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The Portman, W1

51 Upper Berkeley Street
Phone: 02077238996

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Tris C left this review about The Portman

Yet again, a place dating from the late 18th century, rebuilt around 100 years later, this was the Mason’s Arms until the current name arrived in 2010.
This place is hugely different from the neighbouring Carpenter’s and Beehive, in that as it’s very food orientated, most people were munching the mainstay that is the burger, at rather modern tables. The floor is narrow boarded with an island bar, with roundel panels being quite ornate; the pot shelf is a modern metal wire gantry affair. Walls are mushroom coloured, much covered with large framed modern art prints; lighting comes from Victorian-style sconces, music played at a moderate level.
The staff weren’t that accommodating – on entry, a barmaid emerged from behind the bar to direct me to a table, but agreed that I could just have a drink; in fact, some other customers were just drinking, on the other side of the bar. Two pumps were off, the other two being recently revived Allsopp’s Pale or IPA at £2.60 a half and rather nice it was too; I wonder if Kirsty gets a royalty?
This won’t appeal to the hardened traditionalist, but compared to the social hell at the Carpenter’s and Beehive, this was an oasis of calm, serving up a decent ale; I know where I’d prefer to drink if in the immediate vicinity.

On 22nd October 2021 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1294 recommendations about 1273 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

custodian 42 left this review about The Portman

Corner pub with the bar in the middle. Four real ales but nothing above 4.5% ABV.

On 28th February 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1693 recommendations about 1691 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Portman

I admit to being a bit confused at first as I expected to find The Mason's Arms here, I was unaware of the name change. It felt vaguely familiar on entering then the penny dropped. Most of the ground floor bar area is taken up by the central island, there are a few regular tables plus a pair of drinking shelves. Boarded flooring, large metal framed windows with semi-circular tilt opening top lights, white Lincrusta type ceiling with fans, papers in a rack, arty prints, a framed map of the area. TVs were showing muted BBC news with subtitles.
Rather foody now with a fancy menu, terrine of foie gras, chicken mousse, black pudding and toasted sourdough.....what the hell is that about? Braised rabbit ragout pappardelle, tomato and parmesan, £15.95. Plenty were eating it, I wouldn't know where to start.
The beer selection has possibly improved from H&W, two handpumps either side of the bar, St Austell Proper Job, Landlord, Marlow Rebellion Blonde and Charles Wells/Dogfish DNA. My Proper Job came in a fluted glass.
Certainly not the pub it was, but the beer choice has for me improved. I never have ventured upstairs btw so I don't know what else there is.

On 25th May 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1690 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Portman

Was once a friendly little corner pub called the Masons Arms, even if the Hall & Woodhouse beers were not to everbody's taste. Refurbished and re-named the Portman, it retains almost none of its original character and atmosphere. Small island bar, with probably more seating space out on the pavement than inside. Upstairs restaurant (not visited). Three handpumps, offering Pride, Marlow Rebellion IPA and Truman's Swallow & Swift (£3.80). Overall, a two-point downgrade for its new incarnation. (NB - Review dates from July 2012.)

On 16th February 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6591 recommendations about 6591 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about The Portman

A smallish street corner pub just a stone’s throw from Edgeware Road. There’s a surprisingly large (in relation to the overall size of the pub) central bar area, with seating around the perimeter. In common with many of the pubs around here, the décor is mostly wood.

Unfortunately I’m unable to leave much in the way of a detailed review, as on our first visit we were after something to eat and there was no spare tables in the downstairs bar. We therefore went upstairs to the restaurant which is quite a contrast. It looks recently renovated and has a “fine dining” appearance to it although the actual menu is shared with the pub downstairs. This was very quiet, with only two other punters in there. From perusing the menu outside there seemed to be a good selection of dishes, although with most main courses being in the £10 - £12 range, it’s a step up from your normal “pub grub”. By the time you’ve added a vegetable side dish, a couple of glasses of wine and been hit with a 12½% service charge, the bill soon adds up (whether the service charge is payable downstairs I’m not sure). The food was decent enough though, and the waitress pleasant and friendly, even if she did have the rather annoying habit of incorporating “No problem” in to every single sentence.

Our second attempt at a visit just to enjoy a pint was at around 10:40pm on a Saturday evening. On this occasion they seemed to be just about shut, with all the chairs stacked on to the tables, and just three people stood watching the TV. I assume these were all staff, as one had a bag of rubbish in his hand, so we decided to go just down the road to the all together more welcoming Carpenter’s Arms.

On 29th March 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1771 recommendations about 1701 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about The Portman

The Masons Arms has reopened under the moniker of The Portman.

On 12th October 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3599 recommendations about 3579 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about Masons Arms

Hall & Woodhouse beers, not always my favourite but acceptable and at least a bit different around here. Badger First Gold and I assume seasonal Pickled Partridge on. £2-40 for First Gold, good value for central London. Two (gas coal effect) roaring fires, wood panelled walls, newspapers in a rack at the bar. Not much seating but a sign indicates more available in an upstairs room. Decent boozer worth a visit.

On 31st January 2008 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1690 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Portman

I had a drop of Badger First Gold which was excellent. They also had Stinger on. This pub has a central bear, with some seating, but seemed to me to be the sort of pub for propping up the bar. Plenty of dark wood gives it an old feel. I don't know the provenance of this pub, but there is a sign outside that says its cellars were originally cells used for the temporary incarceration of those unfortunates waiting to dance the hempen jig at Tyburn. I quite liked this pub, and will drop in again if I am in the area.

On 13th July 2007 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2590 recommendations about 2504 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about Masons Arms

This is a traditional corner pub with a selection of ales and standard draught. I went in with the misses on Friday afternoon and ordered a pint of Fosters (I think) and a cheese sandwich and a BLT baguette. The sandwich and the baguette were both stale and the bacon tasted of fish. The menu was mainly Thai and in hindsight I should have ordered some of that as it looked quite good. My first pint wasn't the greatest and was served, in a glass with lipstick around the rim, by a fairly miserable barmaid; although I was later served by a much chirpier barmaid.
I didn’t think that this was the best pub in the area.

On 5th June 2007 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3599 recommendations about 3579 pubs]

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claira vasquez left this review about Masons Arms

Great little local pub. Friendly atmosphere, staff are good fun. Serves very good food.

On 11th May 2007 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7 recommendations about 7 pubs]