McMenamins Kennedy School
So maybe spending the night in your classroom wasn’t exactly a childhood dream, but how about drinking cocktails in the auditorium, smoking cigars in the detention room, playing pool in the boiler room, or even brewing beer on school grounds? When the local McMenamins company, known for revitalizing historic Oregon buildings, took over the former Kennedy School—a 1915 schoolhouse recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its distinctive architecture—the plan was to make school fun. And they did. The Kennedy School is now one of the coolest spots in Portland (though it’s a good 20-minute drive from downtown), complete with four trendy bars that attract a hip local crowd, a low-key gastropub with regular live music in the courtyard, a popular movie theater, an open-to-the-public soaking pool, and a brewery. Classrooms have been transformed into spacious rooms, with the kind of solid wooden furnishings and oversized, literature-themed artwork that inspire you to curl up with a good book—which would be seriously tempting if there weren’t so many other things to do.
By Kate Thorman, AFAR Contributor
5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211, USA