Lotus Cardroom and Cafe closed in August 2016 after 92 years of service, and the fate of its massive, beautiful, antique cherrywood bar was ambiguous. But no longer. This week, the 19th century bar found a home at McMenamins Back Stage Bar. See how it turned out in the photos above and below.
“When we heard the guys were selling the bar, we jumped on it,” says McMenamins co-founder Brian McMenamin. “You don’t find that stuff often, and it’s fun to have antiques in stock.”
McMenamins is famous throughout the Pacific Northwest for saving historic buildings — flophouses, lodges, and more — and turning them into eating and drinking institutions, so saving this venerable piece of Portland history fits its M.O.
Crafted in the 1880s by the Brunswick Company in Chicago, the cherrywood bar was shipped to America’s West Coast by a rather circuitous route at sea: around Cape Horn in South America. While it’s unclear where it originally landed, it ended up at Portland’s Lotus Cardroom in 1927.
“When you take something that old it starts talking with you, and not always in the good way,” says McMenamin. “It’s been an active bar, so it has a lot of wear and tear. But you don’t want to lose that aged patina, that essence of the bar. You don’t want it nice and shiny. You want it showing its age.”
While the bar itself looks pretty much as it did at the Lotus Cardroom, it’s now surrounded by the vaulted ceilings of McMenamins Back Stage Bar, located behind the Bagdad Theater, at 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.