3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

11 am – 12 am

The McMenamin brothers, Mike and Brian, are a couple of Portland’s native sons who began building their pub domain back in 1974 when they turned the Produce Row Café truck stop into a cozy place for beer drinkers.

abag1They continued to open pubs, ale houses and cafés, eventually selling them off to other partners and moving on. In 1983 they opened the Barley Mill Pub on lower Hawthorne and this location became the lodestone from where they continued to build the different business features that have become the mark of a McMenamins Pub. They currently have over fifty locations in Oregon and Washington.

The Bagdad Theater was purchased by the McMenamin Brothers in the early nineties. The theater had a colorful history dating back to 1927 when it first opened with what Universal Pictures called “a triumph of artistry and craftsmanship”. It was known as the “Oasis for Entertainment” where Portland residents could be swept away by the stars.

Over the years such luminaries as Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Sammy Davis Jr. and Michael Douglas were in attendance at premiere movie galas. The Bagdad Theater and Pub continues in this mission to be a gathering spot for entertainment, food, drinks and even cigars for those so inclined.

The ingenious idea of pairing movies with pub faire gave the Bagdad and other small theaters new life. At this location the Pub serves the Greater Trumps (a legal cigar smoking place), the Backstage Bar, the movie theater as well as the restaurant. 

The Southeast Examiner spoke with Rachel Flesher, property manager, about the food, drinks and other amenities offered at this location.

The food has evolved over the years into a contemporary menu that includes dishes like the Hummus Plate, Mai Thai or Jamaican rice bowls and salads like the Kung Pow! Tofu Mune Louie. Pub favorites include flame-grilled burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and tater tots and a more.

Flesher said that in 1985 the McMenamins began brewing their own beer by opening one of the first brew pubs in Oregon since the prohibition, in Hillsdale.

Since then, they have expanded their production to twenty-five locations, with the largest brewery at Edgefield in Gresham. At the restaurant, they have many of their beers on tap as well as other hand-crafted beers.

During the early nineties, the brothers began to grow grape vines on the Edgefiled property. They fermented and bottled them and started the Edgefield Winery. Today they grow 350 tons of grapes annually to produce a range of bottled and draft wine – all offered throughout McMenamin’s eclectic neighborhood pubs and gathering spots in Oregon and Washington.

Not to leave out another one of America’s favorite beverages, McMenamins Coffee Roasters came into existence in 2001 thanks to Dahna Maskell when she approached them with her coffee roasting business.

Her great enthusiasm for coffee and coffee service convinced them of the possibilities of this venture and so it began. They roast in small batches and ship to their pubs weekly.

So when you think local, The Bagdad Theater and Pub definitely has a corner on the beverages they serve. The brothers had a big vision that has employed hundreds of people and given them good benefits.

They’ve saved a lot of buildings that would have just fallen by the wayside and successfully brought a new business model providingopportunities to craftsmen of all ilk.

Besides all that, they consistently serve good food to their diners.