Portland’s White Eagle has been a lot of things over the years. Originally a saloon for Polish immigrants at the turn of the century, it became a speakeasy posing as an ice cream shop during prohibition, before turning into a concert venue when the 1970s rolled around. There are tall tales of its seedier origins, stories about vengeful spirits, secret tunnels, and opium dens.
Now, the White Eagle has transformed into a McMenamins pub. Its old fashioned interior is cozy and dimly lit, with exposed crumbly brick walls to hint at the building’s lengthy history. The long bar and dark wood tones add to an Irish Pub motif. It serves the same great food and craft beers you expect from a McMenamins, and the stage in the corner still gets frequent use from a parade of fun local bands.
The second floor is a small, quirky hostel. Legend has it this was once a “house of ill repute,” and it is purportedly the most haunted location in Oregon. Evil spirits or not, it’s comfortable enough in its present state, though if the concerts downstairs don’t keep you awake, the bright colors and skylights might.
The smaller rooms and shared bathrooms may not provide all the amenities travelers expect, but its great central location makes the White Eagle ideal for excursions throughout Portland. The unassuming little brick building is just north of the river, a stone’s throw from the hip Mississippi district, and directly across the street from the Widmer Brothers brewery. A stop for the Max is less than a block’s walk away.
Don’t let the White Eagle’s ghost stories scare you away. It’s a charming place to visit for a weekend trip to the Rose City, and there’s more than enough nearby to keep you occupied. Don’t forget to have them stamp your McMenamins passport!