Travel Tips & Adventures

Real People. Real Travel.

Traveling to Portland Brewpubs

With a claim to fame such as: More breweries than any other city in the United States, you would think we are talking about the big names in brewing (TV commercials, big horses dragging wagons, etc.). But, Portland, Oregon’s breweries range from micro one-off locations to national and international distribution, all without the horses dragging wagons …

Don’t get me wrong, I think those big draft horses are impressive, but big breweries don’t necessarily mean the best beer, or the only beer.McMenamins

Opening their first Portland, Oregon pub in 1983, the McMenamin brothers have expanded substantially over the last 26 years. Their branding calls them “A place for family & friends.” But the last time I checked, brewpubs were not exactly the place to bring your family. But McMenamins is more than just brewpubs.

Seven historic hotels, brewpub/restaurants throughout Oregon, Washington and the Portland metro area, music venues and even movie theaters are now apart of the McMenamins portfolio.


I don’t ever recall that I or anyone I have ever heard of actually say, “I wish I could stay here (at school) all night!”

From 1915 to 1975, Kennedy Elementary School graduated classes onto the next level of education until the school board finally said, this place is falling apart and we need to close.

Along came the McMenamin brothers with a plan.A massive renovation produced 35 guestrooms crafted from the former classrooms. You will get all of the amenities that you never saw when you went to school: private bath, telephone, and a modem. What you will remember is the chalkboard and cloakroom that is still there to haunt you!

Throughout the halls are historical photographs and artwork. There is a movie theatre, multiple bars, a soaking pool and of course the brewery which works just fine with the Brewmaster substituting for the Principal.

Kennedy School is a little disconcerting to find in the dark as it is located in an older neighborhood just East of downtown Portland. The streets in the vicinity are the narrower variety that you find in older neighborhoods and not overly lit.

I was there for the food and the Courtyard restaurant was packed, as it was Saturday night. If you’re just looking for a bar, you have your choice of the Boiler Room, Detention, or if you’re if you were one of those “straight A” students, the Honors Bar.

The Courtyard restaurant was the former cafeteria now open for all three meals a day. In nice weather a courtyard is available for dining and it must have been nice, because it too was packed with diners/drinkers.

And yes, it is the usual suspects for a brewpub menu: salads, burgers, pizza and specialty items (steak, salmon, pasta …)

There’s even a little treat from the appetizer/starters section for those of you that are still re-living your elementary school days …Tater Tots! $5.25

Remembering my challenging days in elementary school I opted for the

The Principal’s Special Pizza

I’m not sure whether I was hoping to take revenge on old memories, or I just liked the combination of toppings (Canadian bacon, pepperoni, fennel sausage, onions, & black olives (8-inch $8.25 / 16-inch $25.25), but I opted out of the black olives and still had a good time, something I couldn’t always say about Elementary School …

There is one thing that sets this former school location apart from 99.9% of others brewpubs. If you get Hammered by the Hammerhead (Ale), or Terminated by the Terminator (Ale), you can always get a classroom near the principal’s office and sleep it off!


Rooms: $109 – $130 per night
Packages Available


Hours: Daily 7 a.m. – 1 a.m.

No Reservations
Non-smoking establishment

Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Various locations throughout Oregon and Washington

Come back Monday for another Portland brewpub: We’re going Rogue!

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply