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Duffy's is the latest level in the ever-escalating sports-bar arms race. This location is one of the newest of the chain's 22 bases that run up the coast from Fort Lauderdale to Melbourne. The patio, next to the front door, is filled with so many plasmas that after a time, it must seem like ESPN is on the heads-up display in your retina. Inside the warehouse-sized space, the bar area is surrounded by a setup of video projectors that bring to mind the NORAD command center in Cheyenne Mountain or Mission Control at NASA. The next step in sports bar design will no doubt be a Buckminster Fuller style geodesic dome tiled with flat screens or something resembling the holodeck on Star Trek.
Framed sports memorabilia, meticulously hung, covers every square inch of wall space not taken up by TVs. An assortment of pro and college football team helmets cover the partitions that separate the dining area. Female servers wear NFL player jerseys and the males wear referee uniforms like they have at Foot Locker.
I was told beforehand by a friend that Duffy's has the best happy hour in town. The manager billed it the same way. And I'd have to agree. There are a few other happy hours that come close, in their convenient hours or in their simplicity -- but most still have glitches such as not being offered on weekends, stopping for a few hours, or covering only domestics and wells. The few restrictions at Duffy's seem to be in place only so people have a better chance of making it home in one piece.By Pat Rothblatt