Last Call at Marfreless: "I Needed Closure"
"It's an atrocity, it's an institution and it shouldn't be messed with," says the loyal patron of Marfreless for more than 40 years. "I moved with them here and I will be there if they move again."
Lytle first came to Marfreless as a college student, when the bar's motto was "Beer, Bach and Beethoven." It offered refined ambiance and lively conversation, with original owner Fred Hong manning the bar.
"No matter what your view was, he would argue the opposite, but it was always in fun," says Lytle.
Kay Fitzpatrick shares the same sense of wistfulness in coming out. "It's an important part of my life... so many memories," she says. "I needed closure."
Fitzpatrick looks young for a customer of 19 years, with good reason - she first came to the River Oaks bar when she was underage, a seemingly common thread among many regulars. After all, this is a place with an "anything goes" reputation.
Fitzpatrick's companion, Krisnah Ougrah, admits, "I saw people having sex upstairs and got the courage to do it myself." He follows by revealing the skinny on some local athletes (who will remain anonymous) treating their mistresses to nights out under this very roof.
While most bear some emotional animosity towards Weingarten Realty for the decision to oust the much-loved dive, CPAs Lance Hack and Terri (who wouldn't give a last name) maintain that it's just bad business.
"Weingarten would benefit by letting [Marfreless] continue - it would be good for everyone," says Hack. "It's interesting and adventurous. What else are they going to put back here?"
Of course, he means the bar's tucked-away location in the rear of the River Oaks strip center.
"Not a nail salon!" interjects Terri.
"The fact that it exists provokes a sense of mystery for the shopping experience," adds Hack.