With a diverse assortment of pubs, lodging, movie theaters, spas and event spaces throughout Washington and Oregon, no two McMenamins’ spaces are the same. Since its founding in 1983 by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin, the company famous for resurrecting and transforming cool old buildings, has grown from one pub in Portland, Ore., to 54 locations. All provide a casual, relaxed atmosphere where people of all ages are welcome and regulars are common. Its focus on creative community gathering spots, spectacular concert venues, art, vintage fixtures, herb and vegetable gardens, and historic buildings draw loyal fans and admirers from far and wide. Independently owned, McMenamins continues to earn recognition for its reimagining of historic properties and artistic restorations that spotlight local heritage and bolster tourism.
McMenamins has completed many historic renovations over the years, but possibly the best known was the county poor farm in Troutdale, Ore., just 20 minutes from downtown Portland. Converted into a destination resort known as Edgefield, the 74-acre property now includes distinctive lodging, bars, restaurants, spa, soaking pool, premier outdoor concert venue, meeting and event space, brewery, winery, distillery, golf and gardens.
Most similar to the Elks Lodge project is McMenamins Crystal Hotel located in downtown Portland across the street from the legendary Crystal Ballroom. This neighborhood gathering place offers rock n’ roll themed guest rooms and live music. Food and beverage from the Zeus Café restaurant throughout the property. Hotel stays include admission to the soaking pool and the opportunity to purchase tickets to a Crystal Ballroom show. Both are premier Oregon attractions and vital community hubs.
Seventeen years ago, McMenamins opened its Kennedy School – a formerly abandoned and condemned public elementary school – in Portland’s Concordia neighborhood, creating a gathering place for locals by offering neighbors use of the meeting space, soaking pool and community garden at no cost. Popularity of the Kennedy School ultimately fostered additional real estate development, attracting a popular natural foods grocery store, creating demand for infill housing and fueling growth of the Concordia and nearby Alberta retail districts. It's a magnet drawing tourists from all over the world fascinated by the notion of willfully spending time in the Detention Bar and falling asleep in class. Demand for Kennedy School overnight lodging was so high that a two-story wing with 22 rooms was added in 2012 to boost capacity.
Nearly two decades after Kennedy School opened, McMenamins did it again with the renovation of the historic Anderson School in Bothell, Wash., the company’s first ever crowd funded project. Adjacent to a planned city center and new City Hall on the main highway leading into Bothell, the Anderson School is part of the City’s revitalization plan. The historic school built in 1931 as Bothell Junior High School has been reimagined as a mixed-use gathering place and iconic Pacific Northwest travel destination, filling a neighborhood need for a family-friendly brewpub, theater, live music venue. Local history comes to life through original site-specific artwork in hallways and hotel rooms, friends meet for movies and beer made onsite, community green space reconnects the property with Horse Creek, and City of Bothell residents use the soaking/swimming pool and dedicated community room at no cost.