When I heard through the grapevine about a bar with giant-sized billiards, I knew I had to find it. Armed with the knowledge that the bar existed somewhere in Englewood, my pro bar-sleuth assistant discovered that the establishment in question was called Duffer Haus, and we made a plan to check it out on a recent Sunday. We were not disappointed.
This new spot, in what had for ages been the Englenook at 3470 South Broadway, offers an airy, refurbished interior with big windows looking out onto the downtown drag and adding ample natural light illuminating Colorado-inspired art, a small crowd of friendly locals and the thing we'd been hoping for: giant pool! In addition to a few normal billiards tables, one side of the bar was almost entirely taken up by two floor-level games resembling miniature turf-covered soccer fields, but with pockets and undersized soccer balls painted with designs and numbers like standard billiard balls.
Owner Brian Meadows was behind the bar on this particular Sunday afternoon; he poured my friend a beer from the seasonal tap, and I went with one of those cans of spiked seltzer because they had grapefruit, which is the best kind. Duffer Haus has been open for six months and is the first bar venture for Meadows, but he tells us his business partners own bars all over the world. He's in the process of building out a kitchen for his chef and partner, a native Sicilian who's skilled in all kinds of Italian dishes and pastries and has been a personal chef for Rod Stewart and Olivia Newton-John. Once the kitchen is completed, Duffer Haus will serve Italian food and welcome families daily until 8 p.m., at which time it will transition to an adults-only bar for the rest of the night. For now, there are calzones, pizzas and stromboli available heated up in the oven in anticipation of the upcoming food offerings like those once enjoyed by famous singers of the ’70s.
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A couple sitting across from us dug into a calzone that looked pretty tasty, but we stuck with just drinks, not wanting to be too full for our upcoming soccer-billiards games. A few other youngish customers drifted in and out, and a family came in to set up for a breast cancer benefit concert. Charity events, such as recent a fundraiser for Free the Girls, an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking become self-sufficient by selling bras on the secondhand market, are becoming a feature at Duffer Haus on the weekends, as are live music and DJs.
Creative events like pet pint painting, where you can paint your pet on a pint glass for a fee, happen on a rotating basis, and the entire bar is also available for private parties. Meadows and his crew are getting ready to throw a big "Freaky Friday" Halloween shindig and costume party that's open to the public on October 26. Guests at the party will find music by DJ Stretch, $3 beers, and cash prizes for the best costumes of the evening. Meadows has all kinds of rotating specials going on, like $2 Jolly Rancher shots on Thirsty Thursdays, drink specials for Oktoberfest, Zombie Crawl and other events, and Wine Wednesdays, with $3 wines all day.
We should have come on a Tuesday, when it's free to play giant pool — actually called Gamböl — but we were willing to pay this time to add to our Duffer Haus adventure. We hit the massive soccer/pool table situation after being told the rules: no drinks and no shoes on the turf, but otherwise, have fun! It's $10 for a half-hour and $15 for an hour of Gamböl. It was much more fun than regular pool, in my opinion, despite the fact that I am pretty unskilled at both versions. I won, however, because my friend is even worse.
At Meadows's recommendation, we wrapped up the evening with one of the bar's house-infused shots, which come in pickle or pepperoncini versions. The pepperoncini shot was delicious, tasting like straight pepperoncini juice, but in the best possible way. With that, we left Meadows and the bar crowd to enjoy the fundraiser, and made plans to come back soon for more giant pool and friendly vibes in Englewood. Call 303-353-9917 or visit the Duffer Haus website for more details.