McMenamins is a unique family-owned chain exclusively to the Pacific Northwest that was founded in 1983 by the McMenamin brothers. Today it is a place of celebration, a place of pubs, live music, lodging and even theater that delivers great food, unique atmosphere, and intimate rooms that feel cozy. While McMenamins has over 50 pubs, theaters and places for music located in Oregon and Washington, around a dozen of them house guests for lodging.
Recently we started our very own McMenamins adventure by visiting and spending one night at the McMenamins Olympic Club Hotel in historic Centralia. The original property opened in 1913 and flaunts many historic photographs, artwork, Tiffany-style lights and even vintage furnishing. This small yet lively hotel has 27 rooms, large dining area with a bar, billiards and a movie theater.
When you check in, the the marquee of the hotel is the first sight that greets you and it is instantly appealing. The entire building was built around the early nineteen hundreds, and has mostly been preserved over the years. The entrance lobby contains the original desk and many vintage toys and artifacts on top. It makes for a great atmosphere and succeeds in transporting you back to that time period.
The lobby is attached to the restaurant, which continues the architectural style and definitely feels like a saloon from the old west. Included is the original wood burning stove and tile floor, along with the original bathroom fixtures. Next to the dining area is a large room full of billiards tables, which completes the effect of an old timey saloon.
The rooms are accessed from an outdoor staircase that leads up to the corridor where the decor is dominated by mahogany wood paneling and era appropriate light fixtures. The rooms themselves are small compared to modern day and the bathrooms are separate and shared between guests because the style and time period the building was built in warranted smaller accommodations to fit as many rooms as they could.
It was originally a hotel for the railroad station, and you can still hear the modern trains go by periodically. But you don’t have to worry about the noise, since ear plugs are provided! Each room is named after an important figure in Centralia’s history and has their portrait painted tastefully on the room’s wall, lending an inclination for multiple stays in different rooms to see them all. There’s not much room for anything other than the bed and a small sink, but it makes the most of it and the beds are extremely comfortable.
The ‘Pub Club’ restaurant’s menu includes separate menus for the meals of the day. Breakfast, from 7 to 11am, offers eggs prepared any way you could imagine. Benedict, scrambled, with biscuits, or chicken fried steak, you name it. Lunch and dinner come with a great selection of typical standbys like burgers and sandwiches, but also throws in some unique flavored items like the oysters and chips, fish & chips, rice bowls, pizzas, and some great sides like hummus, tacos, and chicken wings. We personally favored the tater tots, but there isn’t a wrong choice anywhere.
There’s even a movie theater hidden behind the restaurant that looks like an old converted ballroom. The furnishings include beautiful Victorian style chairs and tables, and it comes across more as a fancy dining hall with a movie screen added for good measure.
McMenamins Olympic Club Hotel in Centralia is a great spot for both singles, couples and families who are both local to the area and traveling. The property is located directly across the Amtrak station so it is the perfect stop for a meal and safe place to stay overnight before returning on your way. The Olympic Club has many live music events and festivities including their annual Olympic Club Brewfest where Washington brewers along with guest brewers gather to share their finest brews.
On your next stop be sure to check out one of the many properties for a lovely meal and enjoy it with a delicious McMenamins brew or cocktail. Perhaps even stay for a movie and spend the night, your opportunities are endless and your adventure awaits.