La Kiva History

La Kiva was the brainchild of Gilbert Felts, an irreverent and eccentric Texan given to excess who passed away in 1989. This sprawling bar was owned by Gil’s nephew, Glenn Felts, from 1991 to 2014.

Glenn and La Kiva have been featured in two documentary
films, “Ghost Town: 24 Hours in Terlingua”, and “Barbecue, A Texas Love Story”.

La Kiva was also named “one of the 50 best bars in America” by
Men’s Journal magazine.  Great reviews were also reported in the
Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Times Travel
section, Texas Monthly, Texas Highways and countless
worldwide travel guidebooks.

A party mecca for locals and a “must-see” for tourists, La Kiva is the place GQ magazine calls “the #1 most bizarre bar you must visit before you die”.

Glenn died in tragic circumstances in the early morning hours of the 4th of February, 2014. The best description of the events can be found at A Death in the Texas Desert.

John and Josie Holroyd purchased the bar and restaurant in August, 2014 and are currently organizing sensitive renovations in anticipation of re-opening later in the year.

15 thoughts on “La Kiva History”

  1. John,

    I am so grateful for your time and the tour the other day with my son Sebastian and daughter Isabella. As more details emerge I will post them to Facebook so those of us in San Antonio can share in your passion to the rebirth of La Kiva.

    1. Hi Laurence, Sebastian and Isabella,

      I was delighted to be able to walk you around and show you what we are doing to upgrade La Kiva. Thanks for passing on my updates. That is appreciated. I hope to see you soon (after we have finished the upgrade).

  2. I am so sorry and mad at the same time, I glen sounded so cool and I am sorry I did not get to hang out with him :( also I hope one day to visit and meet every one there, I might never leave. It looks like my kind of place to live out the rest of my days. Peace to every one there.

    1. You are so right. Glenn was a cool guy and we are all saddened that he is not here any longer. His spirit lives on at La Kiva.


  3. Back in 1992/1993 I lived in Big Bend NP and was shocked and saddened to hear of Glenn’s passing. He gave me two of the kittens that were always running around the place. Kasper let me borrow a jacket one night from his trunk that gave me ring worm – no big deal, it’s the thought that counts – and Doc autographed the photo of him posing on the Cadillac, which I still have. I’ve always said Terlingua is where I want to retire and I’m so glad to see that such a cool and magical place has reopened so it will be there upon my I return.

  4. It is a shame what happened to Glenn I have been following the program on TV. He was a cutie pie and seemed to have a good heart.

  5. Terlingua and La Kiva have been a favorite of mine for many years. I’m glad to hear that La Kiva has reopened. I will be visiting next week and looking forward to going back to La Kiva. Glen sounded like a real gem, I’m sure he was present back in the days I used to go for dinner and spirits after our long day hikes. His spirit will live on at La Kiva. God Speed

  6. John, will be out there (unless plans change) on Tuesday, January 5th with about 22 or so Horned Frogs from TCU. Should be getting there between 5 and 6. I am looking forward to the ‘new’ menu and the new La Kiva. If there are any changes in the date I will let you know. Art

  7. We visited La Kiva way back when. Glen was one of a kind and took pity on us – being from the East Coast – and with no idea of what we wanted. Told us a raft on the river was one of the things we should do – so we did. Well worth the visit to La Kiva! It was one of the highlights of our trip to Big Bend.
    Good luck to the new La Kiva and hope to visit again

  8. I just saw the story of Glenn Felts’ murder. Although the last time I saw Glenn was February -March 1988, I am in shock and am posthumously mourning his death. Looks like and sounds like the man I knew. Did he play guitar? Glenn lived in the apartment next to me in Mineral Wells around 1985-86 until I moved out. Stayed in touch a couple years after. February 1988 I got a call from him asking if I wanted to go see Aerosmith in Dallas. We had a lot of fun. I will always remember him as a good dude.

  9. Just learned of Glenn Felts ‘ murder on NGC. Although I haven’t seen him in 28 years I am in shock. Sure he was same guy I knew. Did he play guitar? I remember a good guitar player. He lived in the apartment next to me 1985-86 until I moved. Last saw him when we went to an Aerosmith concert in Dallas February 1988. The world lost a good man.

  10. Wow! What a transformation…..La Kiva ‘reborn’ from the ashes, I believe that Glenn and I would have enjoyed sharing a drink and a chat in the new look watering hole, may the craic be good….the drinks be strong…..the comhrá be happy and joyous and the food be spicy…..Terlingua Big Bend Curry is my favorite : rattler meat; Moruga Scorpion Chili Peppers and some authentic Indian curry spices……….mixed with tequila and a dash of Yellow Rose beer

    I wish you all the best.

  11. I too am from England and want to say good on you for renovating such an important landmark for Terlingua. I have just finished watching the docuseries Badlands on Netflix, hence the reason I find myself here on this site. Glenn seemed like a pretty awesome guy and I’m glad you guys are keeping his memory and la Kiva alive. Good luck to all of you, I wish you every success x

  12. We visited La Kiva back in 97.. We happened upon it. My wife and I have never forgotten. We would give anything to come back but alas we are getting too poor and old to drive that far for a cold beer and a good time. We will never forget the awesome place.

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Follow along as we describe the rebirth of La Kiva, the iconic restaurant and bar in Terlingua, Texas.

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