- Keely Damara
- Mmmm... Cajun tots.
McMenamins breweries, hotels and pubs are a mainstay of the Northwest. It's hard not to love the McMenamins Old St. Francis School campus, which boasts gorgeous interiors that highlight the history of the building. The fire pits can be enjoyed all year long — a perfect place to people watch downtown while enjoying the architecture of the brewery and hotel, housed in a renovated Catholic schoolhouse built in 1936. Explore the grounds and you'll find five bars, one of which is disguised as a closet (aptly named the Broom Closet) among the guest rooms. The Fireside Bar is my favorite drinking spot, which offers seating in an intimate setting near a fireplace, complete with a shuffleboard in the adjacent room.
If you're looking for something a little livelier, pop by Father Luke's Room for live music (more often than not at no cover charge) before hitting up O'Kanes (housed in the schoolhouses' former garage) for McMenamins' late happy hour, 10pm to close. The happy hour food menu is on the smaller side — but the Cajun tots are a must! The drink specials are where the happy hour shines. Hosting two happy hours daily, don't be surprised if this becomes your late-night haunt — and for those who like a bit of mystery, it's rumored this historical building is haunted by ghosts!