View Full Version : Ideas/thoughts for a new pool room
11-25-2002, 12:33 PM
Ive been playing pool for the last 14 years and now my dreams of opening a pool hall is closer than ever. Even though its probably 2-3 years away, I thought this would be a good time to gather information on what the room needs to attract business especially from a players standpoint. I want this room to be a place where serious players attend but also at the sametime not shun away beginners.
Heres what Ive got so far
1) Tables - not sure of how big of an operation I would want but for now I think 20 9ft tables and 1 billiard table should be considered a medium size pool room.
2) Hours of Operation: 12pm - 2 or 3 am daily with
3) Table rates: For now here what Im thinking:
$5/hr for 1-player
$6/hr for 2-players
$7/hr for 3-players
$8/hr for 4 or more players
Daily specials on table rates: From 12pm-6pm, $10 all you can play.
4) Alcohol or No Alcohol: My intent is to make this room a more family oriented room. Although alcohol will bring in lots of sales, but it will also alienate the younger crowd which in itself will bring business to the pool room. I would like to hear both sides of the argument.
5) Video Game room - 5 to 6 of the latest arcade games
6) Internet Jukebox - armed with the latest hits from all genres
7) TV Lounge - an area where patrons can relax and socialize
8) Stadium type seating - 2 rows of seats where the second row is higher than the front row
9) Food - snacks type food (nachos, chips, cnady bars) or grilled type foods (hotdogs, burgers & sandwiches) or both
10) Weekly tourneys & leagues - Here I'm thinking a weekly 9ball, 8ball tourneys ($10 or $20 entry fees) and APA or BCA leagues on weekdays.
Weekend tourneys held on Sundays:
1st Sunday of the Month: money added 9 ball tourney
2nd Sunday of the Month: 8 ball tourney
3rd Sunday of the Month: 14.1 tourney
4th Sunday of the Month: 1 pocket tournet
Will too many tourneys kill the business? Im thinking weekend tourneys should at least have some green fees. Maybe like a $40 entry + $10 green fees seems reasonable. What do you think?
11) A pro shop - some cues, cases and accessories. Maybe some custom cues too.
12) Any other ideas that you think thats helpful.
Hopefully your comments and ideas will help me fufill my dreams of making this an excellent pool room. Thanks for your inputs.
11-25-2002, 01:18 PM
"4) Alcohol or No Alcohol: My intent is to make this room a more family oriented room. Although alcohol will bring in lots of sales, but it will also alienate the younger crowd which in itself will bring business to the pool room. I would like to hear both sides of the argument."
I am a big proponent of alcohol- and smoke-free pool rooms. And you've hit the nail on the head as to the main arguments for and against. Pool needs to be attracting a younger audience. We should be establishing the legitimacy of the sport. The way to do that is by appealing to family values. If Joe Bloe can take his entire family to the pool hall, that means more money for the pool hall owner and greater recognition for the game itself. Let's not forget that once the kids are hooked, they'll be bugging Joe for money to go to the hall everyday after school.
11-25-2002, 01:29 PM
The only must I've noticed that is not on your list is plenty of free parking, the closer the better.
Also, you should travel to as many actual rooms as possible and talk at length with the owners.
11-25-2002, 01:39 PM
Good luck on your pool room! I hope your dream turns into reality.
Here are a few opinions for you:
1)Don't buy a billiard table. You probably won't get enough table time to make your $ back. Instead, get a 5x10 pocket table or a 6x12 snooker table. Something different. If my favorite pool room had a 5x10, that's all I would play on.
2)Check with the local gov't to find out about business hours, alcohol sales and mandatory food sales
3)Lounge sounds nice, of course you will need alcohol if you want people to lounge around.
4)Leagues will be your bread & butter
5)Your pro shop should be equiped with a lathe and someone that can re-wrap, re-tip, replace ferrules, taper shafts,... all on the spot.
6)Try and carry cues from one of the local cue builders instead of Meucci and any other mass produced cue makers. Why would I want to pay more to buy from you when I can get all that stuff on the internet for so much less?
7)No arcades! Keep the kids out. You want people that aren't going to cause trouble, beat up your stuff and don't mind dropping some dough on drinks, food and table time.
Make sure you decide on a clientele (sp?) and really research what it is they want out of a pool hall. Also make sure that a pool hall is really what they want.
11-25-2002, 02:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dooziexx:</font><hr> Ive been playing pool for the last 14 years and now my dreams of opening a pool hall is closer than ever. Even though its probably 2-3 years away, I thought this would be a good time to gather information on what the room needs to attract business especially from a players standpoint. I want this room to be a place where serious players attend but also at the sametime not shun away beginners. ...<hr /></blockquote>
I'm sure you're not going to like my comments. The only places I see where "serious players only" are enough to sustain the business are big cities that historically have the serious players. The rest of the areas need to be geared towards non-serious players to make money. Usually food and drink are necessities.
One place that's an anomoly of sorts is Airway Billiards in Dayton, OH. That place attracts serious players, but probably because it has the reputation of having the greatest $5 weekly 9-ball tournament in the universe. Add to that it's great food (and drink), and you've booked a winner. People (used to?) go there for lunch just for the food. But come the night time, there are lots of non-serious players that keeps the place going.
One of the local college "pool halls" (Northampton, MA's Packards) is really a meat market with the pool tables upstairs, separate from the hormones. Smoking and drinking is definitely en vogue. So, it still looks like a pool hall upstairs, but make no mistake, there ain't a serious bone in the place. They charge up the ..., and they make a killing. Packed every night.
The Rack in Boston.... wow. Wall to wall skin.. If you didn't know there were pool tables in there, you wouldn't know there were pool tables in there. Great choice of beer, and a waiting line down the street. That's what's successful in Beantown.
And don't get me started on the Boston Billiards franchise.
Fred <~~~ good luck
11-25-2002, 03:01 PM
Here's my thoughts on a very successful pool room near me. Every time I go by it or stop in, the parking lot (free parking) is packed and you'd think they were giving away free table time.
The place is Tacony Billiards and Sports Bar. They are located in an old grocery store - an Acme - and is huge to begin with. They have about twenty double shimmed Black Crowns and almost twenty Gandy Big Gs. The Black Crowns are reserved for the "players" and the Gandys for the "bangers". Maybe a couple video games, nothing noisy. And tvs mounted all around the room. The bar area is enclosed and separated from the playing area. There are lots of tables in that area which is where the card players hang out and play for $$$. The house charges them some kind of take, I don't exactly know what it is. There is a liquor license and just about a full menu. They have stands along the front of the room for all the railbirds. And there is always some kind of action going on.
The only drawback I can say about this room is the fact that the space around the tables is pretty tight. I've gotten jammed by someone bumping me from behind.
If you're going to open up a room with twenty tables, a beer and wine license would suffice. Plus, have more than just hamburgers and hot dogs. Sandwiches, salads, chicken fingers, pizza, etc, should round out that menu. Have a lounge area for people to eat away from the table area. Good smokeeters go a long way, too.
11-25-2002, 06:54 PM
I thought Tacony can be made one of the best in the USA if they remove the stains and vacuum the carpet, have a decent men`s rest room,and have enough chairs to sit.( I do not know how the ladies room looks like)I did not understand why the owner was not paying attention to these simple matters.If I manage that place I will make it a top place in the world.I still like the place. cheers
vagabond /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
11-25-2002, 07:10 PM
Actually Vagabond, the ladies room is pretty darn clean during the day. Can't say about what it looks during the nighttime when the bangers come out because I don't go there at night. It was always pretty clean during the tournament nights, though (when I went and when they had them).
And yeah, Jim needs some more high chairs with the backs. Those backless stools at the food counter are uncomfortable, but those high chairs with the backs are really nice to sit in. Those low chairs just don't make it with playing pool. The less you have to flex your knees getting in and out of a chair is key when playing pool.
And hey! If I were to complain about how the men's room looked like, I'd get some double-weird looks from the owner.
But as for the stains in the carpet, well heck! I use them for my "point-in-space" aiming. If they were to clean that up, I'd be lost big time!! HAHAHAHAHA!!
Barbara~~~they're looking for my face on a milk carton over there... /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif
11-25-2002, 09:54 PM
Thanks for all of your suggestions and thoughts so far. Keep it coming. A few things I forgot to mentioned was there will be ample parking space at this location. The location that I have in mind is an out of business restaurant. Looks pretty big but I have not seen the inside yet. Its located in a Chicago suburb so there will be/are ample serious players around. Its across the street from a shopping mall and theres no other pool rooms in a 20 mile radius except for a few crummy tables at the locale bowling alley.
11-26-2002, 04:58 AM
As for ladies and mens rooms, a FEW stalls would be nice rather than one stall-some places I have had to use the mens room, do to the fact ,I was in the middle of a match and the womans had a line-UGH_-sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do:)-also,those cue cushions along the rail where you sit, instead of just leaning your cue on the rail or holding it-also,comfortable chairs with cushion (on back)for us elders whose arthritis might kick in,ha ha ha,and a place to hang jackets-and definite space around each table-
11-26-2002, 06:13 AM
You have received a lot of good ideas from every one. I have to agree with the suggestions of ample room around the tables, a good supply of confortable, high, chairs and clean rest rooms. Keeping the equipment in good shape goes without saying. Good food is always a plus.
MY suggestion is concerning the jukebox you mentioned. Although I have my own preferences in music, I know others have their preferences too. I don't really care what type of music you play. I suggest you keep the music at a relatively low volume. Some owners/managers forget that pool, for many people, is a social activity and they like to carry on a conversation while they play. For the serious players, who may not talk much, they like to hear the click of the balls. Either way, you will chase away business if the jukebox volume is too high. JMHO.
Agreed...need low volumes to take the pindrop syndrome out.
11-26-2002, 02:42 PM
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