PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been a downtown Portland fixture for nearly a century, and on August 20 the Lotus Cardroom and Cafe will close its doors for good to make way for a new 20-story hotel.
“We’re sad to say goodbye to the building after 92 years,” a Lotus Facebook post reads. “Times change and so do cities. Maybe the Lotus will be back someday.”
Restaurant owner John Plew told KOIN 6 News closing the Lotus will be tough, but he understands that Portland is evolving and that things happen for a reason.
“We’re just going to try and enjoy the next 4 weeks,” Plew said.
The Lotus opened as a soda bar in 1924 during the height of prohibition. In 1929, after prohibition was repealed, city and government officials began to frequent the Lotus’ back room, which became a private bar, the restaurant’s menu states.
It had a rumored connection to an underground brothel during the Depression and was the first legal gambling site in the city. It remained a popular after-hours destination until 1990 when gambling in the Cardroom officially came to an end.
The Lotus is hosting a farewell party on August 20 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The event will feature a silent auction, complimentary food and signature Lotus items.