The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part II

The first part of our dive into the song, “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen (recorded next to the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR) was the infamous story of the FBI investigation into the lyrics of this rock & roll hit from 1963. Dig a little deeper, and there’s even more drama to uncover. After the…

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In Memory of Lyle Hehn

Lyle Hehn 1958 – 2022 If you know Hammerhead and Ruby, you know Lyle Hehn. If you’ve seen the Satin the Cat, myriad jesters, or most of our beer labels, you are familiar with Lyle. If you’ve met Lola Baldwin or Umbrella Jimmy, you’ve met Lyle. Lyle was an artist for McMenamins until his death…

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The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part I

McMenamins Crystal Hotel is filled with imaginative artwork that brings to life musicians who performed on stage at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland over the last century. The story behind this painting by Jonathan Case is one of the most notorious tales of rock & roll history. If you’ve never heard the Kingsmen’s song,…

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The Real Frankie Baker

Frankie and Johnny were lovers O Lordy, how they could love Swore they’d be true to each other True as the stars up above He was her man But he done her wrong. – From the song, “Frankie and Johnny”   Frankie Baker sat by the window, playing a nonstop game of solitaire with a…

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12th Annual Running of the Brewers

On September 8th, McMenamins brewery district managers arrived at Willamette Valley’s Sodbuster Farms as trucks overflowing with just-harvested Mosaic hops rolled in from the fields. 30- and 50-pound bags were packed, and the managers were off, racing to each of their breweries with the freshest of hops. Within minutes, these beautiful, fragrant Mosaics were added…

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The Desert Room’s Delight: Miss Toni Elling

The Desert Room was one of the hottest nightclubs in Portland during the 1950s-60s. Today this space is occupied by Zeus Café within McMenamins Crystal Hotel. If the walls could sing, they would belt out a tune for the vivacious entertainer, Toni Elling. She was a frequent performer in the Desert Room during the 1960s,…

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Senator Patty Murray, from Anderson School to D.C.

Painting of US Senator Patty Murray by Carol Meckling

This painting of US Senator Patty Murray by artist Carol Meckling is displayed at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, Washington, where there is also a guest room named in Senator Murray’s honor. This patriotic piece envisions Patty as Rosie the Riveter—the WWII icon that celebrates the power of women’s work and equality. Patty grew up…

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