The Old St. Francis School kicks ass!

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!

McMenamins Finally!

Finally! McMenamins is on track to open the Old St. Francis School here, on November 15, 2004. Seems like we’ve been hearing about this for years, but this time it’s the real deal. (I hope.)

Bend.com has an article on the opening. This paragraph is noteworthy:

Gathering of stories, photos and memorabilia is currently under way to supply the artists with subject matter, as well as for documenting the school’s seven decades of experiences. Anyone interested in contributing is encouraged to contact McMenamins historian Tim Hills at (503) 223-0109 or via e-mail to timh@hq.mcmenamin.com.

If you’ve ever been to a McMenamins, you know that the art, history and memorabilia play a huge role in creating their unique atmosphere. Seems like a cool opportunity to get a little piece of the action.