Walking up Fremont Ave. toward this McMenamins location, my nose detects the delectable aroma of a cooking wort. In a Proustian flashback, I'm taken back to my first experience of downtown Portland in the mid-70s, when Blitz-Weinhardt was still operating just up the hill from Powell's Books. Ah, the smell of brewing on urban sidewalks!
Historic Portland was an appropriate flashback, as the McMenamin brothers have named this establishment after an actual Watson who came to Portland around 1925 and started--at age 75--quite a career in ballroom dancing. He kept it up through the Depression and evidently got a lot of people in the Rose City dancing their cares away. The building, unusual for the Mc Bros, is not itself a historic structure. Apparently, it was built in the 90s on the site of a forgettable contractor's office put up around 1954. The present structure does blend in well with the neighborhood, which evidently met McMenamin standards in this case.
The art is permanent, done by staff artists of the McMenamin organization. The kitchen is up to snuff for menu choices: I had a creamy potato and leek soup with a pint of the summer seasonal pale ale, Copper Moon, and pronounced it all good.