You haven’t truly experienced the Pacific Northwest until you’ve stayed at a McMenamins property.
McMenamin brothers Mike and Brian have created a vast and intricate empire of imaginative and eccentric destinations. Their signature atmosphere – mural-lined walls, proud displays of craft microbrews and scrumptious comfort food – permeates dozens of venues that spread from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to the middle of Washington State. The brothers have taken unexpected settings (such as school buildings and hospitals) and created whimsical resorts. McMenamins locations may include a microbrewery, gardens, a pub or restaurant, a movie theater or even a golf course! Or all of those things. Also, their destinations make the BEST wedding venues.
The Crystal Hotel pays homage to The Crystal Ballroom, the McMenamins' renowned concert venue. The Crystal Ballroom boasts an impressive history of hosting top shelf musical acts. Each of the Crystal Hotel’s 51 comfortable rooms features a headboard painted in the signature McMenamins style referencing lyrics from a past Crystal Ballroom performer’s song. There are packages available with concert tickets and room nights – inquire about them when making a reservation.
The Crystal Hotel is a triangle-shaped building with a lot happening within! On the street level, Zeus Café serves farm-to-table cuisine that is a touch more elegant than other McMenamins restaurants. There is an extensive wine list, the famed McMenamins microbrews and old-school, Prohibition era-style craft cocktails. Zeus Café is open for Breakfast, Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner and post-show Late Night dining. Ask your server about 1950s and '60s nightclub owners Nate and Tillie Zusman, for whom the café is named. Outside seating is pet-friendly.
There are several other important stops in the Crystal Hotel. Head downstairs to Al’s Den, a basement jazz club with a speakeasy vibe. Ringler’s Annex is a tiny pub at the point of the triangular building. The upstairs portion is a particularly cozy “secret” spot for a tête–à–tête or a board game. (Big sibling Ringler’s Pub is downstairs from the Crystal Ballroom, next door. Want a tip? Pre-funk at Ringler’s before a show at the Crystal Ballroom to avoid spending your fun evening waiting in line for drinks). The last – and possibly most important – place in the Crystal Hotel is the bamboo-lined soaking pool, reserved for hotel guests. Get ready to relax!
The building itself has an amazingly rich and fascinating history. If you are curious to know about Portland’s scandalous, shocking and sometimes sorrowful history, the Crystal Hotel is a fantastic place to start. Ask about Al’s Den namesake Al Winter, a 1940’s gambling overlord and also about Leona "Little Rusty" Kronberg, a lady of the night who figures prominently in Portland’s shady past, and is featured on the mural in Zeus Café. You can also learn about the Zakoji family, survivors of a World War II internment camp who operated the hotel in the ‘40’s, naming it The Majestic and creating a welcoming, home-like environment.
The Crystal Hotel is ideally at the juncture of downtown Portland’s Fashionable West End and the Pearl District, situated near Powell’s Books, Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theater, Providence Park soccer field and some pretty amazing shopping. Enjoy!
One more thing – if you are travelling around the Pacific Northwest, ask about the McMenamins passport. #mcmpassport
Rick7 years ago
We love how all the McMenamins places, including the Crystal Hotel, fuse art and history with a relaxed Northwest vibe, good food, and entertainment. Thanks for posting this, Merlin!
Merlin7 years ago