KAY’S LOUNGE CLOSING IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS Perennial oldest-bar-in-Houston contender Kay’s Lounge, at 2324 Bissonnet St., is closing forever on September 3rd, per a reader’s telling (and a corroborating Facebook post from the bar itself) . The land the bar sits on was bought more than a year ago by a corporate entity using the same address as townhome-slash-mansion builder Frasier Homes in sales docs filed with the county. The bar has been leasing its space back from the new owners since then; a few of the bar’s 1940s companion structures, bought up by the same entity, met their end earlier this summer. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Kay’s Lounge at 2324 Bissonnet St.: Thomas C.
Say it ain’t so! Lots of memories in that place. I used to love dropping in a handful of quarters in the jukebox as I was departing the bar and selecting Skynyrd’s “Freebird” as my music selection over and over again, then exit quickly before the remaining patrons realized they would endure a hour of the same song, over and over again. Also remember seeing Dave Ward holding court in the bar area back in the day. Good times.
Sad news. But it’s not an “ice house”. Just a bar.
Did Dave Ward die??
Thanks, James! Updated the article.
Another Houston institution / landmark driven out by the Harris County Appraisal District. The property valuation at that address (and the thus, the property taxes) have gone up 63% in the past four years. As business owners–and homeowners–we have to keep working harder and harder–longer and longer–to earn more and more money–just to feed the greedy HCAD monster. Literally every day, more and more long time small business owners and homeowners inside the loop are saying “fuck it” and selling out to the builders and franchises–and either closing for good–or moving farther and farther out. Eventually there will be nothing but rich white people, new townhouses, mid-rises, national chain stores–and, of course, ever more homeless people–covering the entire inner loop. Something needs to be done to stop the HCAD juggernaut before it destroys the entire city.
OMG the sky is falling and it’s pouring rich, white people!!
Another one down, sad news indeed. I wish there was an “independent neighborhood historical gathering location” exception for property taxes on small businesses like Kay’s. The county loss could be made up by charging a premium on the new dense development nearby (2520 Robinhood comes to mind). But it has too much of a “income redistribution” smell to ever fly in Texas.
I was wondering when that icky looking old place would go away. My partner and I feel it lacks a certain vibe. Hopefully something “Heightsy” will replace it.
@Crazy — No, he didn’t die. He’s being forced out from KTRK after 50 years (and Guinness Book of World Records mention). They offered to let him report on the rodeo, but he recognized that as the insulting token offer that it is, and is leaving the station entirely at the end of the year.
@googlemaster – nothing against this guy personally, but I don’t get the mindset that someone is entitled to the same job for 50 years. Let someone new have a shot. It’s not like be cured cancer. He’s a news anchor. Start something new – don’t occupy the same space until you have to be forced out.
@ax – yes, HCAD is out of control. They are proof that people will carry out bad acts in a bureaucratic environment because it is their job
Another sad closing here. Remember those politicians in office now in Austin who campaigned on property tax reform. Keep this in mind when they ask for a promotion next time around at the voting box.
The original owner of Kays sold it to a real estate partnership in 2001, and died in 2004. This was not a small business owner being forced out due to high taxes, it was a property investor monetizing a long term investment.
Funny I didn’t even know David Ward got forced out. I use to see him years ago pounding beers at Kay’s between news shows hence my comment… But not surprised they final smelled the beer on his breath !!! 😁