Driving by McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, located on NE Bothell Way, you would think it is still a school. Above the main entrance, it only says W. A. Anderson, 18607A.
The McMenamins Anderson School opened for business on October 15th. I had no idea what to expect, and everything I encountered was unexpected, starting with the ornately folksy main sign.
Having walked across the vast parking lot, the first building I spotted was a cottage like structure which I took for the visitor information center. It turned out to be a cozy ski-lodge-like bar.
Being sent to the principal’s is not all bad.
I was looking for the hotel lobby and a registration desk, but I found neither. Instead, I found myself in a hallway with dozens of light fixtures of different shapes and colors. The room doors displayed artfully the names of prominent Bothellites with connections to the school.
Another reminder was the sign pointing to the principal’s office. Being sent there now isn’t all bad. It has been converted into an intimate bar for the guests of the 72-room hotel. Let’s hope they don’t go there all at once.
Beer and food aplenty
Leaving the hotel, I found the front desk off the courtyard in a one-story building that houses one of the three restaurants and a gift shop. On the west side of the courtyard is one of the restaurants, called Thee Woodshop.
The McMenamins brothers Mike and Brian began as beer brewers and opened the first of many brew pubs in their native Portland in 1974. Today, the company is one of the top 50 craft breweries in the United States.
The North Shore Lagoon
One of the first buildings as you enter the parking lot, is the North Shore Lagoon. Once the training ground for Olympic gold medal winners, it is a public venue. The tropical atmosphere of the pool extends to the South Sea style bar on the second floor.
I did not see all the restaurants, bars, the meeting rooms and the movie theater. What I did see was an eclectic, somewhat quirky and imaginative place, worth discovering. The address is 18607 Bothell Way NE, Bothell 98011.
Follow the detailed step-by-step exploration of the McMenamins Bothell School at SERENE.
© 2015 Gerhard Ade