After five years of preparation, construction and anticipation, the McMenamin’s Anderson School in Bothell held a pre-opening Tuesday night and will open its doors to the public this weekend.
“It is just a very unique space,” said John VanDrak, during the pre-opening. “It’s going to be a great space for the community. The before and after is pretty dramatic.”
The new business, which is the anchor for the redevelopment of downtown Bothell, was packed for the invitation-only event.
“It is amazingly creative,” said Ann Aagaard about the photos and art on the walls, which include Bothell resident Sen. Patty Murray and Wilbert Anderson.
McMeniman’s is an Oregon chain of iconic brewpubs/hotels which were started in 1974 by two brothers whose establishments bear their namesake.
Described as the largest project they’ve ever undertaken, the brothers Mike and Brian have been working on the 70-room hotel and entertainment complex since 2010.
Anderson School features a restaurant, pub, movie theater, live-music space, spa, garden, pool and meeting room.
“I like the little cozy nooks,” said Ann Williams, during the event.
The nearly five-and-a-half acre plot with the building was initially purchased for $7 million.
“We are very excited about the McMenamins opening. It’s already bringing attention to Bothell, and it’s a big part of our downtown economic development,” said city of Bothell spokeswoman Barbara Ramey. “Having businesses come in, like McMenamins, will help the community and be a big benefit.”
It includes the old Northshore Pool, which has been renovated and residents can now use free of charge for 15 years pursuant to an agreement signed by the city and the McMenamin brothers.
The Anderson School itself was built in 1931 and is an iconic landmark in downtown Bothell.
Seattle-area favorites The Fresh Young Fellows will be breaking in McMenamin’s live venue tonight with their classic alternative rock.
“We’re always excited to play, and more so these days since we don’t play that often,” said frontman Scott McCaughey.
This show marks only their third this year for a band that’s been playing together since the mid-1980s.
Despite starting in the Seattle area, McCaughey lives in Portland these days, and says it’s been a while since he’s been in Bothell.
McCaughey said they’ve been to other McMenamins venues like the Edgefield or Crystal Ballroom and are excited to see what Bothell’s Anderson School will be like.
The free show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday with the band Unlikely Friends opening, and The Fresh Young Fellows taking the stage at 9:30 p.m.