The Publick House

BA SCORE
98
world-class

357 Ratings
The Publick HouseThe Publick House
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1648 Beacon St
Brookline, Massachusetts, 02445-2101
United States

(617) 277-2880 | map
thepublickhousebeerbar.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by doerickson

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
357
Reviews:
261
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
7.66%
 
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 357 |  Reviews: 261
Photo of ryanms3030
4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The Publick House is one of my favorite places for a good beer in Boston. The tap selection is always good and always rotating and to be honest that's all I usually care about. What can you give me off the tap that I've never had on tap before? And the answer here is usually a couple of things. Last time I was there I had the Le Chouffe and Mc Chouffe on tap which were both excellent. The last time I was in there, they had a special on bottles of Schlenkerla Rauchbier. The bartender was pretty excited that I ordered the Rauch since not too many people appreciate that fine and unique brew.
My only complaints is that the Publick House has more of a "beer snob" atmosphere then any other beer bar I've been too. One of my friends who really doesn't like beer (the poor soul) was ordering mixed drinks there and he certainly was getting some dirty looks from the bartendeder. I understand their stance of not serving shots and not wanting to be a place where people go to get drunk...but let's get realistic. Half the beers they serve are probably over 7% abv so it is a pretty hypocritical attititude.

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Photo of snilsen13
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Possibly the most knowlegable beer bar in New England. Once known as the Anam Cara Publik House (recently changed) and it has history going back to the beginnings of Brookline (300 years). The setting is often swarmed on Fri and Sat night with BC kids. However, weekday evenings (or after 12 on weekends) are mellow and the time to go. The beer slecetion is huge with 30+ taps pouring everything you could hope for. For example, they change their taps quite fequently and during the Belgain Beer Fest they changed to all Belgians on tap. Wow! If your inclined to do bottles the selection is in a well designed menu and includes some pricey rarities as well as a generally excellent assortment from across teh globe.

The bar is friendly. If your lucky tastings might come your way. They have a sweet sampler of 4 short beers for a very decent price. You could become a beer pro frequenting this pub and taking this option.

Food is good, well above average pub fare, but heavy and mocks gourmet. I would prefer a simpler, lighter cusine. You can get a burger and fries but they would be huge and tweaked out.

The music and voluem of it suits my taste fine. Never pop. Always somethign punkish but rarely abrasive. It sort of matches as a cross between hip alternative (like Franz Ferdinand) and solid traditional punk (Clash). In the mornings (they don't do the brunch anymore, sadly) Elliot Smith. Not as good as some more hipster pubs, like Bukowskis, but still pretty good. Volume is sopt on.

Lots of Belgian beer parafanalia and big lounging chairs and a fireplace and big TV when it matters and all those nicities.

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Photo of funkmaster229
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love the publick house. It's like a second home. It makes me happy to see such good reviews on this site and know that there is so many people enjoying the experience there.

I do need to adress one thing in the staff's defense: speed of service.

I know as well as anyone that the waitstaff there can be a bit slow getting you what you need, but keep in mind that this is a bar. If you want a fine dining experience, go to a fine dining restaurant. If you love the food, it's worth waiting for, (everything is made to order and the disclaimer on the menu warns of extended waiting time) and we all know that good beer is worth the wait.
The barstaff ,however; is ALWAYS quick and knowledgable.

If you are too impatient to relax and enjoy this fantastic establishment, then I think you are no better a person to share my barspace with than the "jocks" that we all profess to despise.

peace.

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Photo of bignick
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I absolutely adore this place. The vibe is chill and sofisticated. It is usually very busy, but when it is not, it is very laid back. And, of course, the beer is phenomenal. I recently had a Triticus there, months after Harpoon ceased making it. They usually have St. Bernardus ABT 12 on tap, which is my favorite beer. There is always a wide selection of styles and breweries, and always something I have not tried. The food is also a good notch above typical. The andoille sandwich is quite tasty as are the french fries. They always use the proper glasswhere, I have never had a quality issue. Great place overall. Cheers.

Editted to reflect recent visits:
The consistent quality of the menu continues to amaze me. Unfortunately the service is just all too often subpar. Often the amount of time that it takes to get the server's attention is too much. My rating would be lower, but the consitent use of proper glassware is something that, I suppose, falls under the category of service.

Editted again...it is my local favorite:
The food is superb. The items are consistently of the quality of a gourmet restaurant. The sandwiches are fabulous. While some food items are a bit pricey, the sandwiches are priced comparably priced to other bars, and are better than those at any bar I have ever been to. Also, the service has gotten better as of late. Many of the waitresses are great, and I think the bartenders' knowledge of the beers more than makes up for the occasional lapse. I understand why the bros named this the best beer bar in America.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Well, we lost at trivia, but everything else was great. Been living here for almost two months now but just made it over to the Publick House for the first time last night. I had heard great things obviously, and had to check it out for myself. Not too shabby I must say. An excellent bar, but in my opinion certainly not the best in the country, as it's currently "ranked". Top 10 maybe, but I can quickly think of 3 that I like better, and two of them are with in are in the same state. I think places that are so highly rated can sometimes get judged a little more critically, but that goes with the territory I suppose. But moving on... Nice rustic atmosphere, cozy with out being cramped. Just looked a bit too much like another highly rated bar that I know of that will go unnamed for now. Quality is where this place excels. Really nice glassware - I love the big wine glasses that they seem to serve most of their beers in. All very clean, which might seem nitpicky, but I've been to a lot of places with really smudgy glasses, but this place is on top of it's game. Beers tasted very fresh and not served way too cold. Service was great. It was a Sunday night, fairly slow I suppose, and we had no problem getting our beers when we needed them. Selection is sturdy, but I wasn't really surprised by anything on the menu. They have a great line-up of American beers which was nice. Some west coast favorites as well as our excellent locals. Some nice Belgians as well, but nothing too bizarre or rare which is always what I tend to gravitate towards. [Edit: been back a bunch of times since then and I still like the place a lot, but I think their downfall is the fact that out of 20 something taps only a few are actually new beers to a semi regular customer and other than that you pretty much know what to expect... a few Allagash, a couple Brooklyn, they always have La Chouffe which is nice, St Bernardus 12 is always on, and a few other great beers that are constantly on but like I said, not much variety in the menu from week to week. It's pretty fixed.] The other thing is I don't see how a place with no cask beer can get a perfect score for selection. That's just essential. I asked them if they had a cask beer and they said they didn't have the facilities at the moment... well, time to get the facilities!! I think that would make this already great bar even better. When I get a big paycheck I'll go back and try the food, but it was quite pricey, whereas the beers were more reasonable. Looked really good though. I'll definately go back and see how the selections vary. An excellent place for a beer and a nice experience.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Publick House is a very good place to get a great brew. It has a great atmosphere inside and you are able to eat/drink outside on the benches. Does not draw the annoying people who just want to go out and get drunk. Does not have tv's blarring in the background, etc. Just the perfect chill place if you want great food and great beer. It gets very packed because of the wonderful selection of brews on tap and in bottles so I suggest getting there early. Try sitting at the big table by the fire place. Not a place to go if you just want to eat because its first come first serve for the tables, but hey, it's a beer bar.

Only one complaint I have:
I was there on a Thursday night. Ordered my favorite brew, which didn't taste like it should have. I told the bartender that I thought it was a little off. He blatantly diregarded my comment, told me he thought it was fine and shooed me back to my table. About 10 minutes later, the waitress came over and said, "The bartender, after sampling the brew a couple more times, could tell something was off."

Granted, I got the next round of equal or less value free, but I was shrugged off like I didn't know what I was talking about. It just didn't sit right with me. That was the only time I was unhappy leaving the Publick House.

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Photo of moaner
4.75/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Let's see.
100 + reviews.
Top ranking.
Yet people complain about it being overcrowded, or about service slowing down when it's busy. I wonder why it's busy honey? Get real people. A beer bar is not about location, # of parking spots, clean smelling bathrooms, or posters on the walls. It's the beer stupid. And Beer is where the PH shines. Don't want to wait in line for beer, fine, don't go thur, fri, sat nite. But if you want the best, most thoughtfully chosen, freshest, beer in the Boston area, the PH is your place. Nobody in Boston works harder to expose the masses to new tasty brews. If not for places like PH, and few others, many of the beers, who's availibilty we have become accustomed to, would not be around. Why do package stores carry Bear Republic, Anderson, Stone, et all? because you ask them to. And why do you ask? Because you had it at a beer bar. Or because your friend did. Or because friend'sfriend did. Why do most of us know about allagash, concord, cambridge, the tap, smutty, and to some extent, de ranke, cantillon etc... because of beer bars like the PH.
There are always going to be places with better service, more taps (who the hell needs more taps?), more bottles, places where bartenders have time to smooze imbetween pours, places that offer some things cheaper, places louder, quieter, cozier, roomier, but if you are after beer, damn good beer, served fresh, from places you have yet to only hear of (great divide, alesmith), or a special release from rob todd, limited old guardian from stone, xx, a lou pepe, somethin special from dann paquette, or will from cambridge, well... you have a choice.
The PH is busy because it is good. It's service slows down because it is crowded with people trying to drink good ale.
Personally, I am willing to wait for a Big A. Because once I get that sweet nectar in my hands, really, what else matters?
It's called Beer Advocate.
A place's review should stick to the beer. The rest is just garnish.

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Photo of chelovek
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Initially it was a bit of trouble finding the place. Had to walk a bit to finally see it coming up on the right hand side of the road. I sat at the bar that is immediatly to your left upon entering and checked out the beer gear that covered the walls. When I told the bartender that I had trouble finding the place she informed me that I had gotten off at the wrong stop. She pointed at a stop only a few hundred yards away. So after coming off like an idiot tourist right away I was pleased to see that they had St. Benardus on tap to wash away my embarassment. The Staff ,that were sporting beer advocate t-shirts, were very freindly. A couple cute girls form Ireland kep the beers flowing nice. I should point out that as the night went on the place got pretty packed and service slowed way down. But it was alright considering that I needed to slow down myself after a few drinks. Selection of bottle beers was excellent.

The food was nothing special but the size of the portions made up for it, had a huge serving of thier mac and cheese.

The people at the place were very freindly as well. I found this to be true of all the places that I went on my trip but people were especially kind at the Publick House. All and all a very pleasant bar and a well worth stop in subs of Boston.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
4.75/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I visited following the Red Sox game on 9/4/2005, and I'm sure glad I did.

My friend and I sat at the bar, and at the time, it was pretty quiet in there. There was plenty of breweriana on the walls, as well as fresh copies of Yankee Brew News and the Dig. The bartender was helping us right away with our beers and with our glasses of water. He kept us supplied with water throughout our time there. We both purchased draughts of St. Bernardus Abt. 12, and they were expertly poured into the proper glassware. My Brooklyn Brown Ale was also poured perfectly. We both ordered smaller entrees (I had the calamari, she had the mozzarella and tomato sandwich) and they really complemented the beers well. The bartenders seemed happy that we were there, and they treated us well the entire time.

I highly recommend coming here at an off-peak time like we did, because the service was excellent. If it was really busy, I'm not sure if it would have been the same. But definitely go early and enjoy the food and take your time at the bar. It's a place that I certainly will return to in the future.

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Photo of OldSock
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What can you say about a place that has 116 reviews? All I can say is that it is one of the best beer bars I have been to. The selection is varied and interesting; despite having 1/5 the taps of Sunset there are generally more things I want to try at the Publick House. The beer is almost always fresh and wonderful because of quick turnover, the one exception out of many being a funky Big A IPA a few months back. The food is excellent and runs the gambit from pulled pork to lobster risotto. Prices are maybe a bit high in places, particularly in imports. The service is quick, knowledgeable and interesting. Most beers come in the correct glassware, but beers could be served a touch warmer. If you live anywhere near here and have not been, shame on you.

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Photo of wedge
4.66/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This was my first trip to the Publick House in Brookline - decided to go with tastybeer to meet some fellow beer lovers (including ILiveOffHops below). I had tried to find this place before but failed miserably and gave up. This time was much easier after using a different direction finder (mapquest rather than google). Suprising amount of parking for a Saturday night in August.

Rather packed for such a late hour but friends already had control of a table. The beer menu was well organized and impressive. After sampling a few of the friend's selections I made my own. Very impressed by the presentation - all beers served in their appropriate glasses and all seemed to be quite fresh. A definate sense of care taken by the staff. Trappist ales, belgians, IPAs, double IPAs, lambics, etc. Most in the bottle with a modest yet impressive tap lineup (including Arrogant Bastard, Hercules, Hennepin, Smuttynose Wheatwine).

Prices were a bit high but well worth it for the quality and care. Nice atmosphere, not rediculously crowded, pretty good music - fitting for the dark setting. Excellent place to sample some rare brews.

I will definately return, this place met my expectations. They claim to have a growing and changing Imperial stout lineup depending on the season so I'll have to check that out. I'll have to stop by earlier as well to sample the food.

A superior beer bar for sure and worth the hour drive.

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Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Last night was my first trip to the Publick House. After hearing so many good things about it we had to take a trip into Boston for it.

At 11 PM on a Saturday night it was very busy to be expected. I will remember to come back some afternoon to experience it in a more calm atmosphere. Even though it was busy and buzzing with a hundred conversations, it was not offensively loud. The crowd here is obviously not the same as most bars in Boston. The hard wooden chairs were not as comfortable as they could be, but not a huge priority for me.

The beer selection was as I expected...very expansive. Over 20 beers on tap including some rare ones, Cantillon, St Bernardus Abt 12 (my first choice for the night since I had never had it), and some more common craft breweries. The bottle selection is huge with almost everything you would expect. My main beef with the selection is the lack of Imperial Stouts. I may have been mistaken but I only saw 3 or 4 different Imperials.

All beers are poured with care into appropriate glassware, most in their own breweries glass. I had a Middle Ages Wailing Wench Double IPA in a 22 oz oversized wine glass. 22 oz! very cool. It seemed like they cared about the beer I was going to drink, a very important quality.

The service was OK, at nights you must go to the bar to order your own beer, fairly normal. I never waited for more than 1 minute to order my beer, so I have no reason to complain. Next time when I order food I will have more input here.

The prices were a little expensive, but I expected it at a real beer bar. The higher price is worth it for the selection and quality of the beer. If I must pay a dollar more for my beer to have it in the right glass and poured with care then I will be happy to. Overall, a great beer bar.

Beers had on this trip: St Bernardus Abt 12 and Middle Ages Wailing Wench Double IPA

Friends beers tasted: Aventinus Eisbock, Cantillon Kriek, Duvel, Sam Smith Imperial Stout, Arrogant Bastard, 90 Minute IPA, Smuttynose Wheat Wine

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Photo of MattBrooks
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I had been away for about a year and see that they have changed the name from Anam Cara to The Publick House. Ok, no worries. It's still the reigning beer mecca of Brookline. What better place to see and be seen with your favorite brew, good friends and usually the who's who in the beer industry. The atmosphere is great, there is always something going on, whether it's a tasting, special dinner, or newly featured product. The beer list is decadent, an encyclopedia of the world's best brews. I usually like to pick one style and go with it, when I am drinking beer at home; but with the depth of special beers here at The Publick House, it's very hard to stick to just one. The food is good, and prices for food and beer are par for the course for the neighborhood it's in. The only thing that I think needs improvement is the service. While the knowledgeable servers are polite, pleasant and helpful, the place is usually so busy that it takes time to get to everyone, so you may have to wait a bit. This is my favorite place "in" the city.

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Photo of ridedammit
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I really enjoy the Publick House. They have good food, depending on the night
the food can be wonderful, however, if its really busy the food suffers a bit. The beer menu is very good. They don't try to over do it with 250 beers like other
establishments that shall remain nameless, but are located in Brighton. They rotate their taps regularly with new and interesting beers. They also throw events like the recent "Hop Head Throwdown" 15 of the hoppiest (but still very drinkable) beers around. The bartendars, and even a few of the wait staff are knowledgable
about the beers.

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Photo of rousee
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Update from visits through Summer of '05 :
They have changed their name to Publick House Brookline. I liked the name Anam Cara much better and refuse to call it by its new name. I am downgrading my score on decor as I think the chairs are not that comfortable at the bar and it just isnt as much of a novelty to me anymore. The neighborhood that they are in is nice but it is a pain in the ass to get out there from downtown.

They continue to do a great job on all the beers here offering an extremely hard to find selection that is second to none. One of the bartenders who was a bit of a wise ass and beer snob no longer works here but I kind of found him amusing. The food has been tweaked to include much more cuisine de biere which is great but the food here was always good anyway. They have added some nice cheese plates and new food items that are ideal for beers so I am upgrading my food score.

Original review from December of '04--
I never encountered anywhere with the dedication to beer that this place has. I have been here about a dozen times all within the last year--every single time the draft beers include at least 2 that I have never seen before on-tap and probably never will again (unless I come back (which I do) or go to where its brewed) .

I love a place that takes cleanliness seriously too which this place does. The bathrooms are spotless and I would guess that the kitchen is damn clean as well. The people who work here are tremendous. Every single one of them knows their beers and they really seem to enjoy it which adds to the fun.

Selection is amazing--yeah Sunset may have more beers but they don't take the same pride about it as they do here. I will be very surprised if I ever end up in as good a beer bar as Anam Cara.

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Photo of waughbrew
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Re-review:

Still the perfect beer bar. Every time that I go I have a great time, have incredible beer, have incredible food, and leave happy and full.

While there are some other locations in Boston that are all-of-a-sudden becoming hip with BAs, I just do not think any of them touch this. Sure they might be a buck cheaper than TPH, but they do not have the quality you will find here. The bottom line for me is that when I try a new beer at this place, I know what it is supposed to taste like. When I try it at one of the other places in Boston, I am left wondering (didn't taste too fresh...tasted soapy...I taste the previous beer in the line...crappy glassware...etc.) This place gives beer the ultimate respect.



Review: 7.2004
This is the best place to eat and/or drink in the Boston area as far as I am concerned.

Atmosphere is great, nice wood interior is very relaxing, flowers line the exterior. Decent music played at just the right volume, live music sometimes. Red Sox on the beautiful projection screen every game. My only complaint is that the clientele is a little more pretentious than I like, but hey it is Brookline, so what do you expect?

The treatment of beer is perfect - right glass, always in tip-top shape. Beer memorbilia fills the walls and suggested beer pairings on the fancy menus gives beer the ultimate appreciation.

Service has always been great, very friendly and not overbearing.

Selection of beer is at about 24 taps and maybe 200 bottles. Changes just enough so that there are always a few I haven't tried.

The food is very nice (R.I.P. the pickle and the beans), and at a pretty reasonable price. The chef there invents some crazy plates that always are great. The food/beer at a beer dinner that I went to here ranks as my favorite meal ever.

I just cannot imagine a more perfect place.

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Photo of Denali
3.53/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of commie
4.13/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love a lot of the beers they choose to serve at this place, so even though they don't have the largest selection in town, I still consider their beer selection to be exceptional. They have beers that you will not see anywhere else in New England. The quality of the beer they serve is second to none. This place is often too crowded, and for me, that puts a damper on things. I don't like being nudged around, and that sometimes happens, and conversely, I don't like it when I have to resort to nudging people out of the way to get another beer. I often have to wait a while for a beer at this place, and while I don't blame the staff because they are so packed, it still means that I sometimes don't get the best service. I did go there rather early one night before the regular crowd shuffled in, and the service was better, but most of the time that I go there, it is already crowded. Their beer prices aren't the cheapest around, but they aren't too bad. The food is pricier than average, but it was exceptional.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

i've been here a few times and finally got aournd to reviewing it tonight. my girlfriend, roomate and i stopped here after work tonight to watch the sox. we made sure to get there by 7, because this place fills up pretty quickly on a friday night. we each ordered a beer and in 10 minutes or so secured ourself a table.
the Publick House has 27 taps all containing fresh quality selections. tongiht there were 5+ belgians (fantome pissenlit, etc.), 15+ regional/domestics (dogfish head, ommegang, CBC, bear republic, harpoon [triticus], just to name a few). they also had probably 150+ bottles to choose from.
i've only been here on relatively peak times but the service is always relatively prompt and courteous, very adequate. the atmosphere is good with a lot of breweriana covering the walls and a very cozy, rustic old school feel.
both the food and beer here are pretty expensive, but i suppose you get what you pay for, i've never had a beer here that was not in the proper glassware and in very good condition as far as freshness is concerned, and i've never had a meal that was less than very good.
to address a couple of the previous reviews, i didn't feel rushed at all, i had 4 beers, a sandwich and a cup of chowder over 8 innings (it was apparent we were going to win after 8). over this time we spent less than $100, and were (rightfully so) allowed to have a leisurely dinner while watching the game, and no attempt was made to hurry us out for more high paying customers.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.35/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

bad service? go when its less busy. come on now people!

located in beautiful downtown brookline (heh) this place is easy to spot, whether it was the old chimay sign, or the sign-of-summer brooklyn beer umbrellas for outdoor seating. good size inside with multi-layered dining area and expansive dark wooden bar. 12-15 seats on the wood.

lots of beer-informative chalkboards covering all aspects of the 20+ tap beers. wonderful selection of brewerania from the spiffy glassware (hitachino ceramic glasses!!?!? sweet.) to the crazy rare beer signs (fat tire to orval).

super knowledgeable staff with great cheese pairing recommendations and progressive beer ideas.. one bartender reminded my greedy eyes that beer X would not follow beer Y very well.. opted for the richer brew with great results.

great de dolle posters.. jealous.

clean place with a nice, chill crowd. too many young YOUNG (out of place) people might be the only negative point.. and this happened on each and every visit. lots of 21 year olds. i was somewhat relieved on this visit when two of them saddled up to the bar and ordered chouffe.

beer selection comes close to moan and dove in its eccentricity and quality.. this trip included triticus, fantome, chouff, great divide, and de dolle. food is good but overpriced, cheese plate (my staple) was so much better before the 'menu change'. this is the one beer must-visit on a boston trip.

again, hit the off hours for the best experience. and dont be afraid to try the lemonade with lindeman's reduction.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Site of the ABF pre-fest party. I arrived in Boston 90mins later than planned (damned airlines!), figured out the "T", dumped my bag at the place I was staying, and jumped back on the "T" for the train ride out to Brookline.
TPH is conveniently located a block away from the Washington Sq. "T" stop so it wasn't hard to find, even in the gathering darkness. Once there, I found myself in a rather cramped, smaller than expected, establishment that had a dinner area off to the right and a rather smallish bar on the left. Tons of beer signs, lights, memorabilia, and paraphenalia adorned the walls. The beers were listed on chalk boards and separated by on-tap and bottled.
A little bit of hooking and jabbing and I got up to the bar. TPH had 20+ taps with the likes of Bear Republic's Racer X, Racer 5, and Hop Rod Rye, Stone AB and Ruination, Smuttynose IPA, Hennepin, Allagash Summer and Wit, Brooklyn pilsener, Concorde Red God IPA, Harpoon Maibock, and Great Divide's Hercules DIPA. Holy shit, where do I start?? Having just flown cross-country and not eaten in over six hours, I started easy with the Brooklyn pils, a pint of which was $4.75, and an order of fries.
The fries were okay but I've had better, and for less. I glanced at the menu and thought things looked a bit expensive. The beers were fairly reasonable. Five bucks a pint was the norm unless you ventured into the 8+% ABV realm. Then you payed more and got a 10oz pour.
The bartenders and waitstaff were kept running all night by the influx of BA's firing off orders at them. They maintained their composure and, while not exactly friendly, were professional and timely in getting orders filled. They were very careful to ensure the correct glassware was used for the appropriate style ordered. As the night wore on and the crowd started thinning out a bit, the staff seemed to relax and got more congenial.
I would have happily stayed longer except I had to catch the last train heading back toward Copley Plaza. There were so many beers and so little time. It's easy to see how The Public House has garnered its reputation. Definitely a bar one must stop at when in Boston.

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Photo of drewbage
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Publick House.. Anam Cara.. whatever you call this place, it is top flight.

A little bit of hike to find for a couple of intrepid BA's working their way back from the Tap before the Belgian Beer Fest.

As we arrived a large table full of the folks I knew from Southern California appeared along with the Bros looking like they were ready for anything to happen.

This is the test of a good beer bar.. could the service handle a massive influx of BA type folks? The staff here did so with ease, food made it out and to the right people despire continuous shuffling of seats.

The beer selection is well chosen and maintained. I'd love to see this place on a quieter, less crazy night, but even still it felt tllike a place for homing oneself.

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Photo of weefisheads
4.35/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Walking into Anam Cara was akin to an art student walking into the Louvre - such anticipation! After reading and hearing all the hype, I felt a visit to the Mecca of Meccas would be well worth the 15 mile detour I had to make, and needless to say my expectations were out of this world!

Is it all it's hytped to be? Could this really be the BEST in the US? Well....

From the outside it's hard to distinguish Anam Cara from any other run of the mill bar Anywhere, USA. Not familiar at all with the neighborhood, I'd descirbe it's location as unimpressive - the kinda place you'd expect to see a Starbucks, but within walking distance of a couple of residential areas.

However, when you walk through the front doors it's obvious this place isn't just another neighborhood bar. At first glance the place has a very Irish bar kinda feeling, and it isn't until you look at the menu and take a good look at the decor that you see there's really nothing Irish about it!

When you enter you're standing in the bar area, and while the place was pretty quite when we entered, there was still no seats available at the bar. Probably all the regulars! Me wife and I headed off to "lower" level and ALMOST got the super cool chairs by the fireplace, but ended up instead in a booth. It seemed like it was trying for a almost a medieval theme, but to me it felt very McMenamin-ish without the unique charm that McMenamin places have...

A look at the menu was all I needed to see to answer any doubts of why folks love this place. Not only were there many, many beers, but each was broken down on the menu by type and the menu was far more informative than most places. While not Brickskeller incredible, the selection still gets a 5 for all of it's "higher end" NE selction and Micros from around the US as well as it's increadible Belgium selection. Even though the first two beers I wanted to try weren't available (very Brickskeller-esque!), I was still able to find three beers on the menu I'd never had and would never get another chance to try.

Service was quite good, but, as I aluded to, besides the folks at the bar and the couple seated in the really comfy chairs, there weren't many folks in the place. However, despite the fact that we had to wait a while between orders, I still give a good score for sevice because our server was not only able to answer my questions effectively, but also able to make some very informed recommendations. Props to the place for educating the line staff!

The lowest score for the place was for food, though this really is based just upon what my wife ate (and was underwhelmed by) and the fries that I had that were very...er...soggy and bland. However, the menu looked very promising and I regret that I couldn't try more.

Overall, Anam Cara is a very worthy destination to seek out. Whether a Belgium Beer fan or just an enthusiast of great US beers, the Anam Cara has it.

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Photo of cracker
3.19/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

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Photo of travolta
3.86/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

I took my girlfriend and a couple of her friends here with ample excitement. I thought we could all have a great time. i had a wonderful time, but it seems I was the only one, but I digress. When we first arrived i was struck by the atmosphere. You feel as though you are in a celtic chapel for beer. It was like being in a church for beer. The service was as good as it was going to be for a young busy bartender, but still I was not impressed. The selection is the best of any bar I have ever been to. It is always nice to see something on the menu you have always wanted to try, and it seems they have something like this for everyone. The company I was with was not impressed with the beer, but they drink Coors Light. So I will not place that into my judgement. They are, however, women and as women they are very observant. I did not pay any attention to the crowd inside the bar, but my girlfriend and her friends did. According to them, the crowd was "nerdy". As I looked around, I saw an interesting, but not diverse group of customers. While there I felt as if i did not belong, I should come back more to eleviate that feeling. the posters of beer which adorn the walls are great! Maybe this is a members only type of establishment, but to be honest, whether that is true or not will not keep me from coming back. I will be back for sure. You should at least give it one shot, you deserve it.

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The Publick House in Brookline, MA
4.44 out of 5 based on 357 ratings.
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