// BY JAMES HAMP //
PHOTOS BY // MICHAEL GLEASON PHOTOGRAPHY
In an era of breweries and wine bars and other upscale and stylish places, Duffy’s Bar is where Flushing locals go to find a sense of community. If you’re looking for somewhere to have a drink and a conversation in a welcoming atmosphere, then you’ve come to the right place.
The interior is rustic, with windows looking out on Main Street, and front and back doors. Regulars describe it as having a north end and a south end. There are roughly a dozen bar stools and plentiful tables.
They don’t serve food at Duffy’s, although the Michigan-crafted Better Made Chips hang on the wall and the beer nuts linger behind the bar if needed. This is a place where you can meet for coffee with the old-timers, though some of them have sadly faded away and the morning crowds continue to shrink. Mornings and afternoons at this establishment are populated with tradesmen, some retired, discussing their projects. In fact, it’s what some might call a tradesman’s bar. A lost bar, a shot bar and a beer bar.
In 1980, Al Prosser opened Duffy’s Bar, which he named after his dog. Prior to that it was Walt’s Bar and before that, the building had several other incarnations over the history of Flushing, which became a village in 1877. It was always a tavern, but possibly a grocery store too at one time. A couple named John and Kathy Kanera took over the bar after Al’s death in 2005.
Not only having a drink together, but contributing to charities and helping one another, are prime functions of this establishment. Community is paramount. There is even a plaque on the wall honoring patrons who have died. They are still part of the Duffy’s “family,” no matter where they are, for their memories live on in the rest of us. And I know that no matter where I go or for how long, I will always be welcomed whenever I stop in.
Duffy’s is also a safe haven for veterans, bikers, workers and some local professionals. Or anyone who wants to stop in. Patrons talk of wars and work that needs to be done. Sports take up a large share of conversation here as well.
I first stopped into this bar 20-some years ago and didn’t know anyone—probably had something to eat at Skip’s next door. Nonetheless, I had a drink or two with some friends then and felt quite comfortable in the nostalgic atmosphere of the place. I came back from time to time but not on a regular basis until a few years later, when I learned that a few of my friends were spending time there. I eventually met Al, the owner, who turned out to be one of my dad’s fraternity brothers.
I began to understand that this was a place that people could go where they would always see someone that they knew. And soon the friendships and the acquaintances began to grow. It became a place where I wanted to be—where people wondered where I was if they hadn’t seen me in a while. Acquaintances became a little like friends and family. The many great folks of Duffy’s take care of each other—when someone is in need, they are there.
I spent the next 10 years away from Flushing off and on, but I always came back. When I was up north, or in Montana, Florida or North Carolina, each time I visited Duffy’s it was still the same. Everyone still knew me. The friendships I have built there will last a lifetime.
SO, IF YOU ARE EVER IN FLUSHING, STOP INTO DUFFY’S, HAVE A FIRST DRINK, A FIRST CONVERSATION, AND BUILD A FRIENDSHIP—BUT JUST REMEMBER THAT IF YOU DO, YOU WILL PROBABLY BE BACK, FOR IT IS A PLACE FILLED WITH PEOPLE WHO GROW ON YOU IN THE NICEST WAY.