Capitol Bar and Lounge in NE Portland opens after challenges, heartbreak in 2022

Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 10:16 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Dessiree Guy has been working hard to open up her very own bar and lounge for the last year, but it hasn’t been easy.

“I’m happy, excited. This morning I was crying for like 30 minutes, happy tears,” she said.

Shortly after buying the spot on the corner of Northeast Broadway Street and 15th Avenue, a car crashed into the building, forcing them to shut down.

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“Last year, February 5th, a car crashed into our building. The build itself took over a year and we got it finalized a few days ago so this opening was very last minute,” she said.

Just months later, in June 2022, the unthinkable happened.

Guy’s fiancé and business partner, Kevin McDowell, was boating on the Columbia River when he saw a woman struggling to swim. He jumped in to save her life, but he lost his.

“Kevin was my partner. Business partner, life partner, soulmate,” Guy said. “So, I never would’ve imagined I was going to do it without Kevin.”

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Despite the challenges and heartbreak that 2022 brought, Capitol Bar and Lounge is officially open - the way Guy and McDowell envisioned it.

“Make sure that the atmosphere was family oriented, everyone feels welcome,” she said. “I’m just making sure that we fill the space with good energy and love.”

It’s a place where you can get hand-crafted cocktails at brunch on the weekends, sing your heart out in one of their five karaoke rooms and listen to live music.

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“I hope that Capitol Bar and Lounge becomes a staple with, you know, live music, comedy shows, sports. Just very diverse when it comes to different like entertainment, and food and people,” Guy said.