Dec 31 2013

SeahorsesThis week, we take a look at one of the McMenamins artists with whom you may or may not be familiar. His name is Miles.

High on the east wall in the Grand Lodge's Compass Theater hangs a colorful, abstract print. The style is unlike anything you've seen in the "McMenamins genre," if you will. This piece called Seahorses has a look and style similar to that of early modernist Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

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Dec 24 2013

K and RGus Van Sant filmed My Own Private Idaho (1991) in Portland as a surreal character study about the friendship between two male hustlers. It is also a retelling of Shakespeare's story of Prince Hal, who appears in Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry V. Much has been made about Van Sant's seedy reframing of Shakespeare's "tavern world," as noted in an article entitled "Utopian Revisioning of Falstaff's Tavern World: Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho" by Kathy M. Howlett:  

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Dec 20 2013


Back StageYou've probably heard the story of this colorful, collaborative mural (left) painted by the McMenamins artists (in this case, Joe Cotter, Kolieha Bush, Olivia Behm, Myrna Yoder, Jenny Joyce and Lyle Hehn) that hangs at the Back Stage Bar, our seven-story-high pub located literally behind the scenes at the Bagdad Theater.

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Dec 14 2013

Nixon and BoxerIn 1968, presidential candidate Richard Nixon campaigned at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. He met with a group of Alpha Zeta fraternity members who presented him with a certificate granting him honorary AZ membership (left). But it seems as if the boys couldn't resist having a little fun at the candidate's expense, getting the school mascot, Boxer, into this historic shot.

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Dec 7 2013

Robert ImbrieHappy holiday season to you and yours. This is traditionally a time for families to come together, and who would have known that better than a guy with a family of 12 kids? Robert Imbrie, that's who. He is the pioneer who settled the Cornelius Pass property in the 1850s, building barns, tilling grain fields and constructing a beautiful home (today referred to as "the Roadhouse") for his gigantic brood.

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Dec 2 2013

Any Star Wars fans in the crowd? Keep reading....

This massive red ceramic torch, called “Big Red” (below) stands tall at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall property in Hillsboro, Ore., a beacon of light to all who stroll the grounds.

“Big Red” sculpture by Joel Cottet at CPR

Made by Beaverton artist Joel Cottet (1948–2002), the sculpture was originally produced as a prototype for filmmaker George Lucas, of Star Wars fame. Lucas wanted Jedi-worthy lighting along the two-mile-long driveway leading to his Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif.

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Nov 26 2013

This Friday, 11/29/13, the Civil War between the Ducks and the Beavers rages ever onward, with fur and feathers flying.*

Although it was first played in 1894, it isn’t officially the 119th annual event – there were several years during which the game wasn’t played at all and two years in which the game was played twice. Games have ended in joyful parades and have ended in violent riots. It is a longstanding rivalry, with victory changing hands time and time again through the decades.

McMenamins East 19th Avenue CaféAt McMenamins East 19th Street Café in Eugene, Ore., there is a message for all who pass through its doors, be ye a Duck or be ye a Beaver…. Maybe you’ve noticed it or maybe you’ve passed right on by, en route to get your passport stamped or have a beer. It’s worth a moment to stop and have a look.

* I have no horse in this race between ducks and beavers. All reports are 100% without bias.

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Nov 22 2013

This Friday, November 22, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Today, we recall our connections to the Kennedy family.

Maurine Kennedy and John Kennedy, 1960s

Maurine Brown Neuberger (left) was born and raised in Wilsonville, Oregon. She married Richard Neuberger, who became a U.S. Senator from Oregon. When Richard died while in office, Maurine finished out his term and then was re-elected, serving for much of the 1960s, during which time she came to know and work with JFK. She was the fourth woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and to date, she is the only woman elected to the Senate from Oregon. You can learn more about Maurine Neuberger in some wonderful artwork at the Wilsonville Pub.

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Nov 5 2013

History isn’t all about black-and-white photos, old-timey characters and buildings long since gone. Sometimes you can discover history simply by talking to the people around you.

Read to the very end, to learn the incredible McMenamins connection here….

Bali Ram dancingThis is Bali Ram, a world-renowned classical Indian dancer. Born in Nepal in 1935, Ram today calls Bend, Ore., his home. Over the course of his lengthy career as a dancer, he has performed for kings and princes, presidents and emperors, celebrities and artists.

As a child in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, Ram was found to have an innate sense of rhythm, so he was sent to a rigorous dance academy in New Delhi, India. He trained for hours on end. He became highly skilled at this intricate form of dance in which the slightest movement has great meaning.

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Oct 29 2013

The very first McMenamins batch o’ beer ever brewed, ever, was just over 28 years ago.

Here it is.

First Beer Recipe at Hillsdale Brewery & PubThe original brewsheet, dated October 25, 1985, twenty-eight years ago last week. If it is true that our company is built on beer, then this document is our version of the Magna Carta. The U.S. Constitution. The [insert some other historical document of your choice here]. You get the idea.

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Oct 22 2013

We are well into the 100 Nights at the Crystal Ballroom, leading up to its 100th birthday on January 21, 2014. Until then, the joint will be lit up with nightly entertainment, from national acts to the return of longtime Portland favorites, from showcases of up-and-comers to themed events inspired by the Crystal’s past.

Rudolph ValentinoWe’re taking a look back at some of the acts to have come through this gorgeous space. For example, this gorgeous man – Rudolph Valentino, the 1920s silent film star who was one of the biggest box-office draws after WWI, with such motion pictures as The Sheik, Blood and Sand and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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Oct 17 2013

Roy GardnerMany of us have heard the incredible story of the capture of FBI's most wanted Roy Gardner at what is today's McMenamins Olympic Club Hotel (Centralia, Wash.) in 1921. While his arrest is an amazing tale, the story only continued to get more and more interesting... And lurid. And colorful. And weird.

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Oct 10 2013

McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn's sweet depiction of Olevia Ireland's Dancing Academy features fun characters from Hotel Oregon's past as well as that of the Crystal Ballroom, since the delightful Miss Ireland graced both places over her career.

Irelands Dancing Academy art by Lyle HehnMiss Olevia Ireland arrived in Portland around 1909 and first worked as an actress. By 1913, she had given up the theater, taking a position as a dance instructor at Montrose Ringler's Dreamland Academy (located at SW 2nd and Morrison). Miss Ireland and fellow Dreamland instructor, Norman Whiting, gave exhibition dances together as partners on various stages around the city.  Ireland and Whiting were among those who introduced to Portland the Tango, Hesitation Waltz and One-Step.

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Oct 9 2013

This is Johnny Pesky, one of the most beloved figures in Boston Red Sox history. He spent 61 years with Boston as a player, coach, manager and broadcaster.

Johnny Pesky on the Boston Red Sox Baseball TeamHe was born John Michael Paveskovich right here in the Slabtown neighborhood of Northwest Portland, Oregon. As a kid, Pesky spent virtually all of his free time at Vaughn Street Ballpark (open from 1901–1955), which stood at Northwest 24th & Vaughn – just three blocks from the Tavern & Pool. He and his buddies also hung out and played pool at the tavern, owned at the time by the uncle of one of Johnny's good friends. Pesky first signed with the Red Sox in 1939 at the urging of his mom. According to a story in the Daily News, several teams were after Johnny, but a scout from the Red Sox sealed the deal by wooing his mom with flowers and his dad with bourbon.

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Oct 8 2013

WedSocialWe're just back from the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas and while there we were encouraged to download and use WedSocial. This app was crazy helpful in getting a brief overview of the speakers and their backgrounds, scheduling our time to be sure we hit the right sessions to better serve our engaged couples, and keeping up on all the haps both at the conference and at the parties with lots of photos.

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Oct 8 2013

The building that today houses McMenamins Oregon City was constructed in 1930 as the parish hall for the town’s pioneering 1851 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Years of church functions, wedding receptions and community events still resonate here. Meanwhile, the lots surrounding St. Paul’s property became populated with a diverse assortment of neighbors – the Oregon City Brewery, the Clackamas County Courthouse, the Liberty Theater, along with the constant waterlife playing out just down the bank to the north, where the Willamette River flows.

Art: Oregon City, Willamette River, and VW RollsIt was an adventureland for children, and in the 1930s, the five Mockford kids – whose father, the Rev. A.J. Mockford, was rector for St. Paul’s – enjoyed the spectacle, curiosities and attractions of their surroundings. Many of their recollections, and in particular, those of eldest sibling Stuart Mockford, are depicted in the artwork that adorns the walls of their old parish hall. In 1994, McMenamins initiated a new chapter, by transforming the longtime church building into the Oregon City Pub, while nurturing its tradition of being a place for special gatherings and an observation point for life as it flows around us.

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Oct 1 2013

McMenamins on the Columbia hosts the Annual IPA Invasion every fall. Try a few of the hoppy, high-ABV beers on tap from both McMenamins and guest brewers.

• • •

Not only does McMenamins on the Columbia offer stunning views of the river, but there is quite a bit of history there, as well.

This pub is a fantastically scenic spot to have a beer – settle in at an outside table during sunny weather to watch the boats sail by or take a table indoors to watch stormy weather head upriver toward the Gorge.

But it wasn’t that long ago, during WWII, that this area was a bustling, bristling wartime manufacturing area. One of the famous Kaiser Shipyards was located at this very spot. As shown in this photo, there were berths for upwards of 18 ships at a time, in all stages of production.

Kaiser Ryan Point Shipyards on the Columbia River, 1940s

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Sep 25 2013

Frank T. Johns, Socialist Candidate for President, 1928On May 20, 1928, 39-year-old Frank T. Johns was campaigning as the Socialist Labor Party’s nominee for President of the United States. Johns was facing Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Al Smith at the peak of the Roaring ’20s. This Portland native and former carpenter made Bend, Oregon, his first stop on a nationwide campaign trail.

Suddenly, screams rang out.

A ten-year-old boy named Jack Rhodes had been fishing for trout along with several buddies. But he had fallen from a footbridge and into the water, clinging to the bridge while his friends desperately tried to get to him. Johns threw off his coat and dove into the icy river.

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Sep 25 2013

The Portland Ice Arena (a.k.a. the Marshall Street Ice Rink) was a 2,000-seat multi-purpose arena located at NW 20th Ave. and Marshall St. At the hippodrome’s completion, the Oregonian enthused, “This city will be able to boast of the largest rink of its kind in the world.”

While the rink was home to the Portland Rosebuds Pacific Coast Hockey Association franchise from 1914 to 1918, the general public was also invited to enjoy the ice.

Portland Rosebuds Hockey Team, 1916

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Sep 11 2013

Thunder logoThis Friday marks the release of our 4th annual batch of Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale. And so without further ado... 

Back in 2008, the Brewers Association (based in Boulder, CO) called fresh-hop beers "a growing phenomenon in the world of craft brewers."

While Thundercone is the one we trumpet about now, it wasn't the first fresh hop beer we made. There had been many small-batch brews made before that, including one made from Fred Eckhardt's hops at both Concordia and Hillsdale.  

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Aug 29 2013

This piece by artist Joe Cotter hangs on the 2nd floor of Edgefield and depicts one of the original Edgefield "artists" – Racer X – hard at work.  

Racer X

Between 1982 and 1989, the poor-farm-turned-old-folks-home-turned-county-eyesore stood empty. Well, sort of empty – along with the blackberry bushes, the mice, snakes and other invaders came a band of merry pranksters armed with spray paint. One of these (or maybe all of them, who knows?) went by the slightly unoriginal moniker Racer X.

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Aug 22 2013

MermanThis work is by McMenamins artist Jenny Joyce, and it currently hangs upstairs at the Lighthouse Brewpub in Lincoln City, Ore.

Here's what Jenny has to say about it.....

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Aug 19 2013

McMenamins Grand Lodge and Bravo! Wedding & Event are teaming up to bring you a VIP Open House like no other. On Thursday, September 19th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, come on out to the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Ore. to see more than ten event spaces dressed to the nines...

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Aug 9 2013

con·tin·u·um /k?n?tinyo?o?m/
Noun · A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.

MyrnaPieceThis detail (taken from a panel by artist Myrna Yoder) hangs in a back corridor at the Kennedy School and depicts a festive gathering outside of the Little Red Shed at McMenamins Edgefield-the old county poor farm in Troutdale, Ore. While it may initially seem out of place at Kennedy, its inclusion is no mistake; rather, it is a conscious expression of the continuum that exists among our places.

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Jul 30 2013

Fuegy storeThe Rock Creek Tavern is a gorgeous spot, nestled among the quiet hills and dales of Hillsboro, Ore. It's a fantastic place to enjoy a cold pint beneath the trees while you listen to the sounds of the countryside and laze away a few hours of your day.

But its history hasn't always been so serene...

Did You Know about the Bombing?

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Jul 25 2013

Looking to plan a summer meeting with a side of fun?  The Compass Room Summer Special is just the ticket...
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Jul 25 2013

The Barley Mill Pub (1629 SE Hawthorne, Portland) celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday, June 22, 2013. The pub was the first joint-venture of the brothers McMenamin, so we celebrated the property itself, as well as what that first foray has meant for the company at large.

Anniversary Lunch MuralIf you've been to the Barley Mill, you know that the place is festooned, adorned, bedecked and bejeweled with years and years of anniversary artwork. However, among the shining handcrafted gems (and some not-so-glittery efforts), hangs this mural by McMenamins artist Jenny Joyce.

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Jul 24 2013

Who Was Hugh?

Take yourself downstairs, beneath the Old St. Francis hotel, to our brewery there, currently headed up by Mike "Curly" White.

Old St. Francis Stairway to BreweryLooking closely at this photo to the right, you can just make out a man’s face, peering through the window at left from the side of a fermentation tank. Who is that guy? It’s Hugh O’Kane (1854–1930), namesake of our O’Kanes Pub.

Yes, but who was he? His story is remarkable, and includes references to boxing in South Africa, imprisonment in Cuba, wrestling in Arabia, owning a Kentucky Derby-winning horse, the KKK and more….

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Jul 24 2013

photo Now that the Edgefield Summer Concert Series is fully booked, any remaining dates in the upper amphitheater, otherwise known as the Fir Grove, are up for grabs!  What does this mean to you?  Well, if you've been waiting for the perfect time to book your company picnic, birthday or anniversary party - or even a close in wedding - the time is now.  Procrastination has paid off and you can reserve this stunning outdoor event space at a deep discount...some dates up to 50% off the usual food and beverage minimum.   

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Jul 23 2013

Blue MoonThe Blue Moon Tavern & Grill, on the corner of NW 21st and Glisan St. in NW Portland, has a recorded history going back more than 150 years. (Well, not the pub itself, which has been through several renditions, but the land on which it stands.)

But before the Blue Moon, there stood the House of Wisdom.

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Jul 18 2013

The Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan St., Portland) has a long and storied past, from churchgoers to longshoremen, from actors to beer-drinking film buffs.

MissionBuilt in 1912 (and today listed on the National Register of Historic Places) as the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of Portland, it served the faith-based community in this building for 42 years.

Bring in the dockworkers! - that's right, dockworkers. From pious church-going beginnings to serving the burly, blue-collar, longshoremen of the waterfront in one fell swoop. It must have been quite the 180-degree change. Those fellas stuck around for 28 years and then sailed on.

After a four- or five-year stint as a storage warehouse, the Mission building became home to a local acting troupe in 1986 or '87, called Heart Theater. Sadly, their efforts lasted just about a year.

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Jul 9 2013

Looking to get married on a Sunday?  McMenamins Edgefield has a deal for you!  With our Sunday Funday Special, all remaining Sundays from now until the end of 2014 are reduced to a $5000.00 food and beverage minimum.  There is no additional room fee once you reach the food and beverage minimum. We utilize our own onsite catering, and the minimum includes wait staff and bartenders, indoor tables and chairs, china, flatware, glassware and linens. 

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Mar 15 2013

Here's an excerpt from Frank Delaney's Ireland: A Novel (2005). Have a look... you might need this info on Sunday, St. Patrick's Day...

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Mar 11 2013

McMenamins Grand Lodge, located in Forest Grove just 25 minutes from Portland, is now offering two corporate meeting specials:

First up - the Sweet Retreat: book a midweek retreat at the Grand Lodge and receive complimentary coffee service with McMenamins' freshly roasted coffees replenished throughout the day, a complimentary cookie break, 15% off guestrooms during your event and 15% off spa services for all retreat guests who are staying in the hotel!

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Feb 14 2013

photoIt's Valentine's Day and have we got a sweetheart of a deal for you! The Grand Lodge is offering a 2013 wedding special. So if you are recently engaged or just haven't found the perfect venue for your special day quite yet - we have an offer you may not want to refuse.

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Jan 30 2013

Join fellow spirits imbibers at one of our popular Winter Scotch Dinners to hear about, smell, taste and enjoy this selection of scotches, all paired with a menu of courses to complement the flavors. Your host is the charming and edifying Stuart Ramsay.

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Jan 23 2013

photoMcMenamins Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, Ore.) is hosting a Wedding Open House on Saturday, February 23, from 11 a.m. ‘til 4 p.m.

We offer onsite catering and provide waitstaff, bartenders, indoor tables, chairs and linens. With the complimentary event space, set up and service staff once the food and beverage minimum for the space is met, planning couldn't be simpler or easier on your budget.

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