By Rhonda Meredith (Published in the October 2010 issue)
When 646 turns into Grand Blvd., you know you are almost there. Nestled in between a produce stand and a dry cleaners is Bacliff’s own live music spot called Katie’s. I got the last parking spot in the front at 9pm on a Wednesday night, but there is plenty of parking behind the bar and on well-lit side streets.
Opening the front door, you are met with cool air and lots of banter. The lights from the bar beckoned me to make my way to the back. I dropped myself into a bar stool, a little nervous being there alone and was promptly met with a smiling face saying “Hi! I am “Crazy Lisa.” How can I help you tonight?” She was so bubbly and friendly and greeted me like an old friend. My nervousness was extinguished like a cigarette in an ashtray. I introduce myself to Crazy Lisa and asked “Is there really a Katie?” Why yes, it turns out there was and she was out to dinner, but would be returning soon. So I sat back and watched… and listened. Crazy Lisa greeted patrons with hugs. I swear, there wasn’t a stranger in the room.
Katie’s serves ice cold beer, wine and spirits. I opted for a dark red wine this night. It was served in a beautiful glass. It’s the small touches you notice at Katie’s. There were roses in vases placed around the bar. Crazy Lisa said she usually had candles out too. The single bar is shaped like a U and the polished wood was smooth to the touch. There were rope lights and knick knacks. The jukebox sat dutifully along the wall. It knew its place. The James Reese Band was taking the stage this night, so it would probably be silent. A few electronic games sat overlooked in favor of good conversation. The friendly argument at the bar this night was who would win “America’s Got Talent.” “Local Mike” was adamant the guy from Mississippi would win. (He did.)
I wasn’t the only new one in the bar. Another couple had wandered in, and I heard Local Mike telling them “it was the best bar in the area” and how “great” the band tonight was going to be. Local Mike was right again. When James Reese went to his zone, he channeled some Stevie Ray Vaughn like nothing I had witnessed before.
After about ten minutes, a petite blonde lady in jeans walked in carrying ice bags to fill the beer boxes. She cleaned the bar and checked the food orders. Katie’s serves bar food like pizza, wings, chips and salsa… I knew she had to be Katie. She was.
Opening a live music venue was something Katie and her husband had wanted to do. And almost six years ago, they made that dream a reality. Katie’s husband has the connections to bring in the top area musical acts. He is a member of the Groove Kings, and they play at Katie’s every other Wednesday night. Sundays is an open jam session with The Amigos. All musicians are welcome. On Monday night’s it’s Open Mic nights and on Tuesday nights, it’s country music. Did I mention there is never a cover at Katie’s?
We also chatted about the bar being the only thing open when Hurricane Ike decided to pay Galveston a visit. Katie still gets a little teary eyed when recalling how the community came together during that time. Many places didn’t make it and she is thankful her bar survived. I almost fell off my bar stool when I found out Katie wasn’t a native Texan. The Minnesota transplant has been here though almost 25 years so I’ll cut her some slack.
All and all, it was a great night. If you are looking for live music in Bacliff, stop by and say hello to Katie at 315 Grand Avenue.