View Full Version : Bless the Old Fashinoned Pool Room!

05-12-2002, 04:06 PM
What a treat!

I spent about 4 hours Saturday in Chris's Billiards on Milwaukee in Chicago...first time there.

During that time there was no loud music, no loud talk, no boozers, no childish behavior. There WAS the sound of pool...racks being broken, balls falling into the hole, the occasional WHAP of a ball being fired into the back of the pocket on one of the 36 GC tables.

I didn't see any juke box, or pinball, or video games. I didn't hear any electronic noise (well...there was a couple of cell phone calls). I saw nine ft pool tables with green cloth and blue chalk and wood racks and no quarter slots. I saw pool lights and pool chairs and pool cues and pool balls and pool players!

What a great place and even though my play probably stunk the place up (couldn't make a ball!), and even though it took me 1.5 hours to travel the 22 miles to get there...thanks to city traffic (!) I'd love to go back tomorrow and spend a whole day there.

I even had the pleasure of running into our own George Fels! "This is the last of the ole time pool halls Jim...enjoy it."

This small town boy has never seen 5 billiards (3-cushion) tables in one place 'fore this.

Closest I'll ever get to heaven I 'spect.

05-12-2002, 04:13 PM
Oh Jim!
It sounds so wonderful, how lucky you are! And you saw George! I must confess, I was beginning to worry about him. We haven't had the pleasure of his presence here in quite some time. Perhaps we have and I missed it? :-( Well, I hope not anyway....

05-12-2002, 05:14 PM
And no ping pong tables?! Ping pong tables have been installed in a number of the rooms in Brooklyn.

I have nothing against ping pong, I used to play a pretty mean game in my day as a matter of fact. Having a public place to play ping pong is not a bad idea, but I dislike the sound of it in a pool hall. I would like to see the ping pong sections of pool halls closed off in glass so they could be seen but not heard.

05-12-2002, 06:59 PM

Those were (and still are in some places) the days.

My first real pool hall experience was at the age of 12. It was a room withing walking distance of my home (or riding distance if I wanted to tool down on my Schwinn "Apple Krate" bicycle.)

There were 30 9' Gold Crowns, a counter and a grumpy old man behind it. I would walk in, my cue case in hand (one of those black hard types),ask for a table and the old guy would ask "Watcha got in that thing boy?" He would hand me the balls and I would assemble my two-piece Taiwan made cue and pretend I was "Fats."

They had a jukebox, filled with 45rpm records and they played it at a tolerable level. You could easily hear the balls slapping the back of the pockets and the chalk squeaking as it dressed a hard leather tip.

They had one pinball machine. It never worked. They had two tables where the guys would play poker or dominoes. I never saw a woman in there. Back then, the pool hall was a "Man's place."

He never charged me and on occasion, he would give me a few pointers. There were some "seedy" types in that place but they all "adopted" me and called me "Shorty" (something my wife calls me to this day...funny, I'm 6' tall and she didn't even know me back then. Hmmm? I wonder who told her? Oh well.)

After pool, I would go next door to the drug store (Sun Drug in Phoenix) and sit at the fountain. I'd have a big burger, complete with fresh sliced tomato, cheese, crisp lettuce, sour dill pickle slices and a thick slice of red onion. Slather that toasted bun with catsup and mustard, salt my fries and have endless glasses of Coca-Cola, poured over crushed ice...all for $1.75.

After my lunch, I'd head home and tell lies to my Grandma & Grandpa (Happy Mother's Day Grandma! I miss you both) about beating some of the older guys in the room. Yes...I was on the path to being a life-long pool player.

31 years later and still going.



05-12-2002, 08:15 PM
Five billiard tables and 36 Gold Crowns,,,gives me somethin' to dream about...sid~~~wants that damn TX lottery to cough up his #s so he can build a serious players room FAST

05-12-2002, 08:25 PM
Hi Jim.
I too was at Chris's Sat. I played from about 5;00 until about 8:00. Then I left to bid on the Lucasi on Ebay. I was playing in the front room. I was on table 6 I think. I was by myself. I was wearing suspenders. I was close to the 3 cushion tables. I really shot poorly. I kept missing easy shots. There are some pinball machines in the back room. You walk through those open doorways with the plastic stips hanging. And there is another room separated again by an open doorway with plastic stips hanging down. I was playing in the main room, in the middle, the second table away from the counter. That was my second time there since I started playing again. I remember some of the faces from 20 years ago. Back then I played there about 15 or 20 times. There are some good 3 cushion players there. The 3 cushion state tournament will be played there on the 5 Verhooven billiard tables. He has 41 Gold Crown pool tables there. The 5 3 cushion tables. And 1 12' snooker table. He has two other loacations. I'm getting all this from the free copy of Chalk Talk that I took from the counter display.

Here's a few other places to play at cheaply. But the two I've been two aren't like Chris's. 63rd St. Billiards; 2145 W. 63rd St. (at Belmont); Downers Grove, IL. 630-971-0003 This one is open 24 hours. It has 24 9' Brunswick tables, 1 3 cushion table, and 1 7' bar table. It's specials are 2:00 AM til 8:00 AM costs $10. And it's other special is from 8:00 AM til 5:00 pm costs $5. So you can play for 15 hours for $15. You have to prepay if you want either of the special rates.

Cue Time Billiards; 3910 S. Harlem; Lyons, IL. 708-447-5000
It has 15 Brunswick Gold Crowns. It also has a loud juke box and video games. It special is from 12:00 pm til 8:00 pm cost $6 weekdays and $7 weekends. You have to prepay.

Chicago Billiard Cafe; 5935 Irving Park Rd.; Chicago, IL. 773-545-5102. It has 17 9' tables & 1 12' antique snooker table. It special is M-F 3:00 pm til 8:00pm costs $5. I haven't played there.

All these places have a free magazine called Chalk Talk near their counters.

05-12-2002, 08:28 PM
I entered my post by mistake. I wanted to say that Chris's also has some tv going. And in the afternoon you sometimes see some chess games being played. And I see some of the players bring in food. Or they phone in orders. I'm not sure. I'm finished now.

05-12-2002, 09:32 PM
Eddie we were just a few feet apart, like about 6 beet apart and you and I even exchanged eye contact. YES! I remember you! Thin guy. You were just throwing balls out on the table and practicing. I didn't notice how many you made or missed but your bridge and stroke looked like you can play. I was on table 9, right in front of the counter playing with my friend. I was wearing blue jeans, a blue work shirt, blond hair, 59 yrs old. Good grief! George Fels was the bald guy on the table in the back of the front room right straight back from where you were. Small world!!

05-12-2002, 09:57 PM
Jim, sounds like you had a great time, I know I would.
Loud music and people yelling is something I will never miss. Glad you had fun, but that 1.5 hr drive for 22 miles had to be a pain.

05-12-2002, 10:00 PM
Toms Tavern use to be downtown phx.

05-12-2002, 11:41 PM
Hi Jim. I remember seeing you. Especially when I used the bridge. It was leaning against the pillar when I started playing. So every time I used the bridge I would look at your table. I remember George Fels. But I didn't know who he was. I'm still not sure who he is. I think he was/is a pro or semi pro. Or maybe I remember seeing his name in some magazine or internet stories I've read. I think I also remember him mentioning Benzinger's in a thread. And I played there a few times in either 81 or maybe back around 1970 before I quit playing the first time. I only went there a few times and played 3 cushion with a friend. Benzinger's was really an old time pool hall. And those people playing billiards at the front table nearest the stairs are good players. And a couple of the ones who walked in and just talked to some of the people are very good billiard players. I mean 3 cushion when I say billiards. When I played pool in high school in 65 to 70, 3 cushion was called billiards and pocket pool was just always called pool.

05-13-2002, 05:11 AM
Tom's Tavern is still there! But it's not a pool room...it's a place for the "beautiful people" to hang out during the week at lunchtime.



05-13-2002, 06:52 AM
G'mornin Eddie.

George is a very well known pool author and has been known to shoot a good game of straight pool. He's written several excellent pool books and has a column in Billiards Digest every month on the last page of the magazine.

Rich R.
05-13-2002, 07:41 AM
Jim, I can only dream of finding a place like Chris's Billiards in my area. I would be in heaven. You are a lucky man.
Rich~~~loves the Old Fashioned pool rooms.

05-13-2002, 02:39 PM
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