McMenamins to open brewpub, hotel, restaurant, music venue in Tacoma in 2017

May 26, 2016, 7:49 PM | Updated: May 29, 2016, 9:37 am
Tacoma, McMenamins...
The McMenamin brothers, Mike and Brian, inside the Tacoma Elks Lodge as it looks now. They hope to open a hotel, pub, and music venue there by 2017. (Rachel Belle, KIRO Radio)
(Rachel Belle, KIRO Radio)

Brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin have set their sights on Tacoma’s old, vacant Elk’s Lodge for their latest project. They aim to convert the site into one of their hybrid hotel, restaurant, music venue and brewpubs by 2017.

“This is where the old pool was, and we’re going to be filling it in,” says Brian McMenamin touring through the site. “We have a bar going in the middle here and it’s going to have a tiki kind of slant on it.”

Related: Snack Seance: One man has brought his favorite defunct treats back from the dead

The 45,000 square foot Elks Lodge was built in 1915 but has sat vacant since 1967. The space looks and smells like a musty, ancient ruin, with huge, ornate columns, beautifully detailed moldings, peeling paint, water damaged walls, unfinished floors, grand arches and plenty of colorful graffiti.

“There’s some great graffiti in this building,” Mike McMenamin says. “We’ll at least save a lot of it. It has to be remembered, at least in photos. We have to have it up because it’s part of the history of the place!”

That’s a unique approach that the McMenamins have used throughout the Northwest to convert old buildings into hip, modern attractions. The brothers have become experts at revitalizing beloved, historical buildings, preserving their best parts, and bringing in local artists to give them new flair. And they’ve had their eye on this property, on Broadway in Tacoma’s Old City Hall Historic District, for a long time.

Mike explains how they choose their venues.

“If it’s relevant; if there’s a need in the community for it. I think that’s almost first and foremost now,” he said. “We’ve kind of evolved from just opening a food and beverage place to opening one that can be involved in restoration. The history has to be a big part of it. There’s always something that hooks you. It’s like, oh my god, it’s all I can think about.”

The brothers are modest, so they won’t come out and say that opening a McMenamins hotel, restaurant and brewpub changes a community for the better. But it’s easy to see the effects in small towns and quiet neighborhoods.

City of Bothell’s acting city manager Peter Troedsson says Bothell’s sleepy downtown awakened after McMenamins Anderson School opened last October, with it’s restaurants, hotel, movie theater, swimming pool and bars.

“The Main Street merchants will tell you they feel that effect,” Troedsson said. “People that come into town oftentimes will visit McMenamins and then they’ll come over to Main Street and spend some time shopping there. Or, if the wait is too long at one of the McMenamins restaurants, they’ll come to one of the downtown restaurants. There certainly has been a beneficial effect for the rest of the downtown businesses.”

McMenamins official historian, Tim Hills, says the first big impact they made was with their Edgefield property in rural Oregon.

“That is at the very mouth of the Columbia River Gorge in Troutdale,” Hills said. “The local historian likes to say they didn’t even realize they had a tourist trade until Edgefield opened and all these people from Portland started coming out. Now they’re known as the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. They’ve really kind of branded themselves.”

The McMenamin brothers opened their first pub in Portland in 1983, inspired by a trip to Europe where they saw families hanging out in pubs with good beer, food and music. They felt Portland didn’t have anything like that at the time. They now have 54 venues across Washington and Oregon — soon to be 55.

The McMenamins Elk’s Lodge or Elk’s Temple (name yet to be determined) is set to open in late 2017. It will be six floors, 46 guest rooms, a brewery, restaurants, six bars and a 700-person music venue already inspiring big acts to make Tacoma a stop on their tour.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

supply chain...
Rachel Belle

Start your holiday shopping now or risk supply chain issues

Now is the time to start holiday gift shopping because if you don't buy soon, supply chain issues may make it tough to get what you want later.
10 days ago
Rachel Belle

How does Dick’s Drive-In pay workers $19 an hour with a menu completely under $5?

Dick's Drive-In recently raised its base pay, as did Taco Time, which is now offering employees $20 an hour at select locations. How do they keep prices low and pay high?
11 days ago
Rachel Belle

Don’t like how you look on Zoom? Many young Americans are now getting Botox

More people are turning to Botox to get rid of lines and wrinkles, but is it safe? How does one age naturally in a youth obsessed country? Experts weigh in.
17 days ago
certified wildlife habitat...
Rachel Belle

Turn your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation will help you make your yard a habitable home for bees, birds, bugs and critters. And they'll give you an official sign!
1 month ago
Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein, pictured months after 9/11. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cherkin)...
Rachel Belle

‘You either got married or broke up’: 20 years later, a Seattle couple on falling in love in NYC in the wake of 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Seattle's Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein were 22 years old and separately taking the subway into Manhattan when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. This is their story.
1 month ago
dirty work...
Rachel Belle

New book ‘Dirty Work’ reveals psychological toll of working unsavory jobs nobody wants

A new book by Eyal Press called "Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America" takes a deeper look at jobs no one wants to do.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
McMenamins to open brewpub, hotel, restaurant, music venue in Tacoma in 2017