Portland bootleggers were getting busted for selling booze to The Lotus Cardroom and Cafe all the way back in 1927. That's how much history the soon-to-close downtown cafe and bar has between its walls. And you still have a few days left to soak up this heritage. The Lotus Cardroom and Cafe has announced by press release it will close August 20.
The Lotus Cardroom was the first legal gambling site in Portland, and rumors that it was once connected with a brothel have never quite gone away. Today, the bar is divided into an old-school, family-friendly cafe/diner area and an epic drinking space with a 30-foot cherrywood bar. That behemoth of carpentry alone is reason to visit, as The Lotus's parting announcement states:
The bar was made by the Brunswick Company in Chicago in the late 1880s, before the opening of the Panama Canal. It traveled around Cape Horn in South America to arrive in Washington State, and then ultimately ending up in its current home in Portland.
Last fall, a development proposal put The Lotus on the chopping block, and today's announcement confirms it. Half a block at SW 3rd & Salmon will be demoed late August and will be replaced by a hotel.
The Lotus will gasp its last breath with an "End of almost a Century" party on August 20, from 7 p.m. to close, and it's selling some of its vintage decor in a silent auction benefitting the Oregon Historical Society, with complimentary food and drink.
Located at 932 SW 3rd Ave., the business opened in 1924. If you have photos or memories to share, share them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In parting, The Lotus writes:
The Lotus would like to invite all its patrons, both past and current to come and enjoy one last night in the space that has truly been a Portland institution.