The Press Room

The Press RoomThe Press Room
The Press RoomThe Press Room
Bar, Eatery

77 Daniel St
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801-3810
United States

(603) 431-5186 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 23 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

This place has an old dive bar vibe. The bar tender was very friendly. They had about a dozen beers on tap that ranged from MCB to local craft options. they also have liquor and food. We stopped in when they were having a live jazz band lunch.

Mar 27, 2017
Photo of libeer4182
libeer4182 from New Hampshire

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

The Press Room is one of Portsmouth's most well-known local hangouts. You're sure to find a good crowd of locals in here on any night of the year.

People have always come here for the atmosphere and live music. Lots of friendly people hanging out at the bar or sitting at the tables scattered throughout the first floor. I'm not usually a fan of live music at bars, but I do like the jazz nights here. Great music that makes for nice background noise and doesn't leave you straining to hear the person next to you.

This is one of the most quality establishments in Portsmouth. If I was going to hang out anywhere in this town, short of the Brewery this is the place. You don't have to worry about the fratty crowd that can sometimes pervade some Portsmouth establishments here.

Service is usually pretty good, but I've found service is better if you're local and they know you and can be a bit standoffish if you're not or they don't.

As for selection, The Press Room has really stepped up their craft beer program. The older reviews here are not really representative of what's been happening here for the past year. I want to say they have somewhere in the range of 12-15 taps, but here's a sampling of things I've had in the past six months: Maine Beer Lunch, Allagash Four, Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout, Founders Imperial Stout, Sixpoint Spice of Life Riwaka and Resin, North Coast Brother Thelonious. This is also one of the few places where you can find Moat Mountain on draft and you'll always find something from Smuttynose.

The food here is average bar food. To be honest, with so many restaurants in Portsmouth I would not recommend them for dinner, but if you're looking to have a couple of beers, maybe an app and enjoy some great live jazz and good conversation, this is the place.

May 13, 2013
Photo of SevaTse
SevaTse from New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Without a doubt more of a music venue with an atmosphere you can't beat with some decent beers, rather than a beer bar with live music. They have live music most nights of the week, if you check the schedule.

The second floor interior is one of the coziest places for miles and I have seen many a great local band play here through the years. For selection you can always count on stuff like Smuttynose and Guinness, and I seem to remember them having Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap before. The crowd is also pretty chill and mellow. Not a beer destination by any means, but if you happen to be here, as a BA you will not be disappointed.

11/19/11 update:

lots of much better stuff on tap and in bottles. Rogue Dead Guy, Stone IPA to name a couple for taps, and Wells Banana Bread and Young's Double Chocolate Stout for bottles. Not bad.

Sep 18, 2011
Photo of pburland23
pburland23 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Press Room is my favorite bar in Portsmouth. It's a neighborhood joint in the center of town that caters to a more laid-back, mature crowd.

I recently stopped in on a Saturday night and the bar was about 2/3rds full and very lively. There was a Texas folk band playing upstairs, but we ended up sitting downstairs.

The beer selection is pretty good. Nothing is going to blow you away, but there are plenty of good choices. I had a Smutty Big A which was served in a Smutty Big Beer Series bubble glass. I always like drinking beer from the appropriate glassware and was happy to see this attention to detail.

The service was quite prompt. There seemed to be one waitress working the whole downstairs bar area and she was on top of everything and quite friendly.

All in all, Press Room is a great, quiet little pub to pop into for a pint of good beer and conversation. It's not the spot for an raucous night out and that's what I like about it.

Mar 15, 2011
Photo of arktos
arktos from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

01/29/11 - Visited early Saturday evening before crowds started packing the place. Nice hole in the wall pub. Cozy/warm brick and wood local bar. We showed up before the live entertainment so we never made it upstairs, but downstairs was comfortable. I didn't eat but wife had the fish and chips and said was pretty good. Decent amount of 12oz bottle offerings.

On Tap: Sam Adams Winter, Moat Mountain Brown, Moat Czech Pilsener, Smuttynose Robust Porter / Big IPA / Shoals, Allagash White, Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Bass, Harpoon, Pabst, Guinness, Stone IPA.

22oz Bottles: Berkshire Draymans Porter, Berkshire Steel Rail Pale Ale, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and Smuttynose Baltic Porter.

Feb 02, 2011
Photo of Hibernator
Hibernator from Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I went up to Portsmouth this weekend with a few friends and we ended up going to the Press Room on Friday and Saturday night. The main draw for us was the live music, which was really good during both visits.

I really liked the atmosphere here. The spacious building is very old and has a rustic feel to it. There is a downstairs area with a bar and is more conducive to hanging out and socializing. The upstairs area is where it's at, featuring live music seven nights a week.

The beer selection is average to slightly above average, especially given some of the competition of other bars in downtown Portsmouth. You can expect European staples like Guinness and Bass, a Smuttynose offering and some other beers. I had a few Harpoon IPA's that were fresh.

We shared some appetizers and had the wings and the Irish Nachos, that were fried potato wedges with bacon, onion and melted cheese.

Definitely a cool place to check out a good band and enjoy some beers.

Aug 30, 2010
Photo of Imstillthegman
Imstillthegman from Delaware

3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped in during my mini pub crawl in Portsmouth. Very "local" type of place. Sat at the downstairs bar, but they appeared to have an upstairs area, also. Sat alongside a couple of locals and had a very quick and pleasant bartender serving us. The beer selection isn't something you would search out this place for. They had some locals on-tap as well as some standards you would expect to see...PBR anyone? The crowd was much lighter here than the other places we visited this particular Saturday night. Could be because it is more of a locals type of place or because it isn't on the main drag. If you want to sit and enjoy a drink in a quite, homey place, then this is your spot. Just don't expect to get some sough after beer...

Mar 09, 2010
Photo of FrankLloydMike
FrankLloydMike from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Three years ago, I was walking around Portsmouth with my mother, stopping in Guliver's for travel material for an upcoming semester in Berlin, when we decided to take a break for an early afternoon half-pint in the Press Room. We sat at the downstairs bar, with the mid-August light streaming through the tall windows, and we each had half a pint of Portsmouth Lager while an old man vigorously played piano.

I've loved the venerable old haunt on Daniel Street since shortly after I was able to drink. The Press Room, as the last poster mentioned, isn't much of a good beer haven. Much less a rare beer haven. It's a small, cozy, old place that features a fairly standard lineup with the requisite Portsmouth beers (Smuttynose, Redhook) on hand as well. In terms of beer there's nothing you can't find elsewhere in town, but the atmosphere, the sense of community here is what makes it special.

There's something especially nice about having a local beer in a two-hundred-year-old building, whether you're sitting in the crowded downstairs bar next to the woodstove, or if you've climbed the winding wooden staircase to the open, brick-walled second floor where the band plays. There's something nice about a bar that invites a talented older man to stop by to play piano for its patrons in the middle of the day.

They've also recently added a Moat Mountain tap, and that's made me love the place all the more. They were serving the Czech Pils on the still-new tap when I was in over Christmas, and it was as crisp, fresh and delicious as in North Conway. The server loved it and said the patrons felt the same.

edit [12/06/2010]: I just bumped the selection score up from 3.0 to 4.0. A recent visit offered proof of big improvements in the selection here. It's still not a long tap (or bottle) list, but it's heavy on locals with a nice range of excellent, fresh, approachable beers. There were three or four Smuttynose taps, including the freshest Big A I've tried yet, as well as two Moat taps and an Allagash tap, for instance, on my last visit. Of course, there are other offerings, but those were the standouts for me. Also new were the Berkshire bombers, a very welcome addition. I'd love to see a Berkshire tap, a Redhook specialty offering, a Prodigal and maybe even White Birch on tap or bottle in the future. For now though, the progress in improved beer offerings here has made it go from a place I really enjoy but don't seek out for beer to one a top destination when in town. Not to mention that at 4:30 on a Saturday, all the beers (including Big A) were $3.00!

Mar 03, 2010
Photo of ElGallo
ElGallo from New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

This is a great stop on a Portsmouth pub crawl. If you're a true BA, you will not be impressed by the beer selection - you might find one or two drafts that interest you, but that's about it. Nevertheless, this is a local favorite with good affordable food, top-notch live music upstairs, and good conversation in a cool atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit. It can get very crowded Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, but what's wrong with being shoulder-to-shoulder with a mysterious stranger who wants your Guinness in her Bass. Yep, I'm going to hell some day.

Jan 27, 2010
Photo of cdmastro
cdmastro from Massachusetts

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

This was the first stop on our version of a pub crawl. (3 places between 6:30 and 9:30, we are 50ish for goodness sake!)

The place was loud and lively at 6:30. We snagged the last 2 seats at the bar and were served promptly. Beer selection was fair, but the only miros were Smuttynose Robust Porter and Hampshire Special Ale (Geary's?). We tried the Smutty and a Smithwicks.

Our friendly bar neighbors filled us in on the Celtic jam session that was taking place. A Friday afternoon/evening tradition. It was an upbeat scene and the place had a good vibe. When these chatty neighbors left, they were replaced by another friendly couple. The "tourist radar" seems to be strong in Portsmouth.

Nov 10, 2008
Photo of JimFalzone
JimFalzone from Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This is a great place to meet up with other folks before you start a Portsmouth Pub Crawl.

I've only been there 5 or 6 times, but always managed to get a seat (early in the night). And it's one of those places where if your friends show up on time, you can easily leave after one beer. You don't have to wait an hour for a waitress. Or if your friends are running late, you would have no problem hanging around for a couple beers.

The selection was pretty good when i was there. I've had Guiness, Sierra Nevada, Red Hook, and Bass. I have had some appetizers that were tasty but not exceptional. There are a lot better places in Portsmouth for food.

The building itself, is worth a stop because of it's age and authenticity. It's fun just to look around.

I imagine it gets pretty rockin' when the bands start at night, but I have usually moved on to other haunts before that begins.

Jan 08, 2007
Photo of rbowser
rbowser from New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

In reading the reviews here they did not quite capture the essential press room experience. The important point to understand is that this is a local bar in a tourist town. It can both be very friendly and standoffish depending on whether you too are a local. Having been here once a week for a few years I have embarrassingly seen visitors treated with substandard service on occasion. The bar staff might decide that your non-egalitarian “hey get me a drink servant attitude” demands inattention on their part. The bartenders are long standing and someone like Heather can decide if you drink ever again in “the” local bar. It should be noted my best friend (who has good taste) loves this bar as every night is like a cheers episode for locals. I always enjoy it, it is low key and they have a few decent beers. Service for me is always super. If you like darts, a game is always available.

They do have music every single night and it varies between folk, Jazz, and rock. Music is upstairs and the cover varies. Tuesdays is open mic downstairs and weekends they frequently have some music downstairs as well. On tap always are Guinness, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and about 5 other UK and US Micro taps. It is cozy, old, and casual. The bar is crowded and friendly and there are scattered wooden tables downstairs. The clientele is a cross section of Portsmouth 30+ bar goers. I recommend it for those who seek a little local flavor and a decent but limited beer selection in a old wooden comfy bar. And yes treat Heather right.

Feb 02, 2006
Photo of purplehops
purplehops from Maine

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

One of the older bars in Portsmouth, it's the type of place where you always run into someone you know. I used to drive down from Portland in the early 80's because this was the only bar north of Boston (in the USA) that sold Guinness on tap. When you first enter the bar is to your left, wood booths are in front of you, and tables are toward the back. The staff is friendly and one is generally made to feel at home. The bar keeps 6 - 8 beers on tap and 12 - 15 bottled beers at any given time. Mostly the standards from Portland, Portsmouth, and the major Boston micros as well as the majors. Up stairs is another bar and tables with a stage area for music. There is almost always a cover charge for upstairs. The music is everything in the fields of bluegrass, folk, blues, and jazz. International and national acts have played the Press Room. The downstairs can be very crowded on the weekends and very smokey. The crowd is mostly in their 30's and 40's with a few in their 20's and 50's. The down side to the Press Room is its food. It is a pub style food, but for the most part it is bad pub style food that is greasy, bland, and boring. Eat before you go.

Nov 23, 2002
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
bewareOFpenguin from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Dark, danky and little smokey is what you sense as you enter. There is a bar to the left and seating in front of you. There is a second floor where band play on given nights. The place may look like a dive, but this is the place. They usually have Shipyard, Guiness, Smuttynose, etc. on tap. The food is standard pub fare. The building once was the home to the local paper. Everyone who lives and drinks in Portsmouth has had at least one beer in here. Every city has one bar like this. Fridays usually feature a bunch of drunk guys singing Irish tunes in the back, untill about 7:00. The bands that play here are usually Jazz bands. The crowd in here is usually post college, although some youths do stagger in.

Sep 30, 2002
The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH
Place rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 23 ratings