I was thinking last night (during our blogger thing at McMenamins) that if McMenamins really wants to capture the feel of a school, they should fill the soap dispensers in the bathrooms with that pink powdered soap I remember using in grade school.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.