Downtown's 92-year-old Lotus Cardroom, former home to bootleggers and illegal gambling—not to mention a very drunk and apologetic George Clinton—is now only a memory. It's currently being demolished to make room for a 20-story boutique hotel and adjacent office building.

But starting next Thursday, you'll still be able to drink at the Lotus' famed 130-year-old cherrywood bar, made in Chicago in the 1880s and shipped around Cape Horn in South America, eventually landing in Portland.

As WW first reported last September, Mike and Brian McMenamin—founders of Portland's original brewpub chain—stepped in to buy that ancient slab of wood that graced the Portland bar for nearly a century, rather than let it be demolished with the bar. (Tables from the Lotus are at Courtney Taylor-Taylor's wine bar the Old Portland.)

"We just had to have it," writes Brian McMenamin in a press release. "We couldn't see it go down with the wrecking ball."

The McMenamin brothers have had a curatorial bent in the past, building bars out of old churches, schools, theaters and long-running community mini-marts.

After storing the Lotus' bar for a year, the McMenamin brothers are again installing it for public use. It'll replace the bar at the high-ceilinged Back Stage bar behind the screens of the Bagdad Theater. That bar, a pool-hall space with three-story Oriental rugs, is already home to another piece of Portland bar history: the sign from beloved old North Killingsworth dive the Jockey Club.

Back Stage
Back Stage

But the Lotus holds a particularly special place in the McMenamin brothers' past.

'"It was one of the first bars I went to when I was 21," Brian McMenamin told the Portland Business Journal today. "I might have even gotten in before I was 21: My brother was quite a bit older than me and we'd go in together. That place was a classic."

Back Stage will close for three days next Monday, Oct. 9-11, and will re-open Thursday, Oct. 12, with a party featuring specialty cocktails to celebrate the installation of the bar.

This will kick off a game of musical bars. The previous bar at Back Stage was already a hand-me-down from McMenamins' Washington bar Olympic Club—that bar will now grace the McMenamins Elks Lodge in Tacoma.

But as for now, just know that anyone who developed their first alcohol problem on that ancient 30-foot bar can revisit them again at Back Stage.

"I'm just excited that Brian and Mike McMenamin can be the stewards," Lotus owner John Plew told us last year. "They got a great piece of history, and, if I wanna show my grandkids a bit of the Lotus, they'll at least keep the bar within a certain distance of Portland."