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“Interesting place”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Brian Boru

Brian Boru
Ranked #229 of 607 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: Bar, Pub, American, Irish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Drinks, Dinner, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Television, Waitstaff
Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
80 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Interesting place”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 August 2013

We stopped here on a Sunday late morning after visiting the art show on Congress Street. The bartender was really friendly offering suggestions of local attractions including the Flea-for-All. This was such a cool place that we never would have found otherwise. The $2 Bloody Mary is really tasty and could really be a problem if I lived to close to this place. The atmosphere is laid back and you feel like a friend upon entrance. The addition of everyone's very well behaved dogs is really cool too. This is a special place.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank lesky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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63 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Chesterfield, New Jersey
Level Contributor
117 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Must stop”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2013

On a recent business trip, a colleague I was traveling with introduced me to the Brian Boru on Center Street of Portland. Our visit was on a Sunday, later in the afternoon. The BB sits by itself on Center Street which makes it easy to find. And if you still can't find it, look for the old, very bright red building with an enormous toucan bird on the side.
Upon entering, the bar sits to the left, there is an upstairs as well as a patio. We lucked-out and got 2 seats on the ground floor at one of the picnic tables that run along the left wall after the bar. If you are claustrophobic or have social anxiety, you may want to opt for the patio because the ground floor gets cozy and a bit crowded. The entire building is only about 25 feet wide by maybe 90 feet long (I think I'm being generous.)
There were many drink specials going on that started and expired throughout the day. The $2 Bloody Mary sounded great to me until the waiter told me it expired at 3 PM. Oh well, I went with the $3 Guinness. I do have to agree with other reviews, the Guinness was lacking something though I can't put my finger on it. There were numerous other local as well as import selections to choose from should you desire. To accompany my Guinness, I was tossing a coin between the fish and chips or the bangers and mash. I asked our waiter and he said both were good and proceeded to ask me of my hunger. I informed him that I was quite hungry so he suggested the bangers and mash. GREAT SUGGESTION!!!!!! The bangers (sausages) were homemade and placed over homemade mashed potatoes covered in a Guinness gravy with sauteed onions. PERFECT!!!!!! Not only was it unbelievably tasty, it also filled me just right and didn't leave a huge lump in my stomach. My colleague had the shepherd's pie which he informed me he always has. It was a nice melange of potatoes, vegetables and beef.
I did see the fish and chips entree pass me during my visit and I'm sure I would have been very happy with that selection as well. For a starter, we both had the seafood chowder, which had haddock, shrimp, and scallops in a potato broth. It was good, but nothing mind blowing.
In the back of the bar, a group of about 10-15 musicians got together (as they supposedly do every Sunday) to play Irish music. I'm not sure if they are organized or just independents that like to show up and play. They were very good, which leads me to believe they rehearse together. As we enjoyed our meals, the BB filled up quickly. My only complaint was 1 waiter. He did a great job, but with the tight space and growing crowd, he really needed a bit of help in my opinion. So overall, a visit to the BB is definitely time and money well spent, especially on a Sunday with numerous specials as well as free entertainment.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FlyGuy12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
26 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Second Time A Disappointment”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2013

After having had a terrific experience at Brian Boru in December, my wife and I went there for lunch on 4/24.. It was a very different experience.

First of all, the chicken and mushroom pie, which was thoroughly enjoyed on my last visit, has been discontinued for two months, although it is still listed on their menu.

I have had, and enjoyed very much, their corned beef Rueben, and ordered that instead. What a mistake that turned out to be. What used to be one of the very best in Portland, is now one of the very worst. The bread was not buttered and browned on a griddle. Instead, it was placed dry in an oven. The result was dry, flavorless and brittle bread. Every time I took a bite the bread would shatter and crumbs would fall onto the plate. It took any enjoyment that there might have been out of the sandwich and it was well noted that the amount of corned beef in the sandwich has been reduced over the years.

I just can't figure out how an Irish Pub like Brian Boru, which has made a tremendous Reuben for years, can now offer something like this. As Doctor Watson once said to Sherlock Holmes after tasting a stew Holmes had made, "it is really quite disgusting".

In order to say something positive - the fries were good.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank WinterHawk44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Suffield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
79 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A relaxing trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2013

Decided to bring a friend to Brian Boru for the first time. Did not get a chance to show him the upstairs (private party) but the bar was relaxing. We found the bar cribbage board and had a relaxing time over a few beers. Always a stop in the Old Port.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EJP1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
26 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great After Christmas Lunch”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 December 2012

I have been to Brian Boru many times over the years but this is the first time since they brought in a new chef and new menu. The new menu is significantly better and I had trouble deciding what to have for lunch on a cold winters afternoon. The Bangers and Mash looked really inviting as did the Shepherds Pie, but I finally settled on the Chicken and Portebello Pie.

The Chicken and Portebello Pie is a generous offering of chunks on chicken and Portebello mushrooms with onion and carrot in a very flavorful cream sauce topped with Cheddar crumbs and baked. At $11.00 it was a true value and definitely took the chill off of a cold late December afternoon.

I will have to start going back more often to sample more of their new offerings. My daughter had a very good looking haddock sandwich. There were two pieces of haddock on large slices of bread topped with tomato and lettuce and hand cut fries with the skins left on for a side.

If you are looking for a good lunch and good vale in the Old Port, give Bruan Boru a try. Be sure to check the specials of the day listed on the chalk board.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank WinterHawk44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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