Kelly Boyd, center, talks to guests at the party thrown in his honor Wednesday night at the Marine Room. (Coastline Pilot / October 26, 2012)

The crowds that jammed into the Marine Room Tavern on Tuesday and Wednesday night were a testament to the regard in which the Mar Bar and its retiring owner, Councilman Kelly Boyd, are held.

New owner Chris Keller hosted the party and by any measure, it was a rousing success.

"It was beyond any of our expectations," Michelle Boyd said Thursday. "I am just a marshmallow today."

She was at work and so was her husband. He was back at the bar at 7:45 a.m., as he has been most mornings for the past 25 years.

"I have to say how much I appreciate the opportunity that Walt and Nellis Elterman gave me in 1987 to lease the Mar Bar," Boyd said. "I have thought so highly of them ever since."

Boyd and his late brother, Bo, and their wives partnered in the deal.

Bo's widow, Vicki, and their daughter Christen, were among the crowd Wednesday night, along with other members of the Boyd and Marine Room family: Sean Boyd; "step-in" daughter Kirsten Rugg; right hands "Aggie" Dougherty and "Big Brad" Charlton; and nephew Robby Boyd, who will stay on with Keller.

"I teased Chris that if he made too many changes, I would become his worst nightmare," Boyd said.

Both nights were packed with people, music and memories.

Former Mayor Kathleen Blackburn's fondest memory is the party at the Marine Room to celebrate her first election to the City Council.

"I had my 60th birthday party here," Rhonda Kinn said.

Architect Morris Skenderian recalls Phil and Frank Interlandi arguing in the Marine Room 40 years ago before Laguna's legendary cartoonists moved to the Ivy House, reportedly because the walk from bar to post office was shorter.

Skenderian also remembers "Songwriters Night" and listening to composer Jack Tempchin perform "Peaceful Easy Feeling," brought to town by Beth Fitchet-Wood, a member of Laguna's Honk.

"When I was 16, I used to walk by and this was the only thing open," said Bill Blackburn. "There would be three or four guys having a drink at 7:30 a.m. and smoking. I don't think it has changed much."

Bobbi Cox reminisced about dancing to the music of the Missiles of October on Sunday afternoons.

"The one-and-only time in my whole life I've ever gotten drunk was here," said architect Marshall Ininns. "A really good friend had died of a heart attack and another friend and I headed here and I got so drunk."

City Community Development Department Manager Ann Larson used to come to the Mar Bar with Heritage Committee member Tamara Campbell and Joan Upton every weekend to listen to music and dance.

"I used to come with my baby daughter and sit in the window while she listened to her father play the piano with the Missiles and fall asleep," said newly-elected City Clerk Lisette Chel.

Peggy and City Manager John Pietig were patrons of the Mar Bar long before John was hired by the city.

"We have been coming here for 20 years on New Year's Day," Peggy said. "We would meet friends at the White House and then come here to play pool."