By Kevin Collison
Gerard’s at The Belfry is opening today in the Crossroads and chef Celina Tio believes combining billiards with fine food and cocktails will be a winning bank shot.
“There’s not a lot of places you can see this quality of food and cocktails and play pool,” she said. “More importantly, it has enough tables to be a pool hall, but not be a pool hall pool hall.
“You can chill here and not play pool and not feel weird.”
Tio opened The Belfry, a pocket bar and restaurant tucked into a building at 16th and Grand, in 2013. It took up only 1,100 square-feet of the 11,000 square-foot structure and she didn’t have the money to do more with the rest of the place.
Then last year, a Denver entrepreneur with experience developing in that city’s ‘RiNo District’ walked in her door and asked if she wanted to sell the building. Better yet, Ken Wolf told her he’d like her to keep running The Belfry.
His plan was to expand into the front space facing Grand once occupied by the KC Cafe and open Gerard’s. There’s also plans for office space upstairs.
“Gerard’s is a concept he has in Denver which is fun, because I always wanted pool here,” Tio said.
The Gerard’s side of The Belfry features five, competition quality pool tables and a dart board. It also has counter seating around the perimeter where people can eat, drink and watch the action.
Downstairs, Tio is planning to open a cellar speakeasy early next year that will feature cocktails made from her new line of liquors called ANNX Spirits Co. She is bottling her own custom vodka, gin, bourbon and a limited release of rye.
The ANNX liquor line also will be for sale throughout the metro by the bottle. Sales of the spirits begin next week.
Gerard’s at The Belfry, 1532 Grand, will be open at 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It will stay open until at least 10 p.m. weekdays, and midnight Fridays and Saturdays. If the pool balls are really cracking, it has a 1:30 a.m. liquor license.
Tio excited about the new expanded operation as well as hanging in there in a restaurant industry where the eight ball often is just a drop away.
“I like being in this area,” she said, “and I can’t believe it’s been nine years. It felt pretty lonely when we first opened here.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.