La Kiva Is Now A Topless Bar

Last week the roof really came off La Kiva.  It was not without some very mixed feelings that we watched our fabulous crew ripping apart the very thing we are trying to save.  The bar, without it’s roof and without its furnishings is far from sad.  It is a powerful piece of architecture made even more imposing in its stripped down state.   The inside is spectacular with the dappled sunlight brightening the walls.  La Kiva is an amazing environment that has been responsible for creating important and lasting memories for a vast number of people over the last 33 years.  Now we have got to fix it without spoiling it.  No pressure!!!!!!  One of the comments we got in response to an earlier blog reads “This is a beautiful, practically sacred undertaking.  Blessings from Austin. I’m waiting for the grand re-opening and if I have to skateboard there I’m going to make it. That place has meant so much to me over the years.”  As I said, “No pressure.”.
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Quite a lot of the wood that was buried in the concrete was rotten and termite chewed and quite a bit of the roof was in a similar parlous state state.  A number of the vigas need to be replaced because of rot and some just needed to be replaced to make them match.  The old vigas in the outdoor bar are weather checked and a bit fragile so we are going to upgrade them and make them better able to cope with the new roofing that is going to be attached.

Outdoor bar gigas
Old Vigas Need Upgrading

When La Kiva re-opens it will be a non-smoking bar.  The outside bar will be equipped with a roof and three walls, so it will be a sheltered spot for smokers to visit during the more inclement weather.  The addition of a couple of ceiling fans and a heater will make it almost all  weather.

Evidence Of Three Earlier Roofs

The evidence of earlier roofs did surprise us.  We had heard that the roof leaked, more or less since new, so we were surprised to find evidence of at least three previous phases of roofing.  That was not exactly what we had been led to believe.  Let’s hope we finally get rid of those pesky leaks.

Clearing The Decks For The New Plumbing And Concrete Work

As part of the extensive  new septic system, a requirement before we re-open, we have to put in new drains and water lines.  Rather than looking at this as being a terrible imposition we are regarding it as an opportunity to fix long existing problems, to improve the back bar facilities and kitchen and to bring La Kiva up to the best, modern hygienic standards.  We are certain that our bar staff will adore the improved facilities and the kitchen staff will never want to go home.

One Of Our Staging Areas

We have collected quite a decent pile of corrugated iron waiting to be repurposed.  If you want any, drop by and see me.

One last thing.  In investigating the walls of the kitchen we discovered extensive rot.  To put the kitchen into a state that it needs to be, we need to replace the walls most of the way around.  This is a lot more work than we anticipated but we will end up with an even better kitchen than we had originally planned and it will be 90% new construction.

We are still looking for that sack of Krugerrands that Gil is reputed to have buried.  Now would be a real good time to find them and we hope it’s a big sack.

It appears the weather gods are being kind to us while we have no roof.  No rain in the forecast for the next ten days except for a 10% chance on Friday.

12 thoughts on “La Kiva Is Now A Topless Bar”

  1. Shit. Make it your own. That’s the spirit. Enjoy yourself and the rest will follow.

    ps – you can’t please everyone, why try?

  2. Looking good and eagerly anticipating your Grand Opening. Really hoping the front entrance will be the same. Nothing like dropping down through that door into the cave! Especially for the first timer. Keep up the good work!

  3. John, nice chatting with you today. Saw your comment on corrugated sheet metal – I sure could use a bunch of that for the ruin I’m rebuilding in the ghost town – can you save me a pile! I can come in the morning – jeff

  4. Truly a labor of love. It would have been easier to bulldoze it and start from scratch but I KNOW you are wanting to save the heart of it. I have every faith that you will.

  5. Eagerly awaiting the new Kiva and delighted you’re in touch with and hoping to retain how unique the beloved old place has been for a long long time. Good luck with finding the Kruggerands. Sounds like there’s a great use for them

  6. Amazing repair John and Josie. So glad I was able to visit with you last month. We will be out for the big Barlow party the weekend of Oct 18th.
    I created a mosaic for Gareth Park and I hear it is being brought out for the festivities. Perhaps you can come to Gareths lot across from the El Dorado and see it.
    Still interested in creating a memorial if the time comes.

  7. Re Kathleen Griffith’s post:
    Please come to the Barlow Bash and meet the out-of-towners who have gathered at Gareth Park for almost 20 years every October. You will see some of the musicians at High Sierra and Starlight that weekend, as well as the camp fires at night. It has always been a tradition to have a party at LaKiva as well, and we all anxiously await its reopening. I know that everyone is routing for you and your endeavor. Can’t wait for the reopening! But, no pressure! LOL!

  8. With that much demolition you could probably get a big pile of Krugerrands by selling donation bricks (or stones).

    Let people donate money to the rebuilding effort, and they get a brick or some kind of stone shaped brick with their name and home place etched on it. I think a lot of people far and wide wouldn’t mind donating some money and leaving their mark on their favorite West Texas Bar. Maybe if you donate enough money you can get your beer at happy hour prices for period of time or purchases? 😉 Kinda like a kickstarter deal.

    You should see how much interest there is, you might be able to cover some cost you weren’t expecting.

    Well just a thought,

    Sean D
    San Antonio

  9. It was so great meeting you both and spending the time to get to know you. We will be following the progress eagerly. Please let us know if you need anything at all. Hopefully, Thomas and Henry will be down around the holidays and can lend a helping hand.

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