Music News

Ami Benari pools his resources at ZanZBar Billiards

For the past decade, Ami Benari has run Tarantula Billiards (1456 Champa Street) with a simple business plan: Make a small profit by encouraging long-term relationships. Amenities like free pool have helped attract a loyal following, he says; some customers have frequented Tarantula pretty much since it opened in an upstairs space that had previously been a black hole for restaurants.

Benari is hoping that same business plan will work at ZanZBar Billiards (2046 Larimer Street), his new pool hall/bar/restaurant that opened December 1. ZanZBar is offering free pool seven days a week until further notice, as well as a $7 half-pound-burger-and-beer special, and $4 happy hour appetizers. The kitchen is about 60 percent operational now, he says, which is why ZanZBar is just serving burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. But once it's fully operational, Benari promises Brazilian rotisserie chicken and Mediterranean dishes as well.

Over the last ten months, Benari completely renovated the space, which had most recently been Market Central. A former resident of Manhattan, he wanted the design to capture the spirit of New York, he says, so he included a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty's crown created by his brother, Manny Benari, that now sits above the bar, and also made the bathrooms look like subway stations with black and white tile. Then he installed a dozen pool tables, four of them Brunswick Gold Crown tables, in half of the room — and left the other half as a bar that teeters on the edge of being classy without being pretentious. "We tried to get the upscale look but still make a feel that is open for everybody," Benari says. And he stocked it with one of the biggest Scotch selections in town.

DJs will spin on the weekend, he says, with live bands once a month. In a few weeks the club will start a Wednesday salsa night with a DJ at first, then a live band. And come February, Benari plans to throw a different kind of pool party, bringing in an actual pool, covering the floor with sand and hosting beach games like volleyball.

Club scout: On Thursdays, the Tavern Tech Center (5336 DTC Boulevard in Greenwood Village) is now offering a ladies' night when gals drink free from 9 p.m. to close while DJs spin tunes from the '70s, '80s and today. The bar also offers trivia on Tuesdays, as well as half-off bottled wine on Wednesdays and half-off appetizers Mondays through Thursdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. And during Twilight Hour, from 7 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, Bud and Bud Light drafts are $3 and Three Olives Vodka drinks are $4.

The Outbreak DJs recently introduced Whomp Wednesdays at Sutra (1109 Lincoln Street), where they're spinning beats, broken and straight, in electronic dance music. On December 23, they'll bring in Citrus, Dr. U, Bassline, DJMia and Arch-E; on December 30, the lineup includes Automated Prayer, Safety Tom, Amok, Ben Flexin and the Mentat.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon