The Portland Public House
This Kingsland local prides itself on craft cocktails, simple burgers and curated local music.
A good watering hole can become the heart of a suburb, helping to shape its mood or sense of identity. Grey Lynn has the meticulously dishevelled elegance of yesteryear in The Gypsy Tea Room, K' Road has the grimy hustle of the Wine Cellar and Kingsland has the retro flair of The Portland Public House.
Over the last few years, Kingsland has evolved from hip up-and-coming suburb to established inner city suburb, packed with obligatory boutique cafes and artisanal gift shops. Through this metamorphosis, The Portland Public House's laid back vibe has been a stabilizing force.
From the menu to the decor, there is a focus on simplicity, quality and comfort. Retro couches and chairs are scattered throughout, while small tables dotted around invite for intimate conversations. The added touches of using swappa crates to house their considerable spirit collection and repurposed timber walls only further the sense that this is an establishment that truly feels like home.
The drinks list has a strong focus on craft beer and cocktails created using local spirits. An off-menu negroni had the perfect amount of bite, while a Mango Madness converted my usually bitter palate with its nuanced fruitiness (its insta-worthiness is but a bonus). The Portland Public House will soon be revamping its cocktail menu to include a cocktail made with Aquafaba (a vegan egg substitute).
When not slinging cocktails, The Portland Public House has also made a name for itself with its burgers. Rather than getting too tricksy, the kitchen focuses on simple, quality ingredients cooked to perfection, offering a welcome respite in the era of 'freak burgers'. The fried chicken burger was well seasoned and moist, while the mango salsa and sriracha slaw brought just the right amount of sweet and spice. While the Angus beef burger was a hearty morsel. Both came with a side of fries for $12, but if your wallet is a little light, you can grab a burger for $6 between Monday and Friday, 4–6pm. The meal was rounded off with a luscious chocolate brownie paired with decadent Kapiti ice cream. And much like the cocktail menu, the food menu is being transformed. While the ever-popular burgers and pizzas will remain, there will be more vegan options available, highlighting The Portland Public House's commitment to serving an increasingly diverse palate.
Not only does the venue have a cracking, no-nonsense food and beverage menu, it also plays host to a variety of musical and comedic events. So whether you're after a cheeky after work bevvie and burger, a couple of cocktails and a concert, or a few laughs with some mates, there's always a seat at Portland Public House.