Getting lucky on the boulevard
On Galveston Island, bars and restaurants come and go. The Island is known for its abundance of great places to hang out, meet the locals, and enjoy great food and drink. Sometimes a bar is so popular it just can’t die!
Like the legendary phoenix found in mythology, Lucky Lounge is one of those places that has risen from the “ashes” and made a fantastic come back.
Over 16 years ago, legendary island businessmen Todd MacKenzie and partner Tom Fiero, took command of a small biker bar at 8305 Stewart Road. With some much-needed changes and innovations, the bar became a very popular spot for locals and visitors.
Catering to a huge variety in clientele, Lucky Lounge became a favorite watering hole for day drinkers, after work “cool-off” drinks and, of course, festive nighttime partiers that enjoyed the local neighborhood pub feel that MacKenzie and Fiero created at the location.
A few months back, the guys were informed the lease would not be renewed. Things change and fast on the Island. The property owner had other ideas for the location, so in a sad farewell and rushed effort, the “guts” of Lucky Lounge were loaded in POD units and placed in storage. The dedicated patrons did not like the loss, nor did Todd and Tommy.
With their long history of successful business operations on the Island (23rd Street Station Piano Bar, Cocktails Lounge and Galveston Pack & Ship, to name a few), the pair would not let the lounge die and become a memory. They began to look for a new location to rebirth Lucky Lounge. Both men feel a strong desire to give back to the island community that has given them so much over the years.
“We are so grateful for all that we have accomplished on the island and just want to continue to offer a safe and welcoming venue for all,” says MacKenzie.
MacKenzie points out that although the bar owners may be a same-sex couple that does not necessarily mean that their establishments are labeled “gay bars.”
“Look, we create a safe and fun environment for anyone that wants to come. Labels can cause divisions and we welcome all and with no labels,” he says. “Galveston is very accepting, and it is common for all types of people to gather in the clubs here, enjoying the festivities and mingling, just having a good time.”
Fiero chimes in, “It’s important for people, both locals and visitors, to know that all are welcome in the clubs. We believe in community.”
If you have lived in Galveston for a while, you will be familiar with club names such as 3rd Coast, The Pink Dolphin, Stars and others. On the Island, it is not uncommon for clubs to relocate now and then, bringing with them their history of success and, of course, their reputation. Over the years bar owners such as Todd Farrish (3rd Coast) and Eldredge Langinais (The Pink Dolphin) moved their clubs to different locations, sometime into the very building that previously housed the other bar. No matter where, the devoted crowds followed and remained loyal to their favorite haunt.
Wanting to keep Lucky Lounge alive and on the Island, MacKenzie and Fiero found a vacant location at 904 Avenue M, most recently the site of the Library Bar. In the past this location also housed 3rd Coast and The Pink Dolphin, located on the Seawall and offering a fantastic Gulf view. The duo felt it was a great fit and the ideal spot for the new Lucky Lounge to rise from the ashes.
After some negotiations and planning, the site was secured, and a remake began. New paint with bright yellow and green, restructured floor plan, completely renovated and updated bathrooms, a new patio and all new bar equipment. The stuffed POD units were unloaded, and the former Lucky Lounge came to life in the new location.
In looking for a club manager and after their long history of working with Chris Perkins, the pair asked the very capable Perkins to manage the new club. No stranger to the island scene, Perkins has bartended, DJ’d and performed many roles for MacKenzie and Fiero. Ironically, Perkins tended bar at the Pink Dolphin when it was located at the present 23rd Street site.
Perkins is very excited about the new Lucky Lounge and his role as manager.
“I’m looking forward to creating a fun and enjoyable space were all feel welcome and comfortable, he says. “We will offer the best view on the Island and the best service to our guests, both locals and tourists.”
Given his track record, Perkins is the perfect fit for the job, MacKenzie says.
“Chris is so successful and devoted, of course we wanted him to manage the bar,” he says. “He brings a great deal to the table.”
So begins a new chapter for Lucky Lounge and for 904 Avenue M. The bar will be open Monday through Fridays 10 a.m. ‘til 2 a.m. and Sundays noon ‘til 2 a.m. There are many beers on tap, several large screen TVs, new arcade machines, a jukebox and a pool table. The view from the front porch and windows is spectacular and really renders a welcoming, “beachy” feel to the club. The back patio offers picnic tables, smoking areas, a food truck when available and other events and opportunities. In the near future a patio bar and lush landscaping will be added.
The future looks bright for the new bar.
“It’s kind of scary, such an undertaking at this stage in our lives, but we feel sure we have put together a good team and will offer the same great service and atmosphere we have created in our other clubs,” MacKenzie says. “We look forward to seeing our old Lucky Lounge friends and making new ones here.”
The bar is planning to open in very early September and will be hosting the annual Barry White Birthday Party on September 10 starting at 2 p.m. Like the 23rd Street club, the new lounge will host fundraisers and events benefiting the community.
If you are feeling lucky, check it out.