I got to check out the Old St. Francis School after work for a bit today, and my capsule review is that it totally kicks ass! It’s amazing, classic McMenamins, and I think—no, I know—it’s going to be hugely popular. A giant win for them.
Since they’re doing their “soft launch” right now, you can pretty much go wherever you like to check the place out. So I did: scoped out the restaurant and the pub, wandered through the Fireside Room (a cigar-friendly room with pool tables), gazed in awe at the Turkish-style soaking pool, checked out the theater, picked up a beer (a Hammerhead) at O’Kane’s, the little brewhouse among the bungalows, one of which I toured. The guest house a bit rustic, I’d say; they’re trying to preserve the feel of the 1950s to a large extent. Also strolled through the hotel wing and got to see one of the rooms (all of which were formerly classrooms). All very impressive—like I said, classic McMenamins.
The restaurant was packed. I didn’t ask how long a wait there was, since I wasn’t eating, but I picked up a menu (nothing radical on it though). And the guy who I talked to was really helpful in pointing out all the rooms and features to check out.
The only drawback? Popularity; it’s going to be the hot place to go for a long time, and might be hard to get into (particularly if you want to sit down and eat).
But who cares? McMenamins is finally in Bend! This rocks!