McMenamins Manic Mondays – Episode Two. I know, I know I’v e been teasing the Grand Lodge for a couple of weeks now, but do any of you have any idea how freaking big that place is? I feel like there could be at least two to three episodes just about the Grand Lodge, so to try to take it in smaller chunks I’ve decided to keep working on that episode and to also continue to visit other McMenamin’s locations and continue the slow march forward. To that effect t, I present you the Rock Creek Tavern. This place is fantastic. Filled with amazing signs, unique and random decorations, and a plethora of wonderful things to see. But first…
Where is the Rock Creek Tavern?
Despite the fact that I’ve visited Rock Creek Tavern at least twice previously, I still had little idea where to find it – as it turns out it’s just up the road from the other McMenamin’s location – the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse – which is another location I’ll be reviewing very shortly, I can only do so much after all dear friends.
Outside Rock Creek Tavern
I drove there just after work and arrived around three in the afternoon. The parking lot wasn’t deserted, but there were several spots left close to the entrance. The entire place reminds me of the town in the movie “The Lord of the Rings” where the hobbits all go to meet Gandalf – the Prancing Pony in the town of Bree? It’s got a familiar feel to how I imaging that place feels. But, before I get too far, as soon as I arrived I noticed the lovely entrance. The it’s got a great big sign outside and a beautiful means to get to the front door.
Inside Rock Creek Tavern
The first thing you’ll see when you use the front entrance is the huge iron stag bust. This thing is huge and amazing. Wow. I was blown away. Just below that is a large traditional bar area, behind which you’ll find the cooking area.
Another item that I noticed, that I suspect not as many others will notice is the handcuffs attached to the water line near the ceiling above the bar area. Yeah, I noticed it and was lucky enough not to get myself locked up when I took the picture.
Inside the Rock Creek Tavern there is a cheery fire that seems to be something that is at most McMenamin’s locations – they must understand the comforting feel the fire provides. It’s not gas powered, there is a stack of firewood next to the fireplace.
As I sat down and started observing I noticed all kinds of odd vintage advertisements. There are faces not he walls, old vintage signs advertising all manner of products.
While I was looking around I noticed the amazing variety of lights that are in the Rock Creek tavern. Many of them are on the second floor (where the ceiling is higher – picture later) but I did notice one from where I was sitting.
Menus and Late Lunch
This was a day I was working late so only had time to grab a bite here after I was off work, that can happen sometimes when I am unable to get to any food then have to rush to fid something somewhere else. Luckily I was thinking about McMenamins and managed to find my way here!
I decided to not be too fussy but I’m a serious tater-tot fan, so had to get the cajun tater-tots but I also wanted a burger so I got the Captain Neon blue cheese burger – wow, that one definitely has an amazing flavor and I whole-heartedly recommend it. The fries at the Rock Creek Tavern are also freshly made and just wonderful.
As soon as I’d finished my meal I paid and took a wander up the stairs to the second floor. There is quite a bit of space there and even a pool table and shuffleboard table. The first thing I did after going up the stairs was to go outside to the back porch – it’s a really nice spot that is completely covered and protected from the rain or any weather, though the sides are open. Even on a drizzly day the covering provides most of the shelter that is needed.
Going back inside on the second floor many booths with high backs are visible. They would provide very nice quiet spots for private conversations and intimate dinners. There appeared to be seating for about forty or fifty people on the second floor. On the second floor is also a very nice well maintained pool table and a smooth shiny track shuffleboard (I think that is what that is anyway). Near the shuffleboard if you look carefully you’ll also notice a quite large wooden mushroom with lights coming out of it – little weird that.
To the left of the pool table is the door leading out and to the stairway on the right of the main sign we’ve already seen. The doorway leads too another seating area where at least twelve seats are available with table umbrellas.
Rating and Summary
I had a great time visiting the Rock Creek Tavern – like many McMenamin’s locations it’s a singular wonder to itself, the only commonality with other McMenamins locations seeming to be some items on the menu a great disdain for conventional decorating style and a location that oozes comfort and vintage appeal. I really liked the Rock Creek Tavern and can see myself visiting there to just get away from it all and writing a story (not this one, but one like it!!) while the rain pours and wind howls outside. McMenamin’s has made it their business to purchase these older locations and revamp them and turn them into classic establishments, and the Rock Creek Tavern is no exception. I think you’ll love this place when you get an opportunity to visit. It definitely deserves five big Heywillamettes for all of the reasons I’ve outlined above and more. I hope you will visit the Rock Creek tavern to see just what I’m talking about.