McMenamins' Crystal Ballroom, one of Portland’s hottest music venues, is turning 100 years old on January 21, 2014. Over the last hundred years, the Crystal Ballroom has earned its place in the National Register of Historic Places.
Opened in 1914 at the start of WWI as a ballroom, the Crystal Ballroom has been home to many dances over the years. In the '60s, the Crystal Ballroom became more of a rock and roll kind of place, with live performances by Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead and Tina Turner. In 1997, McMenamins reopened the Crystal Ballroom and continued the tradition of hosting dances and live music.
'80s Night at the Crystal Ballroom — Photo courtesy of McMenamins
Today, the Crystal Ballroom is a multi-level facility with the Crystal as the largest venue, located on the third floor. Lola’s Room, another popular music venue, is on the second floor, along with the Crystal Brewery. On the first floor is Ringler's Pub. Throughout the entire facility, you can see original artwork from McMenamins' artists, over the top décor, beautiful light fixtures and grand windows.
Dances have always been especially popular at the Crystal Ballroom due to the “floating” dance floor, which is actually a mechanical dance floor (and one of only three found in the United States). The floating floor has been fully restored for a fun experience. You can clearly feel the floor moving, giving you almost a bouncing sensation.
Currently, the Crystal Ballroom features "'80s dance attacks," where you are encouraged to sport your '80s apparel and come dance the night away to the best music videos of the '80s as they are projected onto 10-foot screens. The Crystal Ballroom also has live shows, including popular bands as well as regional bands. Last year, Alanis Morrisette played here.
Outside of Crystal Ballroom — Photo courtesy of McMenamins
Directly beneath the Crystal Ballroom is Lola’s Room. This smaller room features more intimate performances by local bands, as well as DJ'd dance parties. Crystal Brewery is also found on the second floor, in what used to be the dance rehearsal studio for the main ballroom. Here, the brewery is actively crafting beers that are served throughout the Crystal and three nearby McMenamins pubs.
On the main floor, you will find Ringler’s Pub, named after the original owner Montrose Ringler. Ringler’s Pub serves all the McMenamins food favorites like Cajun Tots, Tavern Green Salad and burgers. They also have all the McMenamins beers on tap.
Ringler's offers happy hour every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until close. In addition to food, there are multiple pool tables, two shuffleboard tables, pinball machines and a small dance floor. Ringler’s often has a DJ or live music.