May 3 2011

This is the fourth installment in a series of blogs about our new Zeus Café at the Crystal Hotel, open TODAY in downtown Portland. Here, we take a look at the café's decor.

It's finally happening! We're open - our first historic hotel in downtown Portland. The true gem in this crown is the Zeus Café, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a late-night menu.

So what's it look like? Like the pub down the street? Well... yes and no.

photoThe first thing you might notice about the look of the place is the light flooding in through the windows. Bordered on one side by bustling Burnside St. and Stark on the other, the huge windows lend an open airiness to the place, perhaps a little different than your favorite dark-and-cozy neighborhood joint.

photoBut, in a decidedly McMenamins-esque detail, note the prisms and rainbows dancing across the room, scattered via the stained glass that tops the windows. The custom-designed work by local Portland artist David Schlicker is a representation of the Grateful Dead's musical score to "Dark Star." Beautiful and trippy, isn't it? Examples of Schlicker's work can also be seen at our Rock Creek Tavern, Sand Trap, Olympic Club and Edgefield.

Next, have a look at the woodwork throughout the café. We used as much reclaimed wood as possible in the renovation - and the woodwork around the bar itself was actually taken from a dismantled barrel house at the Jim Beam Distillery, all the way from Kentucky!

photoChandeliers are kind of a signature McMenamins item - such as the set of beautiful colored glass ones that hang in the Crystal Ballroom as well as the Highland Pub in Gresham, Ore. So, for the Zeus Café, we added chandeliers that hail from Egypt! While not antique, they are still unusually beautiful, lending an elegant feel to the room. You may recognize them from the ones that hang at Ruby's Spa at Edgefield and at the Spar Café in Olympia, Wa.

Check out the wood-fired oven in the kitchen - artist Andrew Harrison crafted the beautiful copper/brass work on the outside, which you will see again if you take the elevator up into the hotel or if you ask the bartender to pull you a pint from the bar.

photoNot ever to be outdone, our cadre of McMenamins artists have created beautiful, colorful and original murals and panels, hung throughout the café and the hotel itself. Inspired by moments of the building's past - and believe you me, there is a veritable treasure trove of incredible moments from which to choose - these walls do speak (even shout!) once again, thanks to the artists.

Stop by for a meal or a drink or even just to take a look around. We can't wait to see you, day in and day out, at Zeus Café.

Tomorrow, read about our Zeus Café wine list - along with our own handcrafted Edgefield Winery bottles, we've pulled together quite a list from around the globe...

About the author: Kerry Beeaker has been part of our crack McMenamins marketing staff since 2005.
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#1 Willie Williams

I can't wate to see it