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Denver Post article

Duffy’s last call

Famed downtown tavern Duffy’s to close on Nov. 30
Posted:   11/15/2006

Duffy’s Shamrock Bar, a downtown Denver institution for more than fifty years, will pour its last “World Famous” Irish coffee at the end of the month.

Ken and Frank Lombardi, the brothers who own the restaurant and bar, are selling their two-building property on Court Place to the owner of the adjacent 56-story Republic Plaza.

Over the years, Duffy’s has remained among the more popular gathering spots for lunch, after-work drinks and holiday cheer.

“It’s been a great ride and I’ve had a lot of fun here,” said Ken Lombardi. “But it’s time to go.”

On St. Patrick’s Day, Duffy’s would draw thousands of people who would wait outside for hours. Some even camped out in sleeping bags to be first inside, said bartender John Naffah, who has served drinks at Duffy’s for 24 years.

“We couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Once inside, revelers feasted on corned beef and cabbage, washing the grub down with green beer.

One year, St. Patrick patrons found their way into the kitchen and started a pie fight. Another time, two revelers stripped off their clothes and danced down the 70-foot long bar, disappearing out the door.

On Nov. 30, the last call will be final.

“It’s difficult to wrap something like this up,” said Tom Gleason, former press secretary for Sen. Gary Hart and Denver Mayor Federico Peña. “It’s a family on both sides of the bar and will never be duplicated again.”

At that bar, it wasn’t extraordinary to find a lawyer sitting next to a plumber sitting next to a college student sitting next to a great-grandmother.

In the building above Duffy’s, more than 40 tenants – among them geologists and engineers – are preparing to move. Most of them leased their space on a handshake with the brothers.

Many upstairs tenants use Duffy’s as a sort of side office, where business deals are made over the daily special.

“I have an office upstairs. I have a seat at the end of the bar. I have my picture on the wall,” said Burt Mugavero, who runs a recruiting business.

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1 Comment

  1. Some great St. Patrick’s memories at Duffy’s!!

    Reply

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