Andrea Lee, a beloved bartender at Sangillo’s Tavern who offered comfort, laughter and “really good drinks” to its patrons for 37 years, died unexpectedly on Nov. 6. She was 65.

Ms. Lee worked Wednesday and Friday nights at the popular Portland neighborhood bar, which usually drew large crowds with Lee behind the bar.

“Andrea could make a drink like no one else,” said Kathleen Sangillo, manager of the family-owned bar on Hampshire Street in Portland. “She had her own special way of making drinks and everyone loved them. Andrea was the heart of the bar and we are all just heartbroken.”

Ms. Lee, a lifelong Portland resident, spent most of her career as a bartender at Sangillo’s Tavern. She previously worked for Bubba’s Sulky Lounge, the former Popeye’s Ice House and the Silver House Tavern, all in downtown Portland. Ms. Lee was widely respected by bartenders and bar owners in the Portland area.

Rhonda MacLean, a bartender at Bubba’s, who worked with Ms. Lee at Sangillo’s, said the customers loved her.

“She was awesome,” MacLean said during her shift on Wednesday. “Andrea had many friends and she will be very much missed by everyone who knew her.”


Karen Greer, owner of the Silver House Tavern on Commercial Street, said Ms. Lee was a great bartender who drew customers into Greer’s business. Lee worked for Silver House for two years when it was located on Fore Street.

“Everyone loved Andrea,” Greer said. “She was a great, great bartender. She was just so kind to everyone. She was very good with the public. Everyone loved her.”

John Guinn, owner of the Commercial Street Pub, said Ms. Lee was a good person.

“She was a great lady. She was always there,” Guinn said.

This week, regulars at Sangillo’s Tavern expressed their sorrow in condolences posted on Facebook. A post about Ms. Lee’s untimely passing drew 32 comments. The news of her death spread quickly on Facebook. A regular of Sangillo’s wrote, “This lady sure will be missed! Rest in peace, Andrea. I know that you are with some of your beloved family members now … Your heart was as big as the drinks you poured. Cheers to you.”

One of her two sons, Mark Lee, of Portland, remembered his mother Wednesday as a woman who dedicated her life to family and friends and touched so many people’s lives.


“She was the most caring, wonderful and giving person,” her son said. “She would do anything for anyone. She put others before herself, always. She was always willing to lend a helping hand, even though she didn’t have much.”

Ms. Lee, a longtime resident of Hancock Street, never married. She was a single mother to her two sons.

“She was a loving mom. She never let us go hungry,” her son said. “She gave us what we needed. She was always there to support us with whatever we did.”

Ms. Lee’s services are noted in her obituary, which appears in Thursday’s newspaper. In addition, a celebration of Ms. Lee’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Sangillo’s. Everyone is welcome.

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