View Full Version : What do you look for in a pool hall?

10-07-2006, 03:44 AM
I'm in the process of opening up a pool hall in Maryland and I'm kinda taking a poll of what the "it" factor is, for all levels of players, that attracts you to one pool hall over another. I know the reputation is a big part of it. Is it the atmosphere, and if so, what about it? The type of crowd it attracts? Just trying to get a feel for this so I can have a place where the majority of the people will feel comfortable and be compelled to come back.

10-07-2006, 04:15 AM
Multiple "Sanctioned" League Systems....randyg

10-07-2006, 04:28 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote randyg:</font><hr> Multiple "Sanctioned" League Systems....randyg <hr /></blockquote>

You got it Randy. A pool room is nothing without players. If you can get the leagues in whether it's the in house fun leagues, the sanctioned leagues, or all the above then you've got something. After that, pleasant relaxing atmosphere, friendly prompt service, and decent equipment. St.

Fran Crimi
10-07-2006, 07:21 AM
It's difficult to make yourself attractive to both players and non-players because their needs are different. Your players or regulars won't want to be thrown into the dredges with the non-players who don't understand pool etiquette. Also, it really really pains a player to see a non-player abusing good equipment and cloth.

If you can, it would be a good idea to have a section of the room for your players and regulars and the rest of the room would be open to everyone.

Also, pick out your 'nice' customers --- the ones you would like to have back and reward them in some way. Maybe a free beverage every so often or a free hour of table time now and then.

You should be hands-on, front and center with your customers, and not stay in the back office. Pool players are only too happy to tell you what their needs are, but you have to be present to hear what they have to say. Don't depend on your staff for feedback. Get it yourself directly from your customers. It's YOUR place and YOUR neck on the chopping block.


10-07-2006, 09:19 AM
Physical Requirements:

Good high, comfortable seating with something to lay things on near tables

Plenty of room between tables

Limit of high noise areas to beginners (No air hockey near a player's table)

Good tables, good chalk, clean balls often

A smile from waitstaff and counterman makes for a nicer place

Encourageing comments to begineers to make them like the game

Cue storage for frenquent flyers....

An understanding that language should be civil so people new to the game will feel welcome and not be embarrassed to bring in friends

As Fran said, be out there and show some attention to repeat customers, rememebr their names if possible, compliment their play, cues, make them feel welcome

If you are a player, offer to play with less skilled players and give them a few hints if they seem to want them.

Get an instructor to offer reasonable lessons, perhaps in groups, to novices

When things are slow, have a challenge table with a "pot" everyone puts a little in and give it to the nine on the break of person to hold the table longest. You might even have a sign, 18 games in a row, by Fast Phil, can you beat it?

Have a small mini-tournament for the bangers and give a beginner's cue away, just cahrge them table time.

Most of us know a nice pool hall when we see it. However, some are great for players and some for bangers. It's a real trick to satisfy both but you have to make a business go, I think....


Brian in VA
10-07-2006, 09:33 AM
I think you're starting off well by asking people that love the game!

There are several rooms here in town and two have the most business yet they are distinctly different.

The first is more upscale with more tables, longer hours with mostly GCIII and Diamond tables in both 9 foot and barbox sizes and a 12 ft snooker table. Prices are higher but they have a lunch special with free pool with food M-F. Evenings are crowded, APA leagues available, full bar, decent menu. Equipment runs the gamut from good to fair shape. All the tables play differently and if you're in a tournament, you better be paying attention to that. Big sports bar atmosphere, too with big screen TVs in the bar area so the place is crowded on Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings. Poker tournaments 2 or 3 evenings a week. While I play there, I usually drive past it.

Second place is farther from me by 20 minutes. Half the tables, half Gandy's and half GCIIIs and IVs. 2 3C tables. Full bar, full menu with home cooking the rule, lots of soups and main dishes (Thursday special is Meatloaf and it's great!). Prices for pool are half, alcohol is about the same as the first place. ACS and TAP leagues in house. Equipment is good and occasionally excellent and all tables play tight and fair.

Both places have bathrooms that are barely adequate and neither place is particularly clean. So why do I drive past the more upscale place? People. The 2nd room has better staff that are friendly and know me by name. They pay attention to people abusing the equipment and stop it. They simply make me feel more welcome and appreciate my business.

I would tell you if you focus on the people end of your business it will hide a multitude of sins and is the most important part of building your business.

Just my 2 cents!

Brian in VA

10-07-2006, 10:09 PM
From The Hustler
Fast Eddie: No bar?
Cashier: No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys, just pool... nothing else. This is Ames, mister.

they dont make'm like that anymore, i guess....

10-08-2006, 12:30 AM
Thanks everyone for your inputs. I did plan on trying to get the casual league player and attract the road players as well. All of your ideas seem sound. I plan on doing this right and attracting the league's (APA, TAP, BCA) upper level tourny's and look into hosting IPT tourny's.

I figured I'd cater to pool first and foremost. Then have dart leagues (about 5-6 boards), and poker. I'll have local tourny's on both the 9's and 7's throughout the week. But not too many, maybe two nights a week on each.

And of course interact with your customers. I remember being brought to the local bar by my step-father and instead of putting my money into the pinball machines, I chose to play pool instead, standing on a milk carton at the ripe old age of 5. Been addicted ever since.

Keep the advice coming, I can never have too much.


Rob Doggett

10-08-2006, 05:45 AM
Good lighting, adequate space around the tables, noise factor! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Joe Marra
10-08-2006, 07:41 AM
A carom table.

10-08-2006, 08:07 PM
What attracts me more than anything is action. Not that I am in it much but I sure will hang around and spend a little just to watch good players. So the rep for action is a big draw for me.

Next best is to somehow separate the noise and recreational area from the more serious pool area. Best example of this I've seen lately is the Cue Club in Vegas.

10-09-2006, 10:01 AM
Most posts have already stated what I agree makes a good pool room, but here goes. I'm old school. Top of the line tables with Simonis or equivilent.(And WELL maintained!) Good quality CLEAN balls. Masters chalk.I like it dark,(except for the lights over the tables and soft backlighting). QUIET! The only noise being the clicking of the balls.(That means no head bangin' heavy metal tunes in the juke box! Better yet, NO JUKEBOX! Maybe soft background music at most.) Plenty of room between tables. High spectator chairs with connecting tray. Good food, NOT fast JUNK food. A Straight Pool league or weekly tournament.( Or BOTH!) And last but not least...REASONABLE rates. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

By the way, where in Maryland are you opening your room?

10-09-2006, 10:12 AM
Some great advice, 14one. Looking to open in AA County, haven't found the location just yet. I have a few spots in mind.