So, you’ve just come to town and you’re looking for a bar where you can meet a wealthy, successful person to love for their mind. You know the kind of place I’m talking about, where stockbrokers, balding from stress sit and discuss the day’s falls and rises, where lawyers go to argue the case they just lost to the sympathetic young thing for whom they are providing fancy drinks and where the boss has one to many at a corporate Christmas party.
The Lotus in downtown Portland is just such a place. Located in a former hotel, the restaurant bar is done in rich carved cherry wood and large chandeliers hang from the ceiling. There is an impressive drink menu with top shelf liquor from around the world and a happy hour menu that features some unusual snacks.
The walls are decorated with pictures of vintage cars, late presidents and barmen from days gone by and one gets the feeling that for all its incarnations, very little has really changed about The Lotus in its long history.
Happy hour at The Lotus goes from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday. I wandered into the bar on a Tuesday night. I enjoyed some uniquely spiced onion straws and sipped a really amazing Blood Orange Cosmopolitan while chatting with the happy hour bartender Krista.
Eliza: What is the history of The Lotus Hotel?
Krista: We opened as a hotel in 1924 and we got the back bar you see here in the fifties and we’ve changed from a brothel/hotel/soda bar to the nice place you see today.
Eliza: What makes happy hour at The Lotus unique?
Krista: The atmosphere, the building, all the history. Most of our business is the people that work around here, they are lawyers and stockbrokers and a lot of insurance people.
Eliza: How do you deal with an obnoxious drunk?
Krista: Nicely ask them to leave, or feed them or give them coffee. Just try to be nice and not embarrass them.
Eliza: What’s your oddest bar story?
Krista: Probably ghost stories; we hear a lot of them. The brothel/hotel is no longer in business so we hear a lot of stories about that.
Eliza: What kind of ghost stories?
Krista: We have bottles fly off the shelves. There is a ghost that supposedly sits at one of the tables and a few people have sworn that they have seen him.
Published May 8th, 2014