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View Full Version : Let me tell you about a great billiards experience



loyter
02-11-2008, 12:32 PM
Recently, I took a trip to Belgium for work. We stayed in a smallish town called Lier (which is in the Antwerp territory). The town is a quaint, friendly place with great restaurants and pubs. Turns out, it has roots in mediaeval times and there are still bits of the old town wall and town moat. All in all, it is a great place which is mostly unspoiled by tourists. (except me and a couple of guys I work with)

Anyway, you are probably wondering why I am telling you about my trip...well, as I walked around the Grote Markt one night, I noticed an alleyway that led to a little pub and to a place called Mr 100 (http://www.mister100.be/?info) . Tucked away in this little alley in this little town was the nicest pool hall I've ever seen.

It turns out that the name of the place comes from it's owner, Raymond Ceulemans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Ceulemans).

From Wiki: [ QUOTE ]
Raymond, Ridder Ceulemans (born July 12, 1937 in Lier, Belgium) is a three-cushion billiards player and possibly the most dominant single figure in any one sport, having won 35 World Championship titles, 48 European titles and 61 national titles <hr /></blockquote>

I didn't meet the man himself, but I did spend some time speaking with his son, who was running the place. The hall itself is the nicest hall I've ever seen. It has (iirc) 6 12 foot snooker tables, at least 8 billiards tables (without pockets) and about 12 American bar boxes.

I knew most of the rules of snooker, but I was able to strike up a game with a couple of locals who taught me the rest of the rules. Then they wanted to "beat me at my own game", and we played 8 ball bca style. I ended up winning a few beers. (Although I went back another night and played a guy who they said was the Belgian amature runner-up the last year and he kicked my ass)

All in all, the game of pool was a great way to meet several locals, talk politics, war, news, culture, and many other things. I'd even go so far as to say that I have a couple of friends in Belgium now. We had a great time and I'd like to suggest to anyone who's anywhere near Antwerp (or anyhwere in Belgium, really) to stop into Mr 100's.

Two other notes:
1, The beer in Belgium is the greatest thing ever created by man. There are over 800 varieties brewed in Belgium. I need to go back and continue my quest to try all of them. 15 down, 785 to go.
2, In Europe, they show snooker tournaments on live TV. Not the hacked up, 30 minute highlight videos of 9-ball tournaments like ESPN does, but real, LIVE snooker with commentary between games. It was fantastic.

Ralph_Kramden
02-11-2008, 05:50 PM
Thanks for the story and letting us share your experiences. I'd love to find a neat pool hall like that in my travels but don't think I could top that one.

Bob_Jewett
02-11-2008, 07:15 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote loyter:</font><hr> Recently, I took a trip to Belgium for work. We stayed in a smallish town called Lier (which is in the Antwerp territory). ... <hr /></blockquote>
I visited Lier a little over a year ago, but with the intention of seeing Ceulemans. He wasn't there until about when I had to leave, but his grandson offered me a game of 3-cushion and only beat me 2:1. I'm not sure, but I think there are also full-sized pool tables. Sometimes the bar boxes in Europe are the English-style with the small balls and snooker-cut pockets.

I know what you mean about the TV coverage of tournaments in Europe. On one night I could see the Welsh Open (snooker) and the next night it was the European 3-Cushion finals.

Bambu
02-12-2008, 12:25 PM
Sounds like a great time, loyter. Reminds me of a trip to amsterdam. I finally stumbled upon a bar with a pool table, but it had small balls....they looked snooker size. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but by now its been too long. All I remember is I had a great time there with the locals, and had fun with the small ball challenge.