This school complex had been a part of the neighborhood
community since 1915. Now the McMenamins Kennedy School facility serves
another purpose but remains in touch with the desires of its contemporary
community. 35 guest room are available in former classrooms. They feature
private baths and modem hook-ups, although public restrooms and showers are
still available from the original floorplan. A courtyard restaurant offers
garden seating while "specialty bars" offer something for everyone, from opera
music in a non-smoking environment (Honors Bar), to smoky Jazz and cigars
(Detention Bar). Another full bar serving appetizers in a pub setting is the
Cypress Room. Relaxed entertainment can be found at the 300-seat movie theater
or energy can be expended on pick-up games of basketball in the school gym.
The six-barrel brewhouse cranks out the tried and true McMenamin's recipes and some house specialties. From a 13-place wooden bar and its surrounding natural wood tables and booths the beers can be sampled, as well as food such as Burgers, Wings, Provolone Sticks, and Jalapeño Poppers. Each costing less than $5. The KonTiki Kölsch is a hazy gold with a tangy mouthfeel, even hop/malt favor balance, and light fruity character. The Concordia Pale Ale, named for the local neighborhood, offers a pronounced hoppy aroma and flavor with nice supporting maltiness, and a dry finish. The King Perkoff Pale Ale is a clear amber that sports a thick white head. This medium-bodied brew has a solid maltiness along with a hoppy character that carries a hint of fruitiness. The cask-conditioned Firecracker IPA offers plenty of esters and melds well with the smooth, mellow hoppiness. The 6.7% Russian Imperial Stout, pushed with nitrogen, is very creamy, with a big body and great rich chocolate and black malt flavors. Other staples include the Three Head Porter, Hammerhead, Terminator, and Ruby.
Happy hour runs 4 to 6 P.M. (3 to 5 for food) Monday through Friday with Happy Pints $2.50 and Happy Pitchers $7.50. An Early Bird Happy Hour even goes from 7 to 9 A.M., featuring Chips & Dip, Salsa & Chips, and Fries. The ambiance is hard to resist whether you're a tourist or a local. The local neighborhood association even meets on the premises. What a contrast to other parts of the U.S. where a minority of vocal opponents of neighborhood pubs cause only problems. The success of the McMenamin strategy seems to be only growing. We can wish for its continued spread elsewhere.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - July
McMenamins Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd
Portland, Oregon 97211