Kay’s, since 1934, is a corner bar in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. It’s a spacious, airy dive with plenty of booth space and a long bar with 16 stools. We’ve been to bars with stronger drinks and lower prices, but not many with the overall appeal of Kay’s.
The real wood paneled walls are covered in large mirrors and lighted beer signs, mostly from the 1970s. My favorite was the Colt 45 sign with Billy Dee Williams and the quote, “It works every time.” I asked our waitress, Rachel is they serve a special Manhattan. She said, “You’ve come to the right place, my friend. Have you seen our whiskey wall?” She was great. The bartender made me his signature Manhattan with Elijah Craig bourbon. It was good, but not unusual. Drinks are reasonable, but not cheap. Happy Hour well drinks are 3 bucks, and it costs a buck extra if it’s a mixed drink. The price goes up one dollar after Happy Hour. We were there at 7pm. My manhattan was $7.50. Kate’s well martini was $5. They had a great selection of micro brewed beers on tap from Oregon, Washington and California. The pints are $3 at Happy Hour and $4.50 after. Pabst is also on tap for less. Kate chased her martini with a Pinot Gris for $5.75. I had some of the best Buffalo wings, ever. Their food specials included Kay’s Virginia Pulled Pork in sandwiches and burritos.
Rachel, the kind-hearted waitress curtsied. She is proud to be serving at Kay's Bar. I love a martini and the well vodka here is potato. Nice choice. Kay's is located on a bright intersection. There is seating outside, but to enter Kay's is the key. The bar stools, the industrial lights,the large black and white original painting by J. Wade (with the red accents on the bar sign and jovial customers in a happy stance) is placed at the heart of Kay's. The music is a wonderful compilation of what I love about my high school passion; everything from Gil Scott Heron to Amy Winehouse and not too much blues. We sat in a booth facing the bar and we could hear each other clearly. Big kudos on comfort. Rachel told us about the ghosts and the fact that there was never a "Kay". I will return to sense the ghost of Kay.
At the bottom of Kay’s menu:
Kay's Kitchen takes great pride in making virtually everything from scratch and not using processed foods. We also maintain high standards regarding our impact upon the environment - 85-90% of all our kitchen waste is composted or recycled. Our "to go" containers are also compostable.
In the '80s, Bill Wadhams was a rock star and Katherine Hammond was a top model and actress. He sang "Obsession" while she worked with Calvin Klein. Unlike many of their peers, they did not join AA. Cheers!
Photos: William Wadhams, Katherine Hammond and Kay's server Rachel
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