East Broadway has always been a uniquely bad bar street. So we were stoked last year when we caught word that the people behind Century Bar, Church and Bye and Bye planned a Lloyd District karaoke spot called Capitol (1440 NE Broadway, 971-704-1930, capitolpdx.com) in that weird-ass, masonic-looking castle turret owned by pop photographer David LaChapelle.
With its mid-century seats, airy space and epileptically colorful Instagram wall, the front room of Capitol looks like what would happen if a space-age bachelor pad fucked a rainbow Pee-Chee. The cocktails are equally day-glo, a wealth of $10 fruity sugar bombs that’ll make it popular with the daytime mall crowd. Those pop touches may be a nod to LaChapelle, who apparently let the owners have the space because of their track record with vegan spots.
The food at Capitol is meatless, cheeseless comfort food from much-loved pop-up Of Roots and Blooms, the standout being a surprisingly great cashew mac n cheese ($10) that might nonetheless be helped by an option to add hearty soy curls. (Avoid the $11 chips and dip, because it’s $11 chips and dip.) Capitol does plan to add a second floor with karaoke, but for now the singing is all in a tiny, pitch-black-and-neon back hallway. At night it’s normal karaoke, but during the day the room doubles as a free Voicebox-style private lounge, accessible through a phone app for anyone enterprising enough to claim it.
Free daytime karaoke aside, the bar's best feature may actually be the view up. The high-ceilinged space crescendos in a domed vault of windows pouring in light through gothic apertures. It's like being in Italy, but without all the Italians.