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Nightclub Owner Eric Bowler Has Shut Down Two Bars in the Pandemic. He Can’t Be Sure He Won’t Have to Close More.

To say Bowler is optimistic about the future of Portland nightlife would be pushing it.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

For Eric Bowler, closing a bar is like losing a family member.

He's suffered through two losses this year. Revelry, in Southeast Portland, shut down in June due to the economic fallout from COVID-19. Then, last month, he and co-owner Kurt Huffman shuttered Fortune after a protracted legal battle with their landlord.

Bowler still owns three bars. Old Town nightclub Tube and its spillover bar, Maxwell, remain temporarily closed, while Century, in the Buckman neighborhood, reopened a few weeks after Multnomah County entered Phase 1.

It's going as well as can be expected, Bowler says. The sleek sports bar has a spacious patio, which he's now covered with a large tent and warmed with heaters to help get through the coming cold months.

Related: Portland Restaurants and Bars Have Seen Fire. Now They're Preparing to See Rain—and the Results Could Be Even More Devastating.

But to say Bowler is optimistic about the future of Portland nightlife would be pushing it.

"I drive around town pretty often and see other bars and restaurants that are still closed," he says. "I can't imagine someone in similar shoes as me has hundreds of thousands of dollars in reserve to burn through on rent and insurance for an indefinite amount of time."

Bowler spoke to WW about what he wants to see the government do to protect small businesses, and how he expects the pandemic to reverberate through the nightclub world even after quarantine ends.

See more Distant Voices interviews here.