McMenamins just seems to know what they are doing when it comes to changing these old places. Loved the look and the feel. This was a great place. Had a great time with the pub and we had the room all to ourselves. We watched football and sat next to a roaring fire which was awesome. The beer was killer and we really enjoyed the fall day. This is a must for any McMenamins fan this place has the atmosphere to die for. In the future would love to stay here the night.
We stayed overnight in the Old St. Francis School and it was great. We had a nice room with private bath and were able to take in a free movie before walking to the many brewpubs in downtown Bend.
There are several bars on the property and the taps vary so you might have to search out your favorite style. We only made it into the main pub but O'Kanes and the Fireside Bar sound interesting as well. The main pub has lots of nice outdoor seating plus a cozy bar area with many booths and tables as well as a smoking room.
The brews are mostly McMenamin’s standards plus some seasonals brewed on-site and at other locations. The menu is diverse and reasonable. They are even open for breakfast.
In spite of the fact that the beer from McMenamin’s is never outstanding (though decent), they do know how to run a pub. The spaces are always lively, you’ve got a variety of nooks and crannies in which to buy and drink your beer (and at least in Oregon, you can wander around anywhere with your beer, as long as you don’t leave the premises).
There are several main drinking areas at Old St. Francis. The main bar is a big space with many tables and a few booths. One one side there is an historic old cast iron stove/heater (couldn’t tell if it’s still in use) that looks like it must date from the original school. The bar is in the middle of the room and is square in shape with stools all around. The main pub also has several outdoor seating areas with tables that have umbrellas and all look very comfortable. There’s also the Fireside Bar (but we didn’t investigate this space) and a small bar inside the movie theatre, where you can order beer and simple food to be delivered to your couch seat while you watch a movie. This is a great experience. The last place is O’Kanes pub in the back of the property across from the guest parking lot from the main building. The pub itself is quite small and is decorated with beautiful historic stained glass windows and a great woodstove. The bulk of the space here is outdoor seating on a large tree shaded garden patio with several firepits. It’s a great atmospheric place to be on a warm afternoon/evening.
We checked into the McMenamins St. Francis School, an old decommissioned Catholic school. We ended up with a bathroom almost the size of the bedroom itself, with two claw foot tubs, two showers and a stalled toilet. This is where they put the dirty Midwesterners maybe...
At the McMenamins St. Francis School they freshly grind their house roasted coffee and place it in a packet outside your door for use in the room coffee maker. I could get used to that kind of treatment!
After being out on the town all day, we headed to our home base and settled into their bar. Once more we split a beer sampler to finish up the night. The McMenamins sites are a bit of a joke around the brewing and beer geek community as having poor service and mediocre to lousy beer, but this sampler was good! The IPA and porter especially stood out to me, and both were better than all the beers we had at Bend Brewing. Whoever is brewing for this particular McMenamins knows what he is doing. Our server also knew a lot about the beers and was able to give good descriptions of them. The next day we took a trip into the basement and took a look at the tiny ghetto brew system there. Rather than the usual boring stainless steel, the kettle and fermenters are all painted and trippy looking, but I couldn't get a great picture through the window down there.