Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs Mike and Brian McMenamin have built an entire empire on converting historic (and oftentimes institutional) buildings into attractions, complete with their signature mural paintings and famed microbrews. The Mission Theater at NW 17th and Everett now serves as a cinema, complete with the McMenamins treatment that Portlanders know and love – McMenamins ales, ciders, pizza, concession snacks and menu items are available for purchase, and can be enjoyed during the film. Really, we are all spoiled for a regular movie theater experience now. If you experience digging into a Hail! Caesar Salad and Garlic Herb Bread Sticks with zesty tomato sauce while you enjoy a flick, you may be, too!
The theater is not only used for film screenings, but also for local events, such as Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s (OMSI) Science Pubs, viewings of Timbers matches, live music and Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia quiz modeled after those in Ireland and the UK. When the now nationally popular TV show Portlandia began, the Mission screened the show with different live bands and episodes of the humorous news program The Onion. Portlanders would line up around the block to see themselves reflected in the show.
The gorgeous building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built in 1912 by the Swedish Mission Covenant Church, the sturdy brick building replaced the wooden structure that had stood in its place before. From 1954 on, the building was used as a union hall, and it served as a clearinghouse during the 1971 Longshoremen’s strike, one of the most lengthy and arguably most successful strikes in U.S. history. In 1987, the building became what it is today McMenamins Mission Theater and Pub.
Ticket prices vary, since many second run movies are shown (including your childhood favorites like National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Dirty Dancing!). Many shows are $4.00 for adults, and $3.00 for children 12 and under accompanied by a parent or guardian. Some showings are $10.00 for a movie ticket and special cocktail! Earlier shows can even be as low as $2.00, and some events, like Timbers matches and Pub Quizes are free (just purchase what you would like to eat and drink).
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Enjoy the Mission Theater, and ask about taking home some beer to go!