HOUSTON (KTRK) --One of Houston's oldest bars and iconic watering holes is set to close its doors Labor Day weekend.
For 77 years Kay's Lounge in southwest Houston has served up cold drinks and a warm smile. But the time has come for one last hug goodbye.
"I've actually been coming here since I was a kid," said regular customer Nell Lukosavich. "My dad used to bring me here for Astros games and stuff. It's just been a landmark for a lot of people for a long time."
Marshall Hefley and his brother -- both Houston firefighters -- bought the place back in 2001.
He recalled, "When we first got it, we came in and we painted and fixed stuff. Everybody attacked us. Don't do that, don't change anything, we backed off."
Kay's has always been a neighborhood bar with lots of regulars, like the famous Dr. Red Duke - who founded Memorial Hermann's Life Flight program.
"People would leave him alone because they respected him. He wasn't attacked. He would come in and get a certain beer, which was always Shiner bock," Hefley recalled. "He would make his own pizza and come in and chat with people."
This tiny kitchen still serves up about 100 pizzas a week. Most of them are eaten on the iconic Texas table, which will be placed in storage for now.
There's just something about that old furniture and the way it lasts forever. Just like the memories of customers like Richard -- a veteran with his own parking spot out front.
"He was in hospice and his last couple of days he actually had someone bring him when he was still able to get around. They got a wheelchair and brought him in so he could have his last beer at Kay's."
Kay's is one of the oldest bars in Houston and celebrated its 75th anniversary not long ago. The West Alabama Ice House claims to be Houston's oldest bar, opening in 1928.
La Carafe, thought by many to be the oldest bar in Houston, is located in the oldest building, but the bar itself didn't open until the 1950's.