McMenamins invited me this past weekend to explore the interior of their new Crystal Hotel, the swank project built on the site of what used to be an infamous gay bathhouse. The hotel is slated to open in June.
After years of construction and hauling away decades worth of trash and oddities, the triangular building on SW 12th and Stark looks nothing like it used to. The basement (formerly home to a wall of glory holes) is now the site of a heated pool and tiny bar that connects to Ringler's Annex. The storied Army Jeep is in storage (but will hopefully be back). The lobby that used to dispense towels and free condoms is now dominated by a classy triangular kitchen, which will dish up applewood-fired pizza to patrons who sit around its bar. Floor-to-ceiling windows, which were covered with plywood for decades, have been replaced with new 190-pound windows that will open all the way, allowing the first-floor restaurant to let in the breeze (such as it is) from Stark and Burnside in the summer.
The only part of the building that hasn't been gutted is the bedrooms—three floors of 17 rooms have been repainted, refloored, and rewired. Each room is also themed after a band that has played at the Crystal Ballroom. Lyrics from Flogging Molly, Sonic Youth, Blondie, and the Avett Brothers, for example, run across the walls of second-floor rooms, each of with is replete with a giant, painted bed headboard inspired by their songs. The best rooms in the house are definitely Sleater Kinney and Modest Mouse, which scored corner digs with big bay windows looking out over downtown.
Here's a photo slideshow of the hotel (spot former gay bar owner Flossie!). Guess which bands inspired the featured headboards and then check out the answers below the cut.
Not all the band-themed headboards are in the building yet. Here's all the ones I saw:
Flogging Molly, Drunken Lullaby:
Gang of Four, At Home He’s A Tourist
Nick Cave, Night of the Lotus Eaters
White Stripes, Rag and Bone is stored for now in the bathroom