Apr 9 2014

RicklesIt's not every day you can draw a line from one of our joints to legendary comedian Don Rickles, "The Insultin' Sultan," so when opportunity arises - even if it's a bit of a curvy line - you gotta go with it.

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Apr 1 2014

MontroseMontrose Ringler, Portland's  Jazz-Age dance hall king, launched his dance boat Blue Bird on July 28, 1920, in hopes of skirting around the scrutiny of  Lola Baldwin, head of the city's Women's Protective Division, who for years had been severely restricting Ringler's public dances at the Crystal Ballroom and his other dance halls around the city.

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Mar 21 2014

Original RubyIt's Ruby's birthday this Friday, March 21. The original Ruby artwork (right) is based on an old Germanic tradition of a kitchen witch that inspires productivity and safety, but that also dispels any ill-will directed to the home. Our Ruby has come a long way - she's gotten out of the kitchen and into our breweries, artwork, spas and more.

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Mar 18 2014

CromwellMarch 17 is St. Patrick's Day. So here's a story in honor of the Irish holiday, a tale of a seemingly innocuous pub sign which inflamed the blistering Celtic ire of a band at the Crystal Ballroom.

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Mar 10 2014

Grand Lodge, built in 1922 as the Alice MeekSaturday, March 8, we celebrate the 92nd birthday of the Masonic and Eastern Star Home for the State of Oregon "for the aged and infirm, and the poor and distressed worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans . . ."

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Mar 4 2014

Recently, we celebrated the 21st Annual Hillsdale Brewfest. But did you know the first Hillsdale brewfest actually happened nearly 30 years ago? Nobody ever said we were good at math.

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Feb 22 2014

Dad Son LeonardOn Monday, February 24, at 7 p.m., Kennedy School hosts a special History Pub about a remarkable Portland gathering spot that for two decades attracted the likes of Empire Builders, Supreme Court Justices, federal judges, vice kings, mob bosses and Hollywood royalty, and seemingly everyone in between.More importantly, it served as a professional and social club for Jewish men who at the time were banned from joining the city's existing private clubs.

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Feb 17 2014

ECOTLHey, people of the Pacific NW, remember what sunshine is like? Remember how great the summers are here? Remember when we weren't all encased in ice, covered in snow and slopping through piles of corpse-colored slush?

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Feb 10 2014

Marian LummHere's a story of a sweet little girl painted on a fermentation tank (a.k.a., a "Grundy tank"), which has moved across town from its original location at the Concordia Brewery at Kennedy School to the distillery at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. According to distiller Bart Hance, "We sometimes call her Tank 5. Before we knew her real name we called her Brandy because she was full of brandy for several weeks."

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Jan 28 2014

"If America has a classical gutter song, it is the one that tells of Frankie and her man." - Carl Sandberg, American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and editor 

FrankieHere's the original story of Frankie Baker, former Edgefield resident, most commonly associated with the ballad "Frankie and Johnny" as well as several Hollywood movies starring the likes of Mae West and Cary Grant, Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. While some say the song originated in the 1850s prior to the Civil War, it was attributed to Frankie Baker after her fatal dispute with a suitor in 1899.

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Jan 22 2014

Just what is a chautauqua? What's our connection? And how the heck do you pronounce it?

ChautauquaAt McMenamins Gearhart Hotel & Sand Trap Pub in Gearhart, Ore., one of our event spaces is called the Chautauqua Room. It takes its name from an Iroquois Indian word meaning either "two moccasins tied together" or "where the fish are taken out." The pronunciation is: shuh-TOCK-wuh.

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Jan 14 2014

Don Deeks The NFL playoffs are in full swing. And you know what goes well with football? Beer. This post has both football and beer.

Mike and Brian McMenamins' uncle, Don Deeks (1923-1995), was quite the athlete – during high school, his specialties were throwing the javelin and discus and playing football.

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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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