By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — If the walls at Simon’s Bar and Café could talk, the pictures lining them would be able to tell you plenty of stories.

“This was Sacramento’s Cheers bar. When you went in, you knew everybody,” Adam Keigwin, a good friend of Simon Chan’s and lobbyist, said.

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The watering hole was run by Simon Chan until his passing on Sunday night. Keigwin said that Chan was a staple in Sacramento, especially in the capital community.

“Simon was always very warm, accommodating. He loved to have us come, stay open late, sing late, sing as loud as we want,” Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer and a good friend of Chan’s, said.

Chan’s son told CBS13 that his father, who ran the business for decades, passed away on Sunday due to COVID-19. A good friend of Chan’s, Don Wilcox, said that he had been in the hospital since January.

Plenty of customers who work in and out of the state Capitol would visit Simon’s and some lawmakers would pop in from time to time.

“Even at the time when the Capitol was evenly divided, people came here afterwards and broke bread, had a drink and worked stuff out. Business got done,” Wilcox, who has been a chief of staff in the state senate for various members over 21 years, said.

“You knew, got to know someone on a different level and that definitely helps in the relationship building,” Ma said.

Ma told CBS13 that she enjoyed the karaoke nights that she and others would have at Simon’s and even led something she called the Karaoke Caucuses while serving as an assembly member.

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Lobbyist and good friend of Chan’s, Gary Conover, said that it’s tough losing a friend of more than 30 years.

“You know, I think everybody has a story about a friend that dies of COVID. Now, there are thousands of friends that are going to be impacted by the loss of Simon,” Conover said.

“I just thought that he was a fighter and I thought he’d overcome it. But, unfortunately, COVID can take the best of us,” Keigwin said.

Conover and Wilcox also raved about the wild game meals that would be prepared by Chan for those who brought in what they had hunted. Wilcox said the establishment was known to plenty of duck hunters and duck clubs in the Western United States.

Chan’s son told CBS13 that he does plan to reopen the restaurant once indoor dining becomes more consistent and steady.

Many are waiting for the day to have this place filled with plenty of photographs and memories to reopen and honor Chan with a toast.

“Hopefully, Simon’s – the restaurant, the bar, the good times that we all had – are going to continue for many, many more years under the family,” Ma said.

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A memorial was held at 7 p.m. Monday at Simon’s Bar and Café for those looking to pay their respect to Chan. Additionally, flowers and candles have been placed at the doors of the establishment to honor him.