Just over two years ago, McMenamins Anderson School officially opened and welcomed the Bothell community into its arms.
In typical McMenamins fashion, much of the original character of the historic junior high has been preserved and focuses on fun for everyone. Throughout the entire property, you’ll find one-of-a-kind artwork that local artists created based on historical photos and interviews from alumni, families and colorful residents. Great care has been taken into making the place special and meaningful for all that visit. This has become the unique trademark that defines the brand of McMenamins.
If you’ve visited Anderson School, you’ll know what I mean. The five plus acre complex is adjacent to the Pop Keeney Stadium on Bothell Way NE just 3 blocks off Woodinville Drive (Route 522). Most every one I spoke with enjoyed a different aspect of the restored school campus.
The kids, of course, love the North Shore Lagoon Swimming Pool that is heated to 88-90 degrees – perfect on a rainy winter afternoon. What I loved is the fact that the pool is open to everyone! If you are staying in the hotel or a Bothell resident (ID is required), there is no charge to use the pool. For everyone else there the charges range between $6-8 for a two-hour open swim. I ran into a couple that was watching their teenage kids in the pool through the window in the 2nd floor South Seas Pub. They sipped virgin daiquiris and commented on how relaxed they felt at the moment. I’d say it looked like a pretty nice way to spend the afternoon.
For the nostalgic folks (including me), I’d recommend the Principal’s office. It is a cozy little bar tucked away in the old school house turned 72-room hotel, up a flight of stairs and down a corridor or two. Here I met long-time fans of McMenamins, Donnetta and Paul. Although they live in Seattle, they had made a night of it to celebrate Paul’s birthday. They said they try to get away to McMenamins every few months and really love the laid back atmosphere here.
Needless to say, McMenamins could host its own bar crawl so you’ll want to be sure you have a designated driver. Of course, you could also spend the night like our new friends did in one of the hotel rooms that originally were classrooms that have been renovated into unique and comfortable guest rooms.
In addition to the two bars mentioned above, there are four other spots to enjoy an adult beverage.
The Shed: It’s a small place like the Principal’s office but with a completely different vibe. Envision a speakeasy more than a shed for atmosphere. The specialty is whiskey here, and they have fireplaces indoors and out to keep you toasty warm.
The Woodshop: This is the place for fun and games – really! There is a full food and beverage menu available, and this is the place to catch a game on a big screen or play a game. There is shuffleboard, pool, and pinball machines available.
Tavern on the Square: The school cafeteria was once housed here but looks nothing like a school cafeteria now. There is a massive surround bar in the middle of the room and plenty of seating at tables or booths throughout the space. The atmosphere is especially comfy near the large fireplace. This truly is a great place to have a nice family dinner.
The Anderson School Theater Bar just so happens to have a movie theater that features first run movies every day. The bonus here is that you can get settled in your comfy seat in the theater, and the staff will deliver dinner and/or drinks. Now that is service!
Ironically after visiting the Bothell location, I had the opportunity to visit the original McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon. It is known as Edgefield and is the first McMenamins establishment. It was renovated and restored from an old Poor Farm just outside Portland. It is a sprawling complex with a brewery, winery, distillery, outside salt-water soaking pool, restaurants and more. Perhaps we’ll grab the passport card and visit the remaining 56 locations!
McMenamins Anderson School
18607 Bothell Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011