A few weeks back I wrote a story about my favorite non-smoking bars. Today I found out the venerable Keys Lounge will soon be following suit. The last time I went to Keys, the air was so densely fogged with smoke you could have cut with a knife and spread it on a cracker.

At the time of this posting, Keys’ owner Danny Ross had not yet responded to Fort Worth Weekly. But in a Facebook post by Michael “Big Mike” Richardson, he quoted Ross confirming the news.

Several bands have requested that the club be non-smoking for their show, Ross said. It was happening so frequently that he decided to just make the club smoke-free permanently.

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“Yes it’s true,” Ross told Richardson. “Right now it’s no smoking on weekends, and as soon as I have the patio built, it will be totally non-smoking.

“I think it will help attendance and be healthier for everyone,” he continued.

Ross said that the new rule begins this Friday, and he should have a patio finished by mid-next week.

Keys has always stood out to me as a quintessential blues bar: It’s stocked with long-haired musos brandishing overbites to accentuate the intensity of his or her guitar solo; a full dance floor, cheap drinks, and, of course, it’s smoky as a camp fire. Ross’s decision to end smoking at Keys shatters that image — in a good way, as far as I’m concerned.

Keys is one of only a handful of bar/music venues that are non-smoking. Live Oak, Magnolia Motor Lounge, and The Oui Lounge are also smoke-free. Feel free to comment if you know of any others.


  1. For me, it’s really bad news. I won’t go back. Maybe for one last hurrah…

    The blues is all about love, pain, grit, life, loss, and the uncomfortable willingness to do it all over again. A true blues bar/club is a place that accepts you as you are, where you go to escape and get a different perspective. It’s a place where friends are suddenly transformed into family if only for just a few hours. I understand a smoke free environment – I’m a smoker, but would never smoke in my own home. When a place that you go to, to be free of all convention, starts imposing rules on you, it’s more of a chore than an experience. Since I vote with my pocketbook, he who has the peso has the say-so, and I’ll go somewhere else. And I am not a sometime patron. I am there every Thursday and most weekends. That amounts to $1280.00 per month on average. I asked the owner last month to sell me the Keys. He said no. He said it’s a labor of love, that he has a regular job, and that the club breaks even. The former is awesome, and the latter could be improved, and I fear that if you are running a business that is just making it, that it is a VERY risky move to alienate all of your musicians and half of your clientele…

  2. I love it that there are now non-smoking venues. I truly get sick as a dog after breathing cigarette smoke so have always just had to miss out. Bravo Keys!