ladd Tower condos across the street keep things much more shady than they once were. In front of the shelving is a thick slab of a bar, functional if not really ornate, and a gathering of 10-12 sturdy stools. Floors are of warm, but well- worn wood, walls are paneled in light tones and the ceiling has a vintage feel, adorned with pressed tin.
A barman (often Charles - I've seen him most every time the last 6-8 visits) offers a friendly greeting and seamlessly recites the day's specials. The cheapskate in me knows I can rely on the daily sandwich/salad special; a paltry $9 (compared with other lunch entrees in the $12-18 range) buys an exemplary portion of Higgins fare. On this latest visit it was a duck/pork terrine, garnished with quince chutney, spiced mustard, dried cherries, greens and hazelnuts layered between slabs of pumpernickel aside a heap of chunky potato salad and varied pickles...pair that with a 0.5l Hacker-Pschorr Weisse (my choice, but affirmed by the bartender as the best option) and you have something approaching the Divine. I could try to list other dishes I've had from memory, but would fail...suffice to say the food here will range from the 'merely' very good to the outstanding. As cliche as it sounds, I've not had a bad dish yet.
I've made it this far and have barely mentioned beer! Yesterday, I counted 11 taps & a cask handpump - two were out, though (Affligem Blond and HotD Greg ~ damn!). The others were: Chimay Tripel, Lindemans Framboise, Reissdorf Kolsch, the H-P Weisse (see above), Dogfish Head 60 Minute, Hopworks DOA, Double Mountain Hop Lava, and Guinness (nitro, of course); the cask was Beer Valley's Pigskin Pale. As I recall some of these are mainstays on the menu (the imports mostly) while the locals tend to rotate more (though Greg - named for restaurant owner/chef Greg Higgins - is one they keep on hand as often as possible).
A perusing of the bottled beer list (2 sides of a printed card) once seemed jaw-dropping; now only the prices seem so. It's not that the list is bad whatsoever; there's an excellent range of styles from Belgium, Germany, the UK and other points abroad. Belgians dominate the list, with about 50 bottles ranging from wits to lambics to quadrupels; the other categories have maybe 12-15 bottles each. The US collection of 20-25 is mostly comprised of Oregon locals (Rogue, Deschutes, HUB, Hair of the Dog) with a scattering of others (of note: Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin, Ommegang, Stone). Expect prices to be about double what could be found at a bottle shop and expect pints to run at least $6. A couple interesting notes: I saw Hair of the Dog's Michael and Cherry Adam from the Wood (both 12 oz. bottles) listed for $20 each; I also spotted PBR tallboys (Portland's ubiquitous hipster fave) for $4...had to laugh at that one.
With all the great new beer bars popping up throughout the metro area, it's easy to forget about Higgins. It was, is, and will remain more of an upscale restaurant than a bar...but it's still a place I enjoy on occasion and is certainly still at the top of it's game food+drink-wise. A (splurge)worthy destination - though follow my lead and try the lunch special, neither your belly or wallet will be disappointed.
Disclaimer: To review this place for food and beer in 2010, one must set aside some of what he/she knows of the craft beer 'explosion' in recent years. When Higgins first arrived on the dining scene, well over a decade ago, it was revolutionary. Fresh, local ingredients were the standard there well before the idea caught on elsewhere; local wineries were featured, too, and the beer list was among the widest ranging to be found anywhere. A 'beer steward' (the equivalent of a sommelier for the wine drinkers) is on staff now, acting to guide diners toward ideal pairings with their meals; for the educated beer drinker, the service may seem unnecessary and the tone may even be condescending - still it's an admirable gesture toward elevating beer to a much higher status at the dinner table, something this restaurant should be proud of. Kudos.
05-20-2010 13:53:09 | More by msubulldog25
4/5 rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
I was excited to be able to stop by here during my latest visit to Portland. Higgins is located on the busy corner of Broadway and Jefferson. There are two dinning rooms on the Broadway side and a bar room in back.
White tablecloths, hardwood floors, tasteful artwork, two tone cream and green paint scheme and tin ceilings set the tone.
11 draft choices and a great bottle list with a heavy emphasis on Belgium choices. I didn't count, but I would guess they offer in excess of 100 bottles. Believe me, you will find something you like. Drafts come in glasses and pints.
Service was very informed and friendly. It was a trifle slow, but I was in no hurry. Also, their cuisine seems well suited for a more leisurely pace.
The menu contains lots of salads and starters. Two soup choices and a small but varied selection of main courses. There is lots of emphasis on PNW ingredients. They offer very nice homemade pastrami.
All-in-all, a great spot for good food and good beers.
03-15-2010 16:47:53 | More by Redrover
3.94/5 rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
I come here from time to time and can grab a unique draft and/or decent bottle. The place has a nice location right by the park blocks and good atmosphere inside
The bar side is a bit small but has a nice aura to it and the bar/bar-top itself is classy, much like the staff. I have had nothing but good experiences with the staff and one barkeep in general is always super nice. The selection is fair and the bottle list does not change that much, it might be nice if they had a few more taps, not bad though
If any quarrels exist it is with price. The place is kinda upscale and more of a restaurant than a bar or pub. I have not had the food but I hear it is banging
Swing in if your in the area and get some tasty brews
10-29-2009 04:46:30 | More by Magpie14
4.16/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Through a quick review of the prices on the menu during my first visit to Higgins, I decided that I'd just dine on beer.
I wasn't really that hungry anyway; although I did take notice that several of the dishes passing before me en route looked wonderful and smelled quite good. In fact, one couple at the booth closest to me seemed enthralled with their selections. But I was here for beer...
My bartender was good, but almost too good. He was engaged in several conversations at the opposite end of the bar and just couldn't get up to me.
When he finally did arrive, I was ready. I'd made my selection and I was ready to go but no, no, no - that was too easy for him! He had to make some small talk and then make suggestions for beer. ... ... ... Well, I don't really need small talk - that's just to help bolster his tip - and I don't really need suggestions (I've been brewing professionally for close to two decades and I'd already made up my mind about my selection) but he started into it. So, OK, you know about beer! Great! So do I. I'll still take the same beer I ordered the first time, thanks. He wasn't snooty, but he seemed like a salesman. I politely declined food as well, although he did put a good sell/spin on that.
Otherwise, it's a nice looking place. It's kind of old school looking out onto the street. It's got a tin ceiling, a wood floor, wood paneled walls, and a wood topped bar (it's a very nice big block with cubes of darker wood cut-in).
And getting back to the beer, there are ten taps (a hand pump for cask?) and about a hundred beers in bottles.
It's a decent place, but not one that I would frequent much if I lived there as it's kind of expensive.
08-02-2009 03:18:27 | More by NeroFiddled
3.6/5 rDev -17.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$$
Wow this place was even fancier than I thought it was going to be, definitely underdressed and immediately felt uncomfortable when I walked into the restaraunt area, quickly bolted for the bar and grabbed a table near some snobby people complaining about their steak they ordered, that was a treat, we ordered a bottle of Liefmans Goudenband to share and were told they just ran out, okay so we ordered something else and they were out of that as well, settled for an Oud Beersel Gueuze, a 375 ml bottle was ten dollars, not bad considering where we were, had it a few days earlier at home and really enjoyed it as well, proper glassware was brought to the table, we were a little hungry but did not really want to order any food because it looked like it would cost an arm and a leg, the fact that would be got charged three dollars for bread after we were told it was free was a joke, do not really care in the long run but still pretty lame, our waiter was not enjoyable by any means, thought he was a real know it all and talked to us like we had not had any of the beers on their bottle list before when really I have had all but about five of the hundred on there, nice bottle list but mostly all the stuff would be available in any good beer store for a much lesser price, would have been more happy if Greg was on tap but that was not there either, luckily we got to try it at Hair of the Dog a few days earlier, had around ten taps and none of them were impressive by any means, even their local brews were very widely available, I would skip this place in the future, I mean it is cool if you want to go to a real nice dinner and have a good beer with it, otherwise not impressive, still worth checking out
06-09-2009 02:00:32 | More by Floydster
4.83/5 rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
Bar has an almost olde english bar feel to it. Long straight bar with taps and massive cooler space to house their impressive bottled beer list.
Quality of food and beer is quite exceptional. This place has one of the best burgers in Portland. I have never had a bad meal there.
Service is good and fast. The staff is knowledgeable and willing to guide you through your experience.
Selection of beer is very impressive. Especially the bottled Belgian list. They carry everything from Stella Artois to Scaldis Prestige.
01-06-2009 08:04:53 | More by PdxBeerNut
Higgins Restaurant and Bar in Portland, OR
94 out of 100 based on 20 ratings.