If you don't know about McMenamin's beer, hotels and clubs, you should.
They cover the Pacific NW from Seattle south to Roseburg in Southern Oregon with 55 brewpubs & hotels, 35 in the greater Portland area alone!
Not bad for a coupla of ex-hippie brothers who started with one pub in 1983. According to its own website, "older brother Mike, a recent Oregon State grad, recognized that Oregon's standing definition of a pub was stale. The local tavern scene -- dark, smoky, male-dominated and hard-drinking -- was a far cry from the all-age community pubs, cafes and piazzas that marked the landscape of Ireland, England, France and Italy. Over time, we've learned that what makes a good brewpub is the journey to get there."
And "fun" they said, was the key ingredient. After visiting all 88 brewpubs in Washington State (and getting ready to start in Oregon) I too have learned that the journey is fun...but the reward must also be a place of fun and, just as important, a feeling of community...and let me tell you, McMenamin's delivers.
I've tasted better beer in smaller pubs in even tinier towns...the axiom here being; the smaller the burg, the better the beer...but I've never discovered any place more infused with the spirit of family.
McMenamin's opens their arms and welcomes you as family for as long as you wish to hang around...and makes you sad to leave. The staff is trained well, the service impeccable, the history of the places fascinating.
This pub is in the Fremont neighborhood, just a bit north of the center and fits the eclectic style of the neighborhood. It’s another McMennamins pub - this time not with a particularly historic building (at least as far as I could tell), but with the usual comfortable atmosphere and delightful decorative details. It’s bigger than it appears from the outside and fairly well lit by good sized windows. There are a few outside tables by the front entrance and more in the back (granted, overlooking a parking lot, but also the base of the statue of Lenin). There is a very long bar with stools and various booths and tables along the long south-facing side.
The beer is the usual McMennamins beer selection - good, covers the major styles, but nothing particularly outstanding for microbrewery beer (but of course, still much better than the classic American beer).
After a trip the to Seattle Pacific Science center with the family we where hungry so we through lets try another McMenamins. Dad Watson’s was the next choice so we headed to the Fremont area and found a great place. Watch out the parking can and will be tough. We found another classic McMenamins place same décor as others with a great looking oak bar and tons of booze and a huge selection of new beers I had not tried. So I was in heaven. We all got some food which was great and the service was way above average for a McMenamins way to go Dad Watson’s. This is a great place and in the middle of the Fremont district what a great place to add to your beer tours along with the other great places in the area.