Brian Boru

Your Rating: None
Brian BoruBrian Boru
Very Good
19 Ratings
Brian BoruBrian Boru

Type: Bar, Eatery

57 Center St
Portland, Maine, 04101-3901
United States

(207) 780-1506 | map

None provided.

View: Place Reviews
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by stonytokes:
Photo of stonytokes
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of coombski
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of Usaexercise7
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Great vibe!!! Great Irish pub!

31 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of j_hollings13
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of snowmageddon
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of cphughes
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of TheRealPour
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of hockeypuck
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of John_M
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Stopped by today for a pint...

BB looks pretty interesting from the outside, consisting of a good size, two story red building with an outside deck area. Inside it's your pretty typical faux Irish pub, with lots of brick and wood all around. The place has a very informal, relaxed vibe, and it seemed like a nice place to hang with a beer or three.

With regard to the beer selection, my 3.5 score is proabably generous. BB has 12 craft beers on tap, which includes the usual slew of macros from great britain (guinness, bass, harp and smithwicks). Otherwise, they had a couple of beers from Geary and shipyard, a samuel adams seasonal, allagash white and the long trail IPA (which I ended up getting by default). They also had around 20 bottled beers as well, but it's not anything anyone would ever want to buy or drink (bmc swill, corona, heineken, etc.). There's also a local cider on tap and PBR. To say I was a bit underwhelmed by the selection here would be an understatement.

Service was OK. I didn't get the impression anyone had a whole lot of beer savvy (but then, given the selection, why would they need any), but everyone was friendly enough. Prices were decent, with my IPA going for $4.25. There was a band playing pretty much your typical Irish standards on this particular day, and there seemed to be a fair crowd enjoying the music (which is probably the only thing that would explain the modest crowd this Sunday afternoon).

I don't mean to sound snarky, but it's pretty hard for me to understand the attraction of BB. Faux Irish pubs are a dime a dozen these days (certainly there are plenty of them in Portland), and I saw nothing otherwise on tap or bottle to distinguish BB from any other faux Irish pub I've been to. Can't imagine any reason why I'd ever want to go here again.

 1,805 characters

Photo of berley31
3.34/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Been here twice now, once on a weeknight and another on a weekend evening. The beer selection is decent; some of your standard Irish selections, and then some Maine beers on tap. Some bottles that looked pretty good as well. Didn't try the food at either time.

The difference in atmosphere and service varied widely, however. The weeknight we were there was quite slow, of course, and the bartender was friendly and informative, and the place in general was warm and inviting. The Saturday evening, however, was PACKED with people and it was extremely noisy. I know this is normal, probably, for a Saturday, but it was a much younger crowd... every couple there looked like they were dressing to impress the other, and trying to shout louder than everyone else. Service was pretty inattentive and distracted, as well, but could have been because they were so busy.

Anyway, worth checking out... but try to hit it on a slower night.

 933 characters

Photo of indiapaleale
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Brian Boru is a pretty sweet little pub to hang out in on a random night but it gets even better when there is live music or some sort of event like Halloween or the like.

Decent beer selection, don't expect anything too crazy its pretty standard Maine fare like Geary's and Shipyard mixed in with some other decent stuff but nothing amazing and don't expect to find some hard to find Allagash offering.

Food is pretty standard pub fare but still good stuff especially for lunch on the weekends or a quick bite before a nearby Pirates game.

If you are looking for a generic "Oirish" pub in Portland you're better off going to Ri-Ra.

 635 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stumbled onto this place after seeing a concert at Cumberland County Civic Center. Didn't want to try and get out of the madhouse parking situation, so decided to stroll around Portland and grab a drink or two.

We only had drinks since it was around 11-12 at night. The place was packed, which I imagine isn't difficult considering the small size. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, even though is was crowded, the crowd itself was pretty laid back and just having fun. Upstairs had a live band going on, which was where we stayed most of the time. The upstairs is pretty nifty with a balcony of sorts to look down on the entrance area.

There's a larger bar downstairs with the majority of the stuff on tap and a smaller bar upstairs with a limited selection. Because it was pretty popular, expect to be waiting in line to get a beer, especially if you're picky and don't want to get why they have on the limited bar upstairs.

I will caution that if you don't like smaller places (which also means places that are louder), this might not be for you. My girlfriend complained on the size and noise since it was difficult to sit back and talk when compared to some other traditional Irish pubs.

 1,193 characters

Photo of Hibernator
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Brian Boru was part of our mini pub-crawl in Portland’s Old Port area. It was easy to see this place from a good distance with it’s huge outside walls painted in bright red and showcasing a Guinness pelican.

During my experience on this particular Saturday night, the place was packed with people. We headed directly upstairs to check the band out. There was a pretty good band playing some funky/jam/ rock stuff. Most of the people were getting into the music, dancing and enjoying themselves. The atmosphere here creates a nice authentic Irish pub experience with various Celtic designs.

As far as the beer selection goes, my experience was pretty limited. My friend told me the selection downstairs is a tad better and more extensive. I think they have Allagash White on tap at the downstairs bar. There was around 10 taps upstairs and most of the beer was marco beer uninteresting stuff with the only exception possibly being Widmer Hefeweizen. Bottle selection is more of the same, but Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was a saving grace for me. You can obviously bank on a fresh pint of Guinness too.

I was glad we stopped by for a little bit. We had the chance to enjoy some good live music with no cover, which is a unique experience living in Boston. I’d like to return again to try the food when things aren’t as busy on a weekend night.

 1,353 characters

Photo of mdavis31481
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

While living in Maine Brian Boru became my regular destination for a pint of Geary's Hampshire Special Ale in the winter and Allagash White in the summer. The establishment is Irish all the way.

As you enter you are greeted by not only a fellow checking IDs, but stairs as well. The stairs lead to an upstairs bar and an outdoor patio. In addition the upstairs area often hosts live music. I was a frequent guest on Reggae Thursdays. The downstairs bar is to the left as you enter. The selection is a tad more extensive here. Many Maine micros can be found on tap. Most of the macro fare is found bottled. Beyond the bar are many large wood picnic style tables that are often filled during the winter months. They find little patronage as the weather warms. Both the upstairs patio and a downstairs open-air area are hot destinations during the all too short Maine summer.

I found the service at Boru's to be quite friendly. In fact, after only a few Thursday visits bartender Jeff recalled my regular order. Allagash White, no fruit. This proved convenient and ingratiating.

While the selection at Boru's does not separate it from myriad other Old Port bars the service and atmosphere do. Boru's should certainly be a destination for anyone visiting Portland.

 1,265 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Solid across the board. Impossible to miss bright red bulding toward the water, and right near the old port bars/brewpubs. Atmosphere is nice inside as well with a very Irish feeling vibe going on, but not in a fake/cheesy way, quite authentic to this BA, and i've been to Ireland. Quality of the brews is good, and they are cheap here as well (most places in Portland are, thankfully!). Service was fast and with a smile and the tap selection seemed to be half Maine micros and half Irish and US macros. I met Rob Todd here dowing a few Allagash whites before getting back to the brewery nearby. Quality control, cool. They do food I think, but I did not see any or try any as I was full. This was a nice place on an empty afternoon, but I could see it getting pretty full most nights, especially with their great prices.

 822 characters

Photo of Hobbz
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Not at all a bad Irish bar in which to enjoy some suds (or outside on nice days, but these were all taken up, even at this early Sunday hour that we were strolling in). Was nice to find that the Guinness & Bass was only $2, and some of my compadres took up on this, while I waited until after some local pours. Was not overly busy nor smokey at this hour, and managed to talk with a couple of real beer enthusiasts -- one local chap and a more "venturist" one like me. A good choice overall to stop by here (and in lieu of the $3 dewey place which we went to last year, but didn't have the time this time around).

 613 characters

Photo of ecoboy
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Reasons to go to Brian Boru rather than another beer purveyor in Portland:

1. You're going on a Sunday afternoon, when Guinness, Harp and Bass are $2 a pint.

2. You're going on a Sunday afternoon, and the thought of a pick up group of fiddlers, guitarists, bohdran(ists?) making merry would make your pint taste better.

3. It's summer and you want an experience on one of the best outdoors decks in Maine that doesn't overlook the water.

4. You're a smoker and will want a smoke-friendly experience.

5. You're a professional over 30, and want a more "adult" pub experience.

The taps at Boru are really not that much better of a selection than many places around town. But the building and its people make it a regular after-softball stop for this BA.

 768 characters

Photo of bennybrew
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

here is a fine irish style bar neear the old port in portland. they have about 15 beers on tap and several more in bottles as well as a full bar. most beers are maine micros but as they are an irish bar they have guiness, harp, bass, and some cider. you can get a black and tan (guiness and bass) or a half black (guiness and harp). the night i went they had geary's hampshire special ale on for $2 a pint. smoking is allowed in certain parts of the bar, unlike most maine bars. it is in a two story building so there's plenty of room. it is all post and beam and quite nice. not just superficial irisih decorations. often they have irsih bands playing. the beers are good quality and the service is decent even when its busy. food is not to die for but pretty good. after you go to the bear this should be your next stop on your way to the old port.

 850 characters

Brian Boru in Portland, ME
Place rating: 3.84 out of 5 with 19 ratings